Monday, August 27, 2012



Lea Sylvester

Having studied God's Word for at least 30 years now, I have learned that the only “tool” one really needs
in order to understand the Bible is the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discernment (from the Holy Spirit) and
studying passages in context. A concordance is a handy research tool, too. Each study brings new things to
light. We should seek God with all of our heart and one way to know Him better is by studying His Word. The Bible “interprets itself” and if one seeks to understand it, God reveals incredible messages contained within His Word. Even so, many professing Christians say that they can’t understand The Bible.

Because of this and other “reasons” various translations of the Bible have come and gone over the last 30 years. Several “translations” have not only made it “easier” for a person to understand passages, but have changed the entire meaning of passages. Therefore, they do not understand the “meaning of passages” better; they aren’t even getting the meaning of them at all because they have been removed or changed.

The creation of false Bible translations is the most obvious way in which the Word of God has come
under attack recently. For instance, "The Message Bible" is sold as a translation, it is a paraphrase that
is meant to be reader-friendly, but it distorts the meaning of Scripture. Some noted Bible scholars have
noted the losses to the Word of God in "The Message Bible" and have referred to them as "paraphrased

"The Antichrist is only an anarchist; the simple words "falling away" are removed; the whole idea of
a "Restrainer" is missing; the judgment of Antichrist is a ‘puff’; there is no picture of Christ's glorious
return; the wicked are “banished” rather than damned. These are basic doctrinal tenants of the Christian

And yet, rather than protest vehemently over such an assault on the Bible, many of today’s “church
leaders” or “prominent Christians” lend their names to the endorsement of the book, i.e.:

Amy Grant, Benny Hinn, Bill Hybels, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, Cynthia
Heald, Gary Smalley, Gordon MacDonald, J.I. Packer, Jack Hayford, Jerry Jenkins, Jerry Savelle,
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, John Maxwell, Joni Eareckson Tada, Joyce Meyer, Keith Miller, Kenneth
Copeland, Madeleine L'Engle, Max Lucado, Michael Card, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Rebecca
St. James, Richard Foster, Rick Warren, Rod Parsley, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Vernon
Grounds, Walter Kaiser Jr., Warren Wiersbe are among those that do. Notice that several “Anti-Israel/
Pro-Palestine” proponents are among these.

Much has been written about the apostasy of the church today. This can be attributed to several things; one
is the fact that people don't know God's Word; they don't understand it and churches do not teach it. It is a
problem and this is one way the enemy is taking over our churches today. There are spirits in our material
world working diligently today in all facets of what is called "Christianity." The spirit of antichrist is
the prime mover in this prophesied formation of the end-times "church" whose ultimate destiny is to
become a one-world religious system under the control of the devil incarnate.

One way we can recognize where the devil is as work is in the attack on the Word of God, the Bible.
This seems to be coming at us from all directions – in both conservative and liberal factions of the
visible church. There’s nothing new under the sun; Satan has always cast doubt upon God’s Word in an
effort to deceive God’s people.

"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he
said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?" Genesis 3:1

It is disturbing that one can no longer walk into a church service and observe most of the congregation there with Bibles in hand, ready to read along with the sermon. A problem is there mostly aren't sermons any longer. They are abbreviated messages directed at various topics; canned sermons. Sure, some are timely. But, the church needs to be fed by the Word of God. Replacing Bibles are large screens, with text appearing on them supposedly supporting whatever it is the message is addressing. Along with that, “sermon notes” are given out in “bulletins” (not like your Mother and Dad's bulletins, or what we may remember from twenty years ago, that were actually about happenings affecting the congregation/membership that week: who was sick, who had babies, various announcements, etc.). Instead, we see slick, four-color printed little booklets that are more “corporate” than anything. It is what can be called “corporate promotion.” And, that is exactly what it is and nothing more.

Disturbing also is the use of The Message as an “authoritative source.” I have questioned this practice with
several people and am told “it's just used IN ADDITION TO the Bible.” Ah! But isn’t it true that if one
uses text to support writing or a sermon or a speech or whatever, then one is giving credibility to that text as
authoritative? “The Message” has no authority relative to God’s Word, and never should be given any. What is going on here?

