Which Bible Translation?

We are asked all the time “which translation is best?” Frankly all of them have problems. There is just no way to translate something as large as the Bible without letting ones preconceived notions sneak in, or outright prejudices get put in.

Aside from learning Greek and Hebrew, the best one can do, is know who did the translation that they are using, and what were their preconceived notion and prejudices. For instance the King James Version was translated by men who were making the point that James the King of Scotland was rightfully the king of England as well. Once you know it you will see the doctrine of the “Divine Right of Kings” stressed over and over.

FYI: Biblical Hebrew has about 1000 words. It is a simple language to learn.

We alway use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible in all three of our blogs. Many people have asked us over the years why we use the RSV of the Bible. Many feel that it is inferior to the King James Version, or the American Standard Version. Honestly, all of them are inferior to looking at the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Because of this we do try to put in a many references to the original languages as we feel can be inserted.

The RSV was translated by liberal scholars, the same scholars that wrote the International Critical Commentary on the Bible. For this one reason alone, students can look up the rationale for any deviant translation. It should be noted that none of these scholarly men believed in the authenticity, or for that matter the authority of the Bible. They were proponents of the “Documentary Hypothesis” a rather dubious belief that the Pentateuch or Torah was not written by Moses, but rather several men over an extended period of time. Yes, the RSV, was translated by these Liberal scholars, giving it the rather humorous altered meaning to its abbreviation, RSV, as