Webmaster’s Note: Although I made many grammatical and structural changes to this teaching, the teaching originated from one of my research books entitled “Power for Abundant Living”. Overall, the format has been altered to duplicate my style of teaching so as not to confuse you.
This teaching is extremely important and should greatly increase your ability to understand and rightly divide the Word of God. The research book was published by The American Christian Press in 1971.
The Translations of the Word of God
In proceeding as a workman, there is basic information which must be kept in mind, the first of which is that no translation or version of the Bible may properly be called the Word of God.
The Bible from which I have been quoting is called the King James Version. It is not the King James translation. If I had the King James translation in my hands, I would have a Bible that is worth a great deal of money as a collector's item. Once a translation has been made from an original text, like the Stephens Text from which the King James was translated, the first copy is called a translation. When scholars begin to rework the translation in any way, it becomes a version.
Again, no translation, let alone a version, may properly be called the Word of God. As far as anybody knows, there are no original texts in existence today. The oldest dated Biblical manuscript is from 464 A.D. and written in Aramaic in Estrangelo script. There are older Aramaic manuscripts written in the Estrangelo script which predate 464 A.D., but these are not Biblical texts. What students or scholars refer to as "originals" really date from 464 A.D. and later. These manuscripts are not originals - the originals are those which holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. At best we have copies of the originals. When I refer to the Word of God, I do not mean a copy or a translation or a version; I mean that Word of God which was originally given by revelation to holy men. That is why you will see so many explanatory brackets in these teachings. I am making an attempt to get back to the original Word of God as written down by men of God who wrote the Bible by revelation from God Almighty.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. – II Peter 1: 21
Since we have no originals and the oldest manuscripts that we have date back to the fifth century A.D., how can we get back to the authentic prophecy which was given when holy men of God spoke? To get the Word of God out of any translation or out of any version, we have to compare one word with another word and one verse with another verse. We have to study the context of all the verses. If it is the Word of God, then it cannot have a contradiction for God cannot contradict Himself. Error has to be either in the translation or in one's own understanding. When we get back to that original, God-breathed Word - which I am confident we can - then once again we will be able to say with all the authority of the prophets of old, "Thus saith the Lord."
Note carefully the following about The Word:
1. There are
no original texts in existence today.
2. There were no chapter divisions in the original manuscripts.
3. There were no verse divisions in the original manuscripts.
4. Chapters were first put into the Bible in 1250 A.D.
5. Verses first appeared in the Geneva Bible in 1560 and then in the 1611 translation known as the King James.
God cannot be blamed for the error in the division of verses or chapters. Chapters and verses are good only for quick reference. But we must keep in mind that chapters and verses are all man-made and, therefore, devoid of authority in rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Let us look at some examples of poor divisions in chapters and verses. You should find this very interesting and most educational when it comes to rightly dividing the Word of God.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. -- Genesis 1: 31
Then comes chapter 2 which begins with
"thus." That first word
immediately tells us that something is wrong because "thus" shows
the result of what has
already been said. Chapter 1 closed with:
. . . And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. – Genesis 1: 31b
And chapter 2 begins,
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. -- Genesis 2: 1
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. – Genesis 2: 2
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. – Genesis 2: 3
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. – Genesis 2: 4
Verse 4 is an entirely new thought. The first three verses of chapter 2 finish the thought of the first chapter. The second chapter should begin with verse four, "These are the generations ...." I hope you have a decent background in English grammar, because I can’t miss it. You can see clearly where chapters were added by man and are not a part of the original Word of God.
John Chapter 2 is another example of bad chaptering. One of the reasons the story of Nicodemus has not been understood is that we have never read the verses preceding it as part of the context. John 2: 23 should logically be John 3: 1.
Now when he [Jesus] was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. – Should be John 3: 1
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men [that God revealed], -- Should be John 3: 2
Scratch out men – it is in italics and added by the translators and is incorrect.
And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. – Should be John 3: 3
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: – Should be John 3: 4
Our conclusion shows the following: Reading the last three verses of Chapter 2 explains the context for the coming of Nicodemus. Jesus knew what was in Nicodemus. With this introduction or background to the setting of the story, Nicodemus is easily understood.
John 7: 53 is an example of a chapter that is divided in the middle of a verse.
And every man went unto his own house. – John 7: 53
Chapter 8: 1 begins with the following:
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. – John 8: 1
It should read:
And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. -- John 7: 53
Then there should be a chapter division beginning with Verse 2.
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. -- NOW John 8: 1 – originally verse 2
This verse 8: 2 should obviously be Chapter 8, verse 1. What the King James Version should show is that is that verse 2 of chapter 8 is really verse 1 of chapter 8. AND verses 7: 53 and verses 8: 1 is really one (1) verse concluding chapter 7. Again, take a second look – it is not complicated if you study it for a few minutes. I was fascinated in a way when I first learned this. It is absolute proof that chapters etc. were ADDED by man. This can only make an understanding of the Word of God clearer to you.
