Last week we started a new series about unity. Thank you for praying last week about unity among Christians.
Do we have unity in the church?
I’d like to think we do, but I’m afraid I am being too idealistic.
Take, for example, the argument over which Bible translation should be used. Some want their own preferred Bible version. Others don’t like that version. Our lack of harmony does not lead to unity, for though some are united, others are not, and in the case of this example, it’s all over the translation of the Bible!
My question is this: Does our Heavenly Father really care which Bible translation we use? Is He restricted to one Bible translation?
I am privileged to speak more than one language, and as a result, I can and do read the Bible in Spanish, Dutch and French. Is the Bible translated into one of these languages better than the Bible translated into English? The truth of the matter is, if we truly want the original Bible, we need to read the Old Testament in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek!
Don’t speak either one? You aren’t alone! But does that hinder us from truly understanding the Bible? If I don’t use the same Bible translation as my neighbour, does that mean I don’t understand what I am reading? Doesn’t our Heavenly Father understand all the Bible versions? Isn’t our argument over the “best” translation putting chains on God’s hands? Can you imagine that our loving Father will reject us because we aren’t reading a certain Bible translation?
Let’s not forget that we cannot restrict our Heavenly Father. It is, after all, the Holy Spirit Who help us understand, no matter what Bible version we read. This is what the Jesus tells us: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13 NIV).
Psalm 119:105 tells us something similar: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (NIV)
How do you think our Heavenly Father looks at us when we quarrel about the Bible translation? Doesn’t He encourage us to love one another? When we bicker, we are not in God’s love, and in order to have the unity that Jesus prayed for, we need to work on this!
Unity can only happen when we love one another. Let’s stop criticizing one another over what translation of the Bible we use. Let’s enjoy the different Bible translations. We can learn a lot when we are open to other Bible translations.
I would encourage you to meditate on the following Bible text daily, in whatever translation God puts on your heart to read: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
Next time we will continue to look at unity in the church.
(To access the entire “Dissonance Amidst Unity” devotional series, please click here.)