A Child and a Concordance

“Yeshua said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them” (Matthew 19:14).

About 10 years ago, against my better judgment,  I sent my two youngest children to Vacation Bible School at a local church.  The week’s events were based on the life of Christ should have been benign and harmless.

When I went to pick my children up after the first morning, my eight-year-old son was acting strangely.  I asked him what was bothering him and he shared they had decorated Christmas trees – in June!  He was very upset about the event, refused to take part,  and even went to his younger sister’s classroom to remove her.

I was also upset.  Basically, if a VBS wants to teach children about the life of Christ and start with his birth, that is fine.   However, a better way to teach about the event would be to use the Bible account.  There were shepherds watching sheep and angels singing praise songs at the event.  No one decorated a tree with gold and silver.

My son remained in a state of confusion for the next few hours after we were home.  As we began talking about what happened, he was indecisive about returning the next day. My son had taken a stand regarding the ‘Christmas’ ordeal so I  told both of my children to decide if they wanted to go the next day.  I didn’t are about their decision; I figured the worst was over.   My son, however, could not make a decision.

I decided to give him a little help.  I pulled out my NIV Exhaustive Concordance and sat him down next to me on the sofa.   I explained that every word in our Bibles was in the Concordance.  I showed him all the references to ‘the’, ‘a’, and ‘but’.  I explained that we were going to look up ‘Christmas’ and find all the references to it in our Bible.  He laid the huge book on his lap and opened it, turning the pages slowly looking for ‘C’.  He slid his finger down the page until he looked at me and said, “It’s not in here.”

Since we had been celebrating the Sabbath for his whole life, he had never gone to church on Sunday. I knew if he continued to go VBS for the week,  he would be asked to attend church on Sunday for some presentation as it was the church’s way of getting people into their building.  I suggested we look up Sunday.  Again, he looked for the reference and when he couldn’t find it, he looked at me and said, “It’s not in here.”

My final suggestion was Easter.  When he found the entry in the Concordance, it said, “a mistranslation of the word Pesach“.   Because he had celebrated Passover his entire life, he immediately knew that Pesach meant Passover.  He looked at me and asked, “Passover is in the Bible?”  I didn’t have to encourage him to look for the word.  He  turned the pages until he found Passover.  I showed him the number next to the word and told him that was  how many times Passover was found in the NIV Bible.

“What else is in here?  Is Feast of Trumpets or Hanukkah?”  He began looking up all of the Feasts of the LORD.  He noted how many times each of them appeared in the Bible.  When he finally finished his research,  he closed the concordance and sat quietly for a few minutes.  “I’ve made my decision about going back to that school tomorrow.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“I don’t want to go anymore because nothing they do is in the Bible.”

Over the past few years,  I hear people trying to defend one version of the Bible or another to the exclusion of all others.   I have even heard people come against one Concordance or another.  It is important that we use the tools we have to teach and train whoever needs teaching and training.  It is the Spirit of the LORD that guides us into all Truth; not a specific version of Scripture whether Hebrew, Aramaic, English, Polish, Chinese or Portuguese or Zulu!  To know the Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek may give a deeper meaning to a Scripture, but it is not the end-all of Scripture translation.

Years ago I heard a story about a woman in prison who had one page of the Bible.  It was all she ever had or read.  From that one page, she had a vibrant and powerful relationship with the LORD.  It probably wasn’t in Hebrew or King James English, but in her own language, whatever that was.   It didn’t matter whether the translation was by word or phrase or from the Greek or Hebrew.    She had the Word of God, one page.   It was precious to her filled her heart.

The faith that my eight-year-old son exercised was not about the original language of the Scripture, for he could only read English, but about what was contained within those Scriptures.   It wasn’t about whether the Concordance was the ‘right one’ or  had some ‘problems,’ but that what it contained gave him an understanding of Truth.  He simply believed what he read and the Spirit of wisdom did the rest.

©December 2011 Tentstake Ministries

 

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