The substance of an address delivered at the 29th Annual Conference of The Graceway Bible Society, 25 October 1997. The Rev. Jerry Matson is a Vice-President of Graceway Bible Society
I want to begin tonight by reading 2 Timothy 1:12 & 13. My text is verse 13, but I must constantly remind myself to be mindful of the the context of any verse I am studying. Verse 12, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." Now for the text of my message, verse 13, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
Today there are many who want to downplay the importance of words. The subject of my message is dealing with the very words of Scripture, the words that God has given to us. There are those who would say something like this, "Surely, you place too much emphasis on words." My dear friends, we cannot place too much emphasis on words. Words are the vehicle by which we communicate one to another . Words are very important In Matthew 22:29-33 we read these words, as the Lord Jesus is dealing with those Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection. Without doubt, everyone here would agree that the resurrection is one of the greatest and most important doctrines in all of Scripture. Consider these verses, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scripture, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Do you realize that Jesus Christ was pinning His whole argument for the resurrection on one word that we find in this passage? And that one word has but two letters. Isn't that interesting? What is that one word? Look at verse 32 again. Jesus said, "I am the God of Abraham...". You see Abraham was dead. He could have said if Abraham were to die and never be raised from the dead, "I was the God of Abraham...", But He did not say that. He said, "I am the God of Abraham...", thus validating the resurrection. Jesus told those Sadducees, "Ye do err, not knowing the scripture." The words of God are indeed important and we see that a two-letter word is so important that Christ pins the whole resurrection on those two little letters. My dear friends, do not ever underestimate the words of God. Words are important. Every little jot and tittle is of great importance.
You have the unorthodox, those who do not believe in the doctrines as we do. They might say something like this concerning the words of God, "Those words are not that important." My dear friends, words are important. I would say, without any reservation whatsoever, that when someone tells me that words are not important, that in a sense, they are lying. I realize that is strong language, but I ask you to hear me out. What do you mean, Brother Jerry, when you say that they are lying? I say that they are lying because if words were not important, why would they be making any issue of changing the words of Scripture in the first place? If words are not important, then why do they want to change them? Why do they want to alter the words which we find in the Bible? Why do they want to alter the words which we use right from Scripture? Why do they want to change them? Why? Because they want to de-emphasize the importance of words.
Let me go a little further to explain what I am talking about. Go back to 2 Timothy 1:13. I want to read from the "New International Version" in order to illustrate my point. In our Bible, the Word of God, we read, "Hold fast the form of sound words". The N.I.V. says this, "What you have heard from me keep as a pattern of sound teaching". Please understand, I am not picking at things, but there is a vast difference between "words" and "teaching". Think with me for just a few moments. Is teaching important? Absolutely it is! You don't want to sit under a false teacher and neither do I. You don't want to promote someone who is teaching falsehoods and neither do I. Teaching is important. However, if we place the emphasis on "teaching" and forget the "words", now we can change the very words of God and say, "We haven't done anything. We are basically saying the same thing." But my dear friends, there is a difference between "words" and "teaching". The enemies of God's Word change 2 Timothy 1:13 in order to be able to change the words of God. The commandment is to "hold fast the form of sound words". By changing that to "teaching" they now can change the words of God without disobeying this commandment.
I do not profess to be a Greek scholar. I was blessed to be able to study Greek many years ago. I am not skilled in the Greek language, but I can make my way around in the Greek New Testament. This verse in Greek uses the word "logos" for "words". Actually, it is the plural form of this noun, thus we have in our Bible it properly translated uot;words". This Greek word is found many times in the New Testament and in the vast majority of cases it is translated "word" or "words". The question that must be asked is, "Why did the translators of the N.I.V. translate "logos" as "teaching"? " I must question their motive. I believe the reason they changed the translation in this case is so that they can change words in other places in the Bible. They do not want to hold fast the "form of sound words". They do not want to be obliged to use the very words as they ought to be used. Just another curious thing about this translation, why did they not use the plural form of "teaching" instead of the singular. The Greek word is plural. That is why in our Bible it is translated "words" and not "word". I must again emphasize that this is a deliberate attempt to down play the importance of words. The words that we use are of extreme importance.
