Do We Need A Human Mediator?

Do We Need A Human Mediator? Bible Question.

Question:

“Does a time ever come in the life of a Christian that he sins to the point that, even though he repents, he cannot pray for himself, but must have some righteous brother to pray for him?”

Answer:

The answer to your question is given clearly by the Word of God itself . . .

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,1 Timothy 2:3 – 5 (New American Standard Bible)

First, God wants all people to be saved. Second, there is one mediator between God and us – Jesus Christ. That just does not leave room for any other person to be a mediator between any Christian and God.

The Scripture show that the church of the Lord is “the household of God” (1 Timothy 3:15). Then the apostle Peter writes, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:1 – 5)

Notice that we – Christians – are a holy priesthood. Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, etc.). But each of us is a priest of God, and as such, we have access to God without the intervention of any other human being.

It is right and proper to ask others to pray for us (1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18; etc.). Quite often one feels the need to confess his sins and weaknesses to other brothers (James 5:16), and even to the church, so that they can pray for him. But when one repents, he can ask God to forgive him right then.

Our forgiveness is not based on someone else praying for us, for that would make that person a mediator through whom we must go to have access to God. Christ is the only mediator. That means your brother in Christ, the preacher, the elders, nor even the congregation can serve as a mediator. Your forgiveness is between you and God, with Christ as the advocate or intermediary.

.

Deacons Without Elders?

Deacons Without Elders? Bible Question.

Question:

“Based on your study of the Bible, is it unscriptural to have deacons without elders?”

Answer:

Because the Bible is silent on this subject, my study has convinced me that having deacons in a church with no elders is not a violation of the Scriptures. The works of elders and deacons are different. The elders are overseers or shepherds of the church (1 Peter 5:1 – 3; 1 Timothy 5:17). The deacons are servants of the church, for that is what the word means. The Greek word for deacon (in verb form) is used of those seven men selected by the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6). There is no record of that church having elders at the time, although it is possible that they did.

Some conclude that a church cannot have deacons unless they have elders appointed, because they tend to think of the deacons as some kind of “junior elders”. But deacons are not “servants” of the elders – they are servants of the church. And we may as well as argue that there cannot be elders unless we have deacons! The truth is that the work of each is separate from the other, and each can do their jobs without the other. If a church has both elders and deacons, then, of course, deacons work under the oversight of the elders – as do all the other members.

But if a church has deacons, and no elders, the deacons are still deacons – not elders. They are not spiritual shepherds and they have no more “authority” than any other member. They serve the church, and in the absence of elders, their work is directed by the church and is overseen in exactly the same way all the other work is directed in that congregation – whether in a business meeting or in some other way chosen by that local church.

.

Which Translation of the Bible Is Authorized By God?

(Which Translation of the Bible Is Authorized By God?) Bible Question.

Question:

“For the last month or so, I have watched a TV evangelist for the church of Christ claim that all versions of the Bible (except for the King James) are perversions. He is particularly hard on the New International Version. Please share your thoughts on the various Bible versions.”

Answer:

Thanks for your question. All translations are produced by people, and that includes the King James Version. Each version is only as good as the people who produce it, and as only as good as their scholarship and integrity. If people do not have the scholarship to translate from Hebrew and Greek, the version will not be reliable. If they do not have the integrity to translate what the Hebrew and Greek actually say, the version will not be reliable. Based on that, I consider only those versions done by committees of many scholars to be reliable. That would include the King James, the American Standard and others so produced.

The King James Version has been a great version for 400 years. But to claim that every other version a perversion is ridiculous. What did people read before 1611 (when the KJV was first produced)?  What of people who can’t read English? If only the KJV could lead people to salvation and produce the church of Christ, then no one could have been saved before 1611 and the church could not have existed, for the word is “the seed of the kingdom” (Luke 8:11). That whole idea is, of course, ridiculous.

There is no translation that is “authorized” by God, nor the church. The truth is that there are many good versions. The American Standard Version is generally considered as one of the most accurate English versions, but its style is somewhat stilted. The KJV was produced to give the people of the early seventeenth century a Bible in their own language (common English), which would be easily understood. It filled that need wonderfully.

But it hardly fills that need anymore. The English language has changed considerably since the 1600s. Thus, there is a need for a translation (or translations) in “our common language” of today. That is why such versions as the New American Standard, New International, and New King James have been produced. All three are committee-produced. And I consider all three to be reliable versions.

Each version has some advantages and each has some shortcomings. Personally, I use all three of these translations regularly (NASB, NIV, NKJV) and I have five additional translations that I use in my studies. But I am not authorized to choose a version (translation) that everyone else must use. And neither is anyone else!

As to the New International Version – it is by far the most popular version today, based on sales. I really think that if we are interested in reaching people with the word of God, we must become familiar with that version. It is the one we most likely will find in people’s homes when we call on them and try to reach them. It has some shortcomings and even some obvious mistakes. But so does KJV and probably every other version.

We just need to study it, find its shortcomings and learn to teach people God’s truth with it. That is exactly what we have had to do with the King James Version for hundreds of years! Check out other comments I’ve made on this topic in the posts listed below.

Related Articles On This Blog:

House Churches and Newer Bible Translations

What Resources Do I Need To Study the Bible?

.