Words of Faith 8-29-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 28:29. Interesting verse, huh? Not a lot there. I didn’t get much out of it either. Let’s assign this as a memory verse for next week. Got it?
You can go and double-check your Bible but let me assure you that most modern translations do not have a verse 28:29 in the book of Acts. If you look at the King James Version for verse 28:29 you will find, “And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.” If you look in the footnote of the NIV there is a more literal translation saying, “After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves.”
So why is verse 28:29 omitted from modern translations? The reason is because it is not in the oldest manuscripts. It appears that at some point in history a copyist added this verse (to the Western Byzantine manuscript).
When the King James Version of the Bible was prepared, the Western Byzantine manuscript was the oldest available. But since that time, the discovery of older and more reliable manuscripts has revealed the “addition” and modern translators do not include it. It is not even a matter of debate.
Why would someone add to the Scripture? Scholars suspect that the addition may have been to “smooth out” the transition to the final verses of Acts which lead to a rather abrupt ending. It also may have been intended subtly to portray the Jewish people as argumentative.
Either way, it is best left out because it is not Scripture. It was not part of Luke’s original writing. It is not inspired. It is not God-breathed. It is not the Word of God.
The point? Well for one, we must be careful to do good scholarship as we study the Scripture. Excellent translations prepared by fine scholars are a must. We do not put our faith in just any “Bible” but in a good translation that is closest to the original writings.
This is not an earth-shattering verse upon which heresy might be built. It is not a big deal, but we must be careful to do good scholarship. Acts 28:29 belongs in a footnote and not in the Bible. We are not to add to or take away from that which the Lord God inspired (Deut. 4:2; Deut. 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19).
We must also be very careful ourselves when we are tempted to “smooth things out” in the Bible. When we interpret and apply the Scripture we should be clear that this is what we are doing. We must not change Scripture to fit our thinking.
The truth is that some passages are awkward. Transitions may be stiff. Some passages are downright obscure. The truth is that there are some things in Scripture we will not understand until we get to heaven, but that is not a reason to remove them or smooth them out.
We don’t understand why Luke, such a masterful writer, moved to such an abrupt ending but we do not need a medieval copyist to smooth it out. So it is just as important what is left OUT of the Scripture as what is put IN.
So how do we meditate on Acts 28:29? We should give thanks to the Lord for His Word, which He has preserved wonderfully through the ages. We were rejoice that…
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8)."
Lord, I rejoice in the power of Your Word. I give thanks for Your Word which is eternal. I give praise to you in Jesus’ name that Your Word renews my mind and heart and calls me to faith. In Jesus’ Name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.