If chaptering was not in the originals, what about chapter headings? Chapter headings are also not part of the original God-breathed Word. [My KJV does not have Chapter Headings and I am better off without them.] Chapter headings are found below the chapter markings and are usually in italics. These are what man has added. An example of an erroneous chapter heading in some King James editions is Isaiah 29. Chapter 29 heading says, "The heavy judgment of God upon Jerusalem." The heading on chapter 30 says, "God's mercy toward His Church." The text says in Isaiah 1: 1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem." Either the man who put "To the church" at the top of chapter 30 is wrong or The Word in Isaiah 1: 1 is wrong.
Paragraphs and center references are all man-made. Paragraphs are interpretations of what the translators think they should be. They indicate when one subject is complete and when a new paragraph should begin. Sometimes translators fail to recognize proper subject division. Center references, which run down a long column in the center of each page, tell what the editors think has some connection with that verse. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. All these markings have been added and they can confuse the average new student in the Bible because he may think they have been given by God Himself.
God gave the original Word. He is not at all responsible for the errors that men have introduced by their chapter headings or by their center references or by their paragraph markings. Man made all those mistakes.
Punctuation is another man-made trickery. If you want the Bible to say something to substantiate your theology, all you have to do is to manipulate the punctuation. The Word of God can be made to say something that it does not really say by just putting in a comma. Each translator followed his own plan or his own pattern which makes all punctuation devoid of divine authority.
Let us observe the punctuation in the book of Luke.
And Jesus said unto him [the malefactor], Verilv I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. -- Luke 23: 43 King James Version
Some translations, such as the one above, have the comma after the word "today". The King James Version puts the comma before "today" while other translations put the comma after "today." Why? Because one group teaches that the moment one dies, he goes to heaven, while other groups teach that the moment one dies, he does not necessarily go to heaven for there is a period before going to heaven. The Catholic religion refers to this as purgatory.
If there is a waiting period between death and heaven then He [Jesus Christ] could not say to that malefactor, "Today you are going to be with me in heaven," for the malefactor would have had to wait a duration. On the other hand others say man goes to heaven immediately after death so that a comma before the word "today" fits in with their theology.
If a man is going to heaven today, heaven must be available. Some teach that heaven is available. If they had studied The Word, they would know that heaven is not available. However, this verse talks about paradise - and paradise is not heaven. Heaven is heaven and paradise is paradise. When the Word of God says "paradise," it means "paradise." Paradise is present in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, at the end of which paradise is no longer accessible. It is not again available until the book of Revelation which speaks of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. – Revelation 21: 1
This was the beginning of the reestablishment of Paradise also referred to as the Glory Administration. This is the 7th and final Administration. I have exhorted you time and time again to read and study THE SEVEN ADMINISTRATIONS. This teaching will help you to understand all the different time periods in the Bible.
Paradise is always a place upon earth. If we are going to paradise, it has to be available. Was Jesus Christ saying to the malefactor that day, " ... Verily I say unto thee To day," or was it "... Verily I say unto thee, To day ... "? Since paradise was nonexistent on the day of the crucifixion, Jesus had to say to the malefactor that sometime in the future he would be with Him, not in heaven, but in paradise.
Let us read the sentence with the literal accuracy of the word "paradise" in mind.
... Verily, I say to you To day, shalt thou [the day is coming in the future when you are going to] be with me in paradise. – Luke 23: 43b
This fits with the rest of the Word of God. One little comma has caused so much error in dividing The Word. It amazes me and it should amaze you also. Rightly divided, this verse addresses the issue of life after death or the accuracy of Jesus Christ returning for the second time to raise the dead. We should be easily able to make the right choice.
Another example of a grave punctuation error is in Acts 21 which, when I first saw it, I found difficult to believe. I had been taught that the men of God in the Bible - like Abraham, and Paul, and John - never made mistakes. These men were on a pedestal while we other lowly Christians stared in awe with mouth agape at such men we thought had achieved such infallible greatness. The record of the Apostle Paul in Acts 21 gave me quite a jolt when the error in using a comma was discovered.
This is a long record due to its importance and our need to learn what we thought could never happen. Paul made a major error in judgement and it affected the rest of his life. It’s quite a record and one you will never forget.
And when he [Paul] would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. -- Acts 21: 14
This verse, the way it is punctuated, obviously says that they endeavored to persuade the Apostle Paul to change his mind and not go to Jerusalem; but when Paul would not change his mind, they finally said to him "All right, Paul, go out and do the will of the Lord. Go to Jerusalem." But this is not what it says.
To understand the background of this situation, let's go back to Acts 20: 22.
