Vol.IV No.IX Pg.5
October 1967

Is It Really "In The Book"?

Robert F. Turner

Our series on the TEXT of the Bible gives way, in two issues, to consideration of special interest books; containing the Bible text (in some cases mutilated to serve the publishing interest) PLUS references or footnotes that emphasize some of the many false doctrines of the world. We believe these articles belong here because

gullible people often accept error simply because it comes wrapped as a "Bible." But not all material found between covers labeled "Bible" is part of the divine text.

For example, a commonly used K. J. New Testament published by the American Bible Society has this explanation following Titus: "It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia." Titus as the "first bishop" is purely human tradition, shows a false conception of the "office" and is no part of the text. This is common practice among Bible publishers; is not a criticism of motive of the ABS; but is something we should know re. things "in the book."

Cross-references are very valuable and helpful -- but should be treated as commentaries. Some Bibles have references that promote special interests. I once had a Bible that gave cross-references to passages about the Holy Spirit, at many places where "baptism" had no H.S. connotation. The helper (?) was trying to promote his idea of Holy Spirit baptism.

The Scofield Reference Bible, sold simply as a "Bible" in some stores, is premillennial. Footnotes promote the false idea of a materialistic kingdom of God, and Christ's literal 1,000-year reign. When the Pharisees ask when the kingdom of God should come, Christ answers that it "cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Lu. 17:20-21) Seems very clear.

But note the fancy juggling done in the footnotes. "The kingdom in its outward form, ... had been rejected by the Jews; so that, during this present age, it would not "come with observation" (lit. "outward show") but in the hearts of men....Meantime, the kingdom was actually "in the midst" of the Pharisees in the persons of the King and His disciples. Ultimately the kingdom of heaven will come, with outward show." (digested, rft)

It is not my purpose here to discuss the doctrine involved, but to point out the special interest served by such publications. The unsuspecting are a ready prey. I recall one man who told me he didn't believe in using anything but the Holy Bible for his studies -- and was amazed when I told him the chapter headings, center-references, footnotes, -- even the division into chapter and verses -- were human devices that could possibly mislead. I think he did not believe me.

Are such "helps" to be avoided? It would be practically impossible. But we should avoid obviously slanted notes and editions of the Bible. One-man, special-group translations may be used for comparison studies, but should never become the basis for our faith. Study the TEXT for yourself, lest you lose your reward. (2 Jn. 7-f)