|Volume 23 Number 2 February 2021
Louis Rushmore, Editor
I was acquainted first with the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, and most of the older reference works interact with the KJV. Hence, many of the reference works and commentaries to which I may appeal in my study of the Bible involve the KJV. However, personally and usually in print, I resort to the New King James Version (NKJV). Both of those translations are based on the same Old Testament and compiled Greek manuscript for the New Testament. For the most part, both the KJV and the NKJV are translated accurately, as well as for the most part being translated literally. The NKJV’s vocabulary has been updated and is easier to read and to understand than the KJV.
Most other contemporary New Testament translations are based on a different compilation of chiefly two or three older Greek manuscripts. Consequently, at best, these translations differ in some places – chiefly leaving out some verses – from the KJV and the NKJV. Happily, when translated accurately, no doctrine is compromised irrespective of whether one uses, for instance, the NKJV or the English Standard Version (ESV).
It is important to note that there are primarily two opposing approaches to translating Scripture into one’s language – more or less literally and dynamic equivalence. “Literal” refers to word for word translations (and sometimes transliterations, e.g., “baptism” for “baptisma”) with some words added by translators to help with the sense (italicized words, e.g., KJV, NKJV). “Dynamic Equivalence” presumes to reword and rephrase the original text into words and sentences that the translators believe will provide a modern-day message for people today.
Dynamic Equivalence traverses from translation into the realm of commentary to whatever extent it strays from producing in the receiving language (e.g., English) the words of the original language (e.g., Hebrew, Greek). Hence, the New International Version (NIV), for instance, as well as others, masquerade as translations of the Bible when, in fact, they represent human and denominational doctrines at worst, and at best they dilute the Word of God. Commentaries at least present themselves as the notes of Bible students rather than posing as the words of God, which were provided by the Holy Spirit. Being effortlessly read and easily understood, while admirable qualities of any literature, including the Bible, are not the deciding factors whether a translation of the Bible is reliable.
The Lord’s Day
Russel G. Bell
Someone posed the question, “Would you please give me a Bible text that shows that Sunday is called the Lord’s Day? Do not use Revelation 1:10 since John did not specify what day he was alluding to when he said he was ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.’” To my knowledge, the term “Lord’s day” only occurs one time in the Bible, and that is in Revelation 1:10. The reader is correct in his observation that John (the writer of Revelation) did not specify in that passage what day to which the Lord’s day referred. So, the real question is what is the Lord’s day – Saturday, the seventh day, or Sunday, the first day of the week? Certainly, we should all worship on the “Lord’s day,” but what day is that?
“Lord” here refers to Jesus and is used in the possessive case; therefore, this was His great day. What great events in Jesus’ life took place on the sabbath or the seventh day of the week? I don’t know. Yet, I do know that on Sunday, the first day of the week, our Lord was raised from the dead (Luke 24:1-9). In this He showed His power to conquer death, not only for himself but for us, too. It was and is truly the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week.
Also, the Lord’s church was established on Sunday, the first day of the week. We read about this in Acts 2. We know this took place on the first day of the week because Pentecost, the day on which this all occurred, always came on the first day of the week.
Further, we see that early Christians worshipped on the first day of the week after Christ’s church was established. “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread [the observance of the Lord’s Supper that Christ had instituted to be done in remembrance of him], Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). Here, we see a typical worship service on the first day of the week with preaching and the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Also note in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, it was the first day of the week that the collection was taken for the needs of the church. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the church of Galatia, as also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.”
These are my reasons for believing that the Lord’s Day is Sunday, the first day of the week, the day of Christian worship.