Matthew 25:1-13 The Parable of the Ten Virgins
This morning I ponder how impossible it was to live with the bible before the days of printing presses and modern-day bible editors … before the days of chapters and verses … before sub-headings précis-ing what follows … all those (mere) 727,969 words (NIV) that are pored over as the Living Word of God (English obligatory)!
Or maybe you prefer the real bible: the 1611 King James bible with a fulsome 788,280 words … Or perhaps the proper bible: THE King James with 770,430 words. Which means the NIV is a puny – and irrelevant – 727,969 words. But if you are American then you have a very respectable 782,815 words in the NASB.
“Overall, it is difficult to pin down exactly how many words the Bible had when it was written in its original Hebrew language.”
Which makes this which is “the realest version” futile because God and Jesus didn’t even speak English. Only Hebrew and perhaps Greek (and maybe a smidgeon of Latin) – AND God and Jesus only focused on the dusty peeps – AND maybe a few “close by” dusty peeps (AND a few world-domination occupying peeps).
Anyway … I digress.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”
We are a Jewish audience again (remember “Matthew”?) …
Context … ? The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times … The Day and Hour Unknown … The Parable of the Ten Virgins … The Parable of the Bags of Gold … The Sheep and the Goats … The Plot Against Jesus …
More context …
Today I simply pop in a word, a book, a verse to my computer and back comes the original (whatever “original” means). So leaving aside all the noise over which version, which editors, which language, which this or that …
Just how did the dusty peeps get by with this massive word count (even excluding the New Testament not yet written)?
I think the same way as the Body of Christ got by until very recently.
We ALL depended on those who studied and memorised and recited the bible for us. Which means two things: We trusted “them” implicitly, and we listened to “them” closely (or maybe not).
Which has the unintended (?) by-product of imposing distance on the student or listener because the teacher is always closer to God than I am. And – in matters of disagreement – the teacher always knows best. Just like the Pharisees were the established and God appointed teachers in biblical times. And along comes this wandering dusty nobody. A nobody who could recall the bible as well as they could, but who added a spin of “authority” not even they dared to add. An authority that challenged their (God appointed) authority to teach. An authority that was a threat.
So let’s get real …
Isn’t that what still happens today?
The established church and creeds and religious and church hierarchy …. The qualified teachers of God “called to and appointed by” God Himself … And still the unintended (?) by-product of distance … Complete with the (“always on” and instantly available) noise of poisonous “debate” … The noise of the “established” hierarchy being challenged …
It seems no one likes their authority challenged. Not even today.
But the “authority” I read about in this translated / edited avalanche of words written for – in this morning’s verses – an audience that excludes me …
That authority is only and ever about Love without condition.
So if we (still) call that teaching with (pretend) “authority”and a threat to the establishment … Then we are still missing the point.
(and are STILL “in love” with all the crap Jesus challenged then)