Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 27, 1949
NUMBER 25, PAGE 2,6b

False Arguments And Scripture Perversions

R. L. Whiteside

How you read is sometimes as important as what you read. If you do not know the meaning of words in a sentence, you cannot understand what the writer said. And if you confine your Bible reading to the King James, or Common version you will find some words that do not now mean what they did when that translation was made. The translation in the Common Version of Paul's language: "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit," means nothing now to the average reader. The American Standard Version has, "Moreover, brethren, we make known to you." When the King James translation was made about 340 years ago, the word "let" meant to hinder, to prevent; and so that translation represents Paul as saying that he had often purposed to visit Rome, "but was let hitherto." The American Standard Version has "hindered" instead of "let." And in the days of King James the word "prevent" meant to go before, to precede. David prevented the dawning of the morning—got up before dawn. Paul said the living saints would not prevent those who are asleep—they would not ascend before the dead saints would ascend—all would go up together.

But a word that needs special attention is the word "peculiar." In the Common, or King James, Version we have this: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people." (Ex. 19:5). They would be peculiar to God, not to the world—they would be his own possession. And so the American Standard has, "... ye shall be mine own possession." And so, in Titus 2:14 and I Pet. 2:9, instead of "a peculiar people," as in the Common Version, we have in the American Standard, "a people for his own possession," "a people for God's own possession." I know of no place in the American Standard Version where the word "peculiar"

may be found. Some people seem never to learn that words frequently take on new meanings. The word peculiar in the days of King James had no such meaning as odd, queer, eccentric, or cranky; nor did it have such meanings nearly a century and a half later when Johnson's Dictionary was published. There has been a lot of ignorance about "peculiar" spread on the pages of religious papers.

Some "Chimney-Corner Scriptures"

It is astonishing how many sayings that originated in ignorance are quoted as scripture. And some Bible statements have been so changed as to be practically home-made scripture. Let us notice a few such "scriptures,"

Some years ago I was doing some preaching in a certain city. The sisters there had a custom of meeting at the house of some sister, and making quilts for the needy. Each sister brought a covered dish, and her own needle, thread, and thimble. On one occasion I was invited to eat with them. When noon came we ate, and the food was fine. After the feast a short time was spent in social chat. Some one brought up the question as to whether the Negro race came from Ham. Some one asked me about it. I said, "I do not know." Another said, You don't take much stock in the Ham theory, do you?" I replied, "I just don't know." Then a good old sister wanted to know what about the Bible statement that when Noah was drunk in his tent, one of the sons went in and looked at him and came out white, another went in and looked at him and came out red, and the other went in and looked at him and came out black! That was a new one on me, and I felt greatly embarrassed for that good old soul Now, what would you have said? I felt sure most of the sisters knew how wrong she was, and yet I did not want to expose her ignorance before them. So I picked up a Bible, turned to the place where it speaks of Noah's drunkenness and the conduct of his sons, pointed to the place and said, "That is all the Bible says about the incident," and turned the Bible over to her to read for herself. But nothing more was said about the origin of the Negro race.

Perhaps you have heard that the Bible says, "Every tub shall stand on its own bottom," and, "When in Rome, do as Rome does." Years ago an aged sister got really vexed at me because I said I did not know the Bible said, "The time will come when you'll not know summer from winter except by the budding of the trees." I said I never had read that. "Ha, I've read it a thousand times; and you, a preacher, and never did read it!"

Hurtful Perversions

Well, such chimney-corner scriptures will likely not hurt anyone, but they do show a lot of crass ignorance. But there is a kind of man-made, or chimney-corner, scripture that is harmful. It consists in inserting a word or a phrase in a passage, so as to change the meaning, and the same result may be obtained by leaving out a word or phrase. Such tampering with passages is inexcusable. Often brethren have quoted Felix as saying to Paul, "Go thy way for this time; and when I have a more convenient season, I will call thee unto me." And they usually comment that the more convenient season never did come. Of course Felix was not inspired, but his language should be correctly quoted. "More" is not in what he said. The use made of his words makes a wrong impression—makes the impression that there is a convenient, and then a more convenient, season to become a Christian; but that is wrong. No one ever finds it convenient to become a Christian. To become a Christian requires that one deny himself, and self-denial is not convenient. It is never convenient to make such a radical change.

The devil completely changed the meaning of what God said to Adam and Eve by inserting a little three-letter word; and by inserting another little three-letter word some have represented Peter as saying to Simon, "Thou art yet in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." Some heard it quoted that way so much that they thought the word "yet" belonged there. The word "yet" was added in the interest of the doctrine of he impossibility of apostasy, to show that Simon had not really been saved. Adding a word to support a doctrine is sinful. And another statement is made up to support this same doctrine. You have heard this: "Judas was a devil from the beginning." And that statement has been so often repeated, that some brethren think it is in the Bible. In the Gospel Advocate of July 7, 1949, a writer says this of Judas: "He was an apostle; he was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, but he was a devil 'from the beginning.' Then the writer proceeds to explain what time was meant by the phrase "from the beginning." Brother DeHoff, quoting "chimney-corner scripture" and then trying to explain it is worse than useless; such effort reveals much.