Many large ministries as well as local churches use this book. Many people use it and it is foreign to one who is familiar with God's Word. Passages from The Message are nothing like God's Word and therefore should never be used in replacement or “reinforcement” of an idea or scripture to reinforce a point.

Research into this book has been astonishing. Unfortunately, the errors in this paraphrase (it's not a
translation) are numerous and serious. The Message cannot be relied upon to tell the truth and, in fact,
it is dangerously misleading.

Here are only a few examples of how this paraphrased book has distorted God's Word. John 1:1
actually says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The Message renders it, "The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The
Word was God, in readiness for God from day one." That garbling is an improvement?! It is confusing
at best, and misleading at worst, changing the meaning. "In the beginning was the Word" is changed
to "The Word was first." First before God? And what does "in readiness for God" mean? In verse
5, "the darkness comprehended it not" is rendered, "the darkness couldn't put it out," changing the
meaning entirely.

In John 14, "full of grace" becomes "Generous inside and out," while "truth" becomes "true from start
to finish." "Generous" and "grace" do not mean the same, nor does "true from start to finish" convey
the rich meaning of Christ being "full of truth." In John 29, "which taketh away the sin of the world"
becomes "He forgives the sins of the world." There is a world of difference between taking away the
sin of the world by paying the debt mankind owed, and forgiving sins!

In John 3:5, the verse: “Except a man be born of the water and the spirit” becomes “unless a person
submits to this original creation-'the wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the
visible, a baptism into a new life” again obscuring, complicating, changing the true meaning.

In John 3:17, "but that the world through him might be saved" becomes "He came to help, to put
the world right again," a destructive change in the meaning. "Saved" means to be redeemed, rescued
from the judgment we deserve for our sins; whereas "to help, to put the world right again" sounds like
social or political reformation. In John 3:36, "the wrath of God abideth on him" becomes, "All he
experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that." How can anyone experience darkness
from God, when I John 1:5 says of God, "in him is no darkness at all"? Serious error is added to
serious error!

I Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" is perverted to
read, "God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself but to preach the Message." It important
that Paul, a former rabbi, is a follower of Christ — The Message says "of God." The main point Paul
makes is that baptism is not part of the gospel — The Message misses that completely. "Lest the cross
of Christ should be made of none effect" is changed to "...lest the powerful action at the center —
Christ on the Cross — be trivialized into mere words." There is a vast difference between the eternal
effect of "the cross of Christ" as the Bible states it and "Christ on the Cross" as The Message puts it and
Catholicism depicts it. Christ is not on the cross; the work is finished! In verse 30, "sanctification, and
redemption" is changed to read "a clean slate and a fresh start" — both trivializing and misleading.

Hebrews 11:1 "the substance of things hoped for" becomes "the firm foundation under everything
that makes life worth living," a totally different meaning, with hope for eternity expunged. In verse
4, regarding the lamb, which speaks of Christ, the "more excellent sacrifice" offered by Abel, the
comment is interjected, "It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference." On
the contrary, the sacrifice he brought was important to his belief, and without the proper sacrifice there
could be no forgiveness no matter what was believed.

In verse 7, "became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" is changed to "became intimate with
God," again an entirely different meaning which leaves out the vital phrase "righteousness which is
by faith." In verse 16, "God is not ashamed to be called their God" is twisted into "God is so proud
of them." Never! Attributing the human evil of pride to God is blasphemy and leaves the dangerous
impression that if God is proud then it isn't so bad for man to be proud as well.

In verse 35, "that they might obtain a better resurrection" becomes "preferring something better:
resurrection." Again the meaning is changed completely. It makes it sound as though resurrection is
dependent upon good works. It was not a question of whether they would be resurrected, but of the
reward they would receive in the Resurrection.

These are only a few among many errors, some extremely serious. It is appalling that any mere man
would change or ignore the meaning of God's Word under the vain delusion that he could improve
upon what God has said and the way He has said it! It is even more appalling that a leading evangelical
publisher would publish this blasphemy, Christian bookstores would sell it, and Christian leaders
would praise instead of denounce this perversion!

Look up, your redemption draweth nigh! Stay fast and strong in the WORD OF GOD and do not be
deceived. If you have comments or questions please direct them to

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