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. – Acts 20: 22
Paul was bound in the spirit. To be "bound in the spirit" means that one is not spiritually free. Paul wanted to go, but something nagged his mind saying, "Don't go." That was God. Paul said, "I am going to go to Jerusalem"; but when he made this statement, he was bound in the spirit, he felt restrained. He knew he should not go. Can you imagine the great Apostle Paul not listening to the true God’s revelation – word of knowledge? All of us make mistakes at one time. For the Apostle Paul, this was the biggest mistake he ever made with devastating consequences, as we will see.
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me [if I go to Jerusalem]. – Acts 20: 23
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. -- Acts 20: 24
Doesn't that sound wonderful, sincere, devout? But what good was Paul's sincerity in going to Jerusalem when the spirit had already told him not to go there?
Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. -- Acts 21: 3
And finding disciples [there], we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. – Acts 21: 4
What then was the will of God? For Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But who was determined to go? These disciples prophesied or spoke by revelation – word of knowledge. God was doing everything to stop Paul. But a man has free will.
And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. – Acts 21: 8
And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. – Acts 21: 9
Verse nine does not say what the virgins prophesied. I would bet you, however, that they did not prophesy about the price of coffee or about who would win the next ball game. What is the context talking about? It is about a man who wanted to go to Jerusalem while the Will of the Lord was for him not to go. Paul persisted to go, however. In context we know what the topic of the virgins' prophecy was.
After a period of time there came another message to Paul.
And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. – Acts 21: 10
Look at the pains God was taking to keep the Apostle Paul out of a mess. First of all, He told Paul personally not to go to Jerusalem; Paul was bound in the spirit. Then Paul was warned by a group in Tyre who told him by the spirit not to go. Paul continued on his trip to Caesarea where four Christian believers prophesied. Finally God sent a prophet all the way from Jerusalem to Caesarea to intercept Paul on his journey and say, "Paul, don't go to Jerusalem."
And when he [Agabus] was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle [a strip of cloth four or five inches wide which they tie around their loosely flowing garments], and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. -- Acts 21: 11
Agabus foretold that when Paul got to Jerusalem he, Paul, would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. God’s revelation is accurate to the finest detail.
And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. – Acts 21: 12
God had done everything to keep His man out of a
big dilemma, but Paul was determined to get in it. God can try to tell you; but if you will not
cannot force you.
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. – Acts 21: 13
Paul moaned, so-to-speak, "Don't you people know that I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus?" Doesn't that sound magnanimous and sincere! But Paul was totally wrong. The will of the Lord was for him not to go to Jerusalem.
Are we any good to God once we are dead?!! Pertaining to this complete situation, Paul doesn’t seem to be playing with a full deck. He was probably out of fellowship and that’s the most dangerous place we can be because we are not walking with God.
After translators accurately gave The Word thus far, they reached verse 14. The translators tried to help Paul save face in the modern translations by simply putting in commas.
And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. – Acts 21: 14
If the commas are left in, there is error upon error for the truth of the record is clearly obvious. Four times the Word of the Lord to Paul was not to go to Jerusalem. If that was the Word of God, then it has to fit with verse 14 also. What did the translators do? They put in commas to substantiate their theology because they could not believe that the Apostle Paul ever made a mistake. Let me ask you, did Paul go to Jerusalem? Surely, he went to Jerusalem. Did he get into trouble? He surely did; he almost lost his life there. This mighty man of God, under whose ministry all Asia Minor heard the Word of God in two years and three months, in the following two years won not one soul for the Lord Jesus Christ. The only record is in Acts 26: 28 when he witnessed to Agrippa, the king.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. -- Acts 26: 28
If the evangelists who use this text realized what it really implies, they would never use it again. In the context the quote is about the ministry of a man who was outside the Will of God. The nearest Paul came to winning anybody for the Lord in all those years was "almost."
Let’s take mostly all of the commas out of Acts 21: 14.
And when he [Paul] would not be persuaded, we ceased [stopped] saying the will of the Lord be done [The text scratches the words “be done”.] -- Acts 21: 14
A literal translation according to usage is as follows:
And when he [Paul] would not be persuaded, we ceased [stopped] saying do the will of the Lord. – Acts 21: 14
At one time his Christian friends were saying to Paul, "Do the will of the Lord. Don't go to Jerusalem." They tried their best to persuade him, but when he would not be persuaded they " ... stopped saying 'do the will of the Lord' " because Paul was determined to do his own will. Now your Bible fits like a hand in a glove; now we have the Word of God.
Commas have all been added by man. In the original Word of God there were no periods, no commas, no semi-colons, no chapters, no verses, no chapter headings and no center references.
All of these things have gone through periods of change. In this study, we are interested in the accuracy and integrity of God's Word, and must get back to that original Word which was given when holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. We must strip off the translators' theologies which have come about with man-made devices and once more discover the perfect God-breathed Word.
This last example concerning Paul has the most impact in this teaching. Any man can fall. That is why I constantly exhort you to study and never stop keeping God first and foremost. Who do you want to stand approved before – men or God?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. -- II Timothy 2: 15