December 2, 2011 – A Child and a Concordance

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

About 10 years ago, against my better judgment,  I sent my two youngest children off to a Vacation Bible School.  The week’s events were based on the life of Christ which I figured would be 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 said that they had decorated Christmas trees.  He was very upset about the event, refused to take part,  and even went to his sister’s classroom to remove her.

I, too, was very upset.  Let’s get to the basics here.  If someone wants to teach about the life of Christ and start with his birth, that is fine with me.  However, a better way to teach about the event would be using 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 and, there is no reference to those things at the birth of Jesus in my Bible.

My son continued in a state of confusion for a few more hours.  I didn’t quite understand why, but as we began talking about what happened, he was indecisive about returning the next day.  When I realized the stand my son had taken, I  told both of my children they could go or not, it made no difference to me because 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 to him that every word in our Bibles was in this book.  I even showed him all the references to ‘the’, ‘a’, and ‘but’.  Then, I told him we were going to look up ‘Christmas’ and find all the referencnes to it in our Bible.  He opened the huge book and turned the pages slowly looking for C.  He followed with his finger down the page until he looked at me and said, “It’s not in here.”

Since we celebrated the Sabbath for his whole life, he had never gone to church on Sunday. I knew if he continued to go the VBS for the week,  he would be asked to attend church on Sunday for some presentation or other as it was the church’s way of getting people there.  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 again, “It’s not in here.”

My final suggestion was Easter.  As he found the entry in the concordance, it said, “a mistranslation of the word Pesach’.  Because he had celebrated Passover for 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 check it out.  He  turned the pages until he found Passover.  I showed him the number next to the word meant how many times it was found in the NIV Bible.

“What else is in here?” he asked.  “Is Feast of Trumpets or Hanukkah?”  He began looking up all of the Feasts of the Lord.  He commented on how many times each of them appeared in the Bible.  When he was done he closed the concordance and sat for just a few moments.  Then he stated, “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!”

I share this story because over the past few years I have begun hearing people try to defend one version or another of the Bible 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 in front of us to teach and train whoever needs teaching and training.  It is the Spirit of God that guides us into all Truth; not a specific version of Scripture whether in 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 a 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.  What mattered is she had the Word of God, one page, and it was precious to her and touched and changed 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 was contained therein gave him an understanding of what was Truth and what was not.  He simply believed what he read and the Spirit of wisdom did the rest.

©2011 jsixrock

 

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