… Great is the mystery of godliness…

Why is the title of my writing series Bible Concealed? It has been concealed because people do not really study the Bible. In church services, priests do not disclose the deep, hidden wisdom of God. Still, in the time of William Tyndale in the 16th century, the Bible was only in Latin and only for the use of the clergy. These days there are many translations and works of explanation. Why should the Bible be concealed? Almost every family has a Bible. However, extremely few people will read it thoughtfully and researching, in spirit and truth. Christianity is divided into thousands of different denominations or sects and everyone believes in representing the true Christian truth. 1 Corinthians 2:7 says: “but we [the apostles] speak about God’s secret wisdom that has been hidden, which God destined for our glory before the world began [or: before the ages].

Rev 2:17 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Luke 8:10: And he said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.”

Jesus had told them [the Apostles] and asked them to remember that ”The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” Luk 9:45: But they did not understand this statement; it was concealed from them so that they could not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him [Jesus] about it.

Many of the things that have been told in the Bible are still concealed from people today. There are many reasons: people do not care to study the Bible, and the only information for many comes from the Sunday school. People want to hear only nice things, not the kind that ’there will be a time of God’s wrath, and the major part of mankind will be destroyed’. If people knew that God promises to rescue his true believers from this time of horror, they might be calmer about their future.

But do you really know God and do his will? Good if that is the case. What if you simply are not interested in the truth of the Bible? Then you should be concerned about Rom 2:8 warning of the punishment “but Wrath and Fury for those who in their selfish pride refuse to believe the truth and practice wickedness instead”. Punishment of wrath and fury or “inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 The 1:8).

Matthew speaks of the same thing, explaining: 13:15: ”For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’
It has been left concealed because people do not really study the Bible. The hidden wisdom of God is understood by few people. Understanding, on the other hand, requires a strong desire to understand, and love for the truth. Salvation and the knowledge of the truth are intertwined: 1 Tim 2:4 ”who [God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Apostle Paul writes in 2 The 2:10: ”and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

In these reflections, I strongly rely on the Bible. I recognize from the very beginning that I am a supporter of the Sola Scriptura -principle, that is to say, only on the basis of the Bible we can create lasting theological doctrines. When I say I am a supporter of the Sola Scriptura principle, what do I actually mean? The text of the Bible today provides the opportunity to choose between different translation versions and interpretations. What I mean is that the sola scriptura should lead to the apostolic text given by Jesus and His apostles. From then on, a few hundred years and the word was distorted to contain the Greek-pagan doctrinal content.

Many religious denominations base their teachings on certain, even single individual Bible Scriptures. William Tyndale, who in 1536 was burned in the pile because he translated the Bible into English, so that even an uneducated peasant would understand it. In the same way, I believe that the Bible should be read as a whole and I think it would be good if you could accept the word of the Bible as it is written without needing to undertake in-depth theological studies. The Bible is, however, in many places difficult to understand. Part is the clearest language for anyone to understand, but it also can be quite equivocal with metaphors and symbolism. Sometimes a sentence gets its explanation from another Bible Scripture. Translation can be problematic; many Bible is fluent in contemporary language, but it cannot be used to profound in-depth studies. I am using several translations side by side when choosing a Bible verse to quote. It is also necessary to examine the original text with word explanations which can be read e.g. in Strong’s lexicon.

Isaac Watts already in the 1700s highlighted the power of rational reasoning. The biblical truth consists of different proofs, sometimes brought forward in various books. I am engaged in my own reflections on this kind of reasoning. For example, if God the Father has raised Christ above all in heaven and on earth, and yet Jesus has always been almighty like the Father and the Holy Spirit, I see this trinitarianism very problematic to accept: how can the Almighty God [Jesus Christ] be raised? As part of the Holy Trinity, he has always been almighty. As an example of the significance of the whole, I can mention in connection with salvation that “Believe in the Lord … you will be saved” is only a part of the guidance given by God to human beings. I will write more about this in the chapter of salvation.

In my reflections, therefore, I come to conclusions that are contrary to both Lutheran and Catholic doctrines. In fact, I am not a member of any church or denomination I am ready to listen and to review my opinions, if someone manages to justify it in clear Bible scripture – after all I am, as I said initially, a Sola scriptura -man.

Addition to Forewords

I have included in the Appendix Ivan Panin’s (b. 12/12/1855) Bible translation which is over a hundred years old and called: Numeric English New Testament (NENT). Of this, a few words.

How Good Is the Bible Translation NENT? Everything starts and is based on the correctness of the Greek translation of the New Testament. Panin himself assures that after completing the translation, the numeric code contained in the Bible is complete and adamantine. He has removed a small number of verses from NT that do not meet the requirement for the numeric code. Many other translations have either omitted these or commented on their authenticity saying that these verses are not found in older manuscripts. Panin has been searching for the correct version of the Greek language in situations where the Greek text is incomplete, having tried to make sure that the chosen wording satisfies the requirement of numerics. This is why I have grown a seed of suspicion; would Panin have chosen an English translation based on his own Bible view? I realized he was a devoted Trinitarian and accepted Jesus’ Deity and Pre-Existence. Since I do not know Greek I do not have any evidence of deliberate favoring of Triune divinity, and I want to believe that Panin who devoted his whole life in this translation work, has done it honestly and truth-loving.

Even if we believe that the New Testament in Greek is correct and the numerics is its seal, the next test phase is to translate NT into English or other languages. This is where you meet the new challenges of the translation work. Since English is not my mother tongue, I cannot criticize the quality of the translation. The translation is over a hundred years old and the language has developed over that period. New translations have removed old wordings and old words that are out of use. To make reading easier, there is before the actual NT an article about the interpretation of old words.

In addition to the interpretation of individual words, there is a greater challenge to correctly interpret some of the Bible passages. This applies to any translation, not just NENT. Some, even many verses included in the Bible are considered by Bible scholars as counterfeits or additions, or otherwise controversial. Nevertheless, they are included in the NENT – they obviously meet the numerics test. I’ll take one example. The verse in Matthew 28:19-20 includes an order of Jesus Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” … This Jesus gave His disciples immediately after his resurrection in Galilee where Jesus and the apostles met (Matt 28:10). One can legitimately ask whether baptism instructions of Jesus were given exactly in this form? Why would this be confusing? Because the apostles continued to baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus or Jesus Christ. Did not the disciples obey the resurrected Christ, or what was this disobedience and insubordination due to?
So, please read with an open mind and in heart love a for the truth.

Heikki Jartela