Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Vision (3/8/12): "But now we see not yet all things put under him" (Hebrews 2:8b)

One of the things I like best about the King James Version of the Bible for devotional reading and preaching is the fact that it is so aphoristic.  Wheaton English professor Leland Ryken defines an aphorism simply as “a concise, memorable statement,” adding, “The King James Bible is the most aphoristic book in the English language” (The Legacy of the King James Bible [Crossway, 2011]:  p. 155).

One of the best ways to devotionally read Scripture is to take one of its aphorisms and meditate on it throughout the day.  One such thought that I ran across this week was this gem in Hebrews 2:8b:  “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

 In context the author of Hebrews (some believe the book was written by the apostle Paul but this is uncertain) is stressing the superiority of Christ to the angels.  He cites Psalm 8 to reflect on how Christ “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (v. 9).  Though confident that one day all things will plainly be made subject to Christ, the author also acknowledges that this has not yet come about.  “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”  Theologians sometime speak of the “already” and the “not yet” of the Christian life.  This little verse captures that truth.

Now the gospel is being spread through many means and preached in many lands, though its progress is frequently rejected and impeded by sinful men.  But one day the knowledge of the Lord will cover the face of the earth as the waters cover the seas.

Now our bodies grow older and wearier with time and age.  We are clay vessels.  But one day we will be joined to our resurrection bodies.  Every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more death and pain.

Now we see things only in part.  Even in the best of us, our knowledge of spiritual things is clouded by sin.  We see through a glass darkly.  But one day we will see Christ.  We will know even as we are fully known.

Now our local assemblies are mainly weak little flocks.  We seek a regenerate community, but we are often little better than a mixed multitude.  Tares are sown among the wheat.  But one day we will join the righteous myriads in heaven of just men made perfect through the blood of Christ.

 Take one look at the world around you, and it will be quite plain that this world is not yet all it will one day will be.  That’s not a bad thing to keep in mind throughout your day:  “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

3 comments:

Mad Jack said...

Easy for you, but not so much for the rest of us. The King James version is so difficult to read that I often give up on it and use a different version. I'm not alone in this. For a short time I served with a ministry to help youth who were incarcerated in juvenile jail. We'd take a number of Bibles with us, but the real problem I saw was that many young men bordered on being functional illiterates. The KJV did them little good as they couldn't understand it. My mother, who is a kind and generous person, got them a dozen copies or so copies of The Message version of the New Testament. I hope it helps.

Consider this progression:

Hebrews 2:1-4
King James Version
1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

New King James
1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Common English Bible
Listen to the Son’s message
1 This is why it’s necessary for us to pay more attention to what we have heard, or else we may drift away from it.
2 If the message that was spoken by angels was reliable, and every offense and act of disobedience received an appropriate consequence,
3 how will we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? It was first announced through the Lord, and then it was confirmed by those who heard him.
4 God also vouched for their message with signs, amazing things, various miracles, and gifts from the Holy Spirit, which were handed out the way he wanted.

Contemporary English Version
1 We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won't drift away.
2 The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved.
3 So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true.
4 God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.

By the time I've scratched what little hair I have remaining to me onto the floor, I could not seek out an aphorism to save my life while reading the KJV. The others get progressively easier.

You're a bright man, padre. Not everyone is as smart as you are, nor as well educated.

Pastor Jeff said...

MJ,

Thanks for the comment.

As you might imagine, my view on these things is a little different. I do not believe that the KJV is that hard to read or understand. My family uses it in our family devotions and my 5 and 7 year olds seem to have no problem getting it. For the limited number of archaic words and expressions, one can find word lists or Bibles printed with word lists (published by the Trinitarian Bible Society). English speaking people for generations have used the KJV and it has contributed greatly to the literacy levels in many nations. Rather than dumbing "the message" down, we should challenge folk to journey up. See Neil Postman's book, "Amusing Ourselves To Death" where he contrasts the literacy levels of colonial American (where nearly every house had the KJV, sometimes as one of only one of two books in the home) and modern media saturated society (and he even wrote before the internet!). I have found the greatest factor in whether or not folk are inclined to read the Bible is not the level of literacy or whether their Bible is the KJV or a modern version but whether or not they are converted and/or spiritually hungry. To your story of jail ministry could be counterered many anecodotal stories where incarcerated folk prefer the KJV. I recently spoke with a person who visited/volunteered at a large rescue mission ministry in Richmond, VA and they exclusively and effectively use only the KJV in their outreach, worship, and Bible studies. Eugene Peterson's "Message" is particularly problematic since it is really a paraphrase and not a translation. It contains Peterson's interpretation but does not offer a literal, word for word translation, as does the KJV and a number of modern translations as well. At the heart of the issue here is what you believe about the inspiration and authority of the Bible. Since I believe in the plenary (full(, verbal (every jot and tittle)inspiration I want a Bible that closely follows the original language text of the Bible (and, in my case, I prefer the traditional text, the basis of the KJV and NKJV, to the modern critical text, the bases of the modern translations such as the NIV, ESV, etc.

Again, in my view the key thing is not the relative intelligence or education of the reader but his or her spiritual state.

Respectfully, JTR

Armand said...

Aphoristic!

The word itself is somewhat of an aphorism (hee hee).

This is so true about the AV. I love the phrases like "Quit ye like men". As a family, we don't memorize scripture as much as we should, but we always memorize from the KJV. I believe it is easier to commit to memory - aphoristic - and delightful to be able to quote from such excellent literature. Some people like to quote Shakespear because of his literary excellence, but the KJV has the literary excellence with infinitely better content. It is far more beautiful in form than the modern translations. The Word of God read aloud should be majestic and sanctified. It is my humble opinion that the KJV does this for the English language as well as any translation available.

Pastor Jeff, I love your textual notes you post periodically and I thought of you while listening to a sermon when the preacher read from Mark 9 and came to vs 29. He was preaching from the ESV (he's a YRR), which reads (and NASB agrees):

ESV And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

NASB And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

As he preached his point that Jesus reveals to us that prayer is the antidote to weak faith, I kept looking at my KJV, thinking, "Prayer alone, or prayer and fasting - this changes the sermon."

KJV And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.