Some might say, "You are talking about the "form of sound words. The form is not really that important." Oh, the form is not important? The form is like an eggshell. The shell is not really that important, it is what is in the shell that is important. What these enemies will say is "The form is not the important thing, but the really important thing is the meaning. The form is OK, but I believe that the meaning is what we are really after." God said we are to "hold fast the form of sound words" not "sound meaning". Please think with me for just a moment. If that egg shell is not so important, then why, when I go grocery shopping does my wife tell me to open the carton of eggs and make sure there are no cracked eggs? If the eggshell is not so important, then why should I worry about it being cracked? How many of you were raised on a farm? Did you have chickens? Have you ever seen a cracked egg hatch? Who says that the "form" is not important? God says it is. He says "Hold fast the form of sound words." This is a commandment of God. There is no option on our part.
One result of playing down the importance of "sound words" is the diminishing of the lines of distinction between God's people and the world and its methods. God's work must be done only by God's people. GBS refuses to go to apostates for help. God's work will be supplied by God through His people and not through His enemies. Abraham said that he would not take even a shoe latchet from God's enemy. God would meet his needs, not an unregenerate worldling. And I too must say that we will not take a shoe latchet from the apostates, for it is God Who receives the glory when God supplies our needs through His people.
I want to show you two different ways that the N.I.V. and those who promote it actually change the usage of words.
I. WORDS WHICH ARE BEING CHANGED IN OUR EVERYDAY USAGE.
I am talking about Bible words, words which are found in our Bibles, which we would use in our conversations or ministries.
1. The first word that I want to look at is the word "preach". This word is toned down and actually changed by substituting the word "share". I am standing before you now and I am not "sharing" the Gospel. Some of you might be offended by what I am saying, but I want you to listen to me very carefully. I don't mean to offend. I want to speak to you about things that are important because all of this has to do with a lowering of the standards of God. Nowhere in the Bible am I told to "share" the Gospel. I want to give you the dictionary meaning of the words "preach" and "share".
The definition of the word "preach" is a "public crier" or "to proclaim, to preach the Word of God". On the other hand, to share means "to divide in portions". I do not "divide" the Gospel in portions". Paul said that he "preached the whole counsel of God" and that is what I am called to do and that is what every Christian is called to do. It does not matter if you are a pastor, missionary, deacon, Sunday school teacher or a mother in your house, you are called to "preach" the Gospel. You are not called to "share" it. Let us look into the Word of God. Isaiah 61:1, as it applies to the Lord Jesus Himself, "The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." In Jonah 3:1,2 we read, "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee." We are called to preach the Gospel. We read these words in Matthew 4:17 concerning the Lord Jesus, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." I do not read anywhere in the Scriptures the use of the word "share". It does not say that "Jesus began to share, and say..." but it says he "began to preach that the kingdom of God was at hand." In fact there is only one place in all of Scripture where we find the word share and that is talking about a "plow share". The Scriptural term is "preach the Gospel".
Look at Matthew 10:27,28, "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Do you know why people want to use the word "share" rather than the word "preach"? Its simple. Its because we fear man. Have you ever heard someone say something like this, "Don't you dare preach to me!"? So, instead of preaching, we "share". Consequently we tone down the very word of God. Paul said, "Hold fast the form of sound words." It is preaching, not sharing. I am not dividing the Gospel. It is not like I have a Hershey Bar and I will give you some and I will keep some for myself. That is sharing. It is good to share. If you have a Hershey Bar you want to share with me afterwards, I will gladly take a share of it. But you cannot share the Gospel. It has to be preached.
Paul was adamant about this as we see in 1 Corinthians 1:23, "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness." My dear friends, we don't want to preach something that's going to be rejected. We don't want somebody to say, "Well, that's a stumblingblock to me" or "That's foolishness". So we tone it down. And I would dare say that one of the main reasons we are not seeing more people turn to Christ today is that we are toning down the Gospel. We are not saying, "Thus saith the Lord". But we are trying to sneak people into the kingdom. I have done the same thing myself. I have tried to sneak people into the kingdom. I won't tell a rich man what the Bible says about the rich. Perhaps once he is saved then the Lord can show that rich man the truth. That is plain deception. Consequently, I am not holding fast the form of sound words.
It is my practice to seek a verse from the Lord for each year. This has been a great blessing to me over the years. Some years ago my Lord gave me 1 Corinthians 9:16 as my "year's verse". "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!" Notice, Paul did not say, "Woe is unto me if I share not the gospel!" We must hold fast the form of sound words.
Let's go back to 2 Timothy, this time to chapter four and look at verse two. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." These are the last words of the Apostle Paul and he say, "PREACH the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."Nothing about sharing!
That is the first word I want to look at. I need to add just one more thing about this word. Someone might say, "I am not called to preach". Are you called to witness? Are you called to tell other people about Jesus Christ? Then you are indeed called to preach. "Brother Jerry, you mean if I just talk to my neighbor, that is preaching?" Yes it is. Absolutely. Remember in the Book of Acts when Philip climbed in the chariot with the Ethiopian Eunuch? That man was reading the prophet Isaiah and he had some questions. The Bible tells us that Philip began from that point and "preached" Christ unto him. This was one man talking to one man about Jesus and he "preached" unto him. He did not "share Christ" with him. The same would be true if one woman talked to one woman about Christ. She would be "preaching" Christ unto her friend.
2. The second word I want to look at is the word "charge" and the word "challenge". The word "charge" means "to testify earnestly" and the word "challenge" means "to call or to summon to a contest, to call or summon to a debate, call to a duel." I am speaking mainly to preachers at this point, because I don't hear too many other than preachers using the word "challenge". I find the word "challenge" nowhere in Scripture. On the other hand, I do find the word "charge" in the Bible.
Turn to 1 Timothy 5:21. "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality." Do you catch the magnitude of what Paul is saying. In other words he is saying, "I am standing before God. I am standing before Jesus Christ. I am standing before the angels. And I am testifying before these three great ones that there is something you are to do. Now folk, that has punch to it. And I can say here tonight without any fear of contradiction, that I, too, am standing before God. I, too, am standing before Jesus Christ, Who died for me. I, too, am standing before the elect angels who are all about us even here tonight, and I charge you that you hold fast the form of sound words. Now compare that to me saying, "I challenge you to hold fast the form of sound words." Do you know what the difference is? The difference is when I charge you, you have no other option but to do it. What if I am driving down the highway, without paying any attention to my speed when I hear a police siren, and I look in my rear view mirror and I see some lights flashing? After I pull over, the police officer doesn't walk up to my car window and say, "Mr. Matson, I challenge you to go to court." He "charges" me with a traffic violation and I have no other option but to go to court. "Hold fast the form of sound words." We actually take the teeth right out our gospel preaching by not using the very words of Scripture. When we think that we know more than God and we begin to tone down God's words we are robbing preaching of the most powerful tool there is, the very words God.
Turn to 2 Timothy 4:1, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word." Ha! There they are, tied together. "Preach the word!" Hold fast the form of sound words!
This is not my whole message. I must press on into that which remains, because there is another part which I believe to be even more important and I am not going to be able to deal with it in any great detail.
II. ACTUAL CHANGES WHICH HAVE OCCURRED IN THE WORDS OF GOD
I am speaking of changes which have taken place from the Authorized Bible to the New International Version. We are going to see that there is an attack on the person of Jesus Christ, by changing the words of God. The deity of Jesus Christ is under attack in the N.I.V.
We will begin by comparing Luke 2:33 in the Authorized Bible with what is in the N.I.V. The A.V. says, "And Joseph and his (Jesus) mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him." Now see what the N.I.V. says, "The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him."
Now compare Luke 2:43 in the same manner. The A.V. read, "And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem: and Joseph and his mother knew not of it." While the N.I.V. reads, "After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it." This is an attack on the virgin birth. If Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin, then He cannot be the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Do you see where the attack is?
But that is not all. Go to 1 John 5:7. The Authorized Bible says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." But look what we find in the N.I.V., "For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." Completely doing away with the Trinity.
One of my favorite Christmas verses is 1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." Now who does the Bible say was manifest in the flesh? Without any doubt, it was God. But now in the N.I.V. we read, "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great, He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory." The Greek word "Theos" is in the Greek New Testament. Why would they change the word "God" to a pronoun if they were not attacking the deity of Jesus Christ?
Now turn your attention to Revelation 22:16 in the Authorized Bible. "I, Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Note that Christ Himself claims the title "the morning star". Now go back to Isaiah 14. This chapter is a description of Satan. We shall not read the entire passage, but I want to show you the 12th verse in the Authorized Bible. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which dids't weaken the nations!" Do you really want to see what the N.I.V. says? Here is the blasphemy, "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!" In Revelation 22:16, Jesus said, "I am the morning star." Yet this corrupted version says that Satan is the morning star. Absolute blasphemy.
God says, "Hold fast the form of sound words". The N.I.V. is a deliberate attempt to undermine the deity of Jesus Christ. And it does it by changing the words. That is why the N.I.V. said we were to "keep the pattern of sound teaching" not "words". If we hold fast to teaching we don't have to hold fast to the form of sound words. Is that important? My dear friends, it is of the utmost importance. If you have the King James Bible in your hands, you have the very words of God. Hold fast the form of sound words. Use it as you preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world. May God richly bless you, my beloved.
Printed copies are available. Price may be obtained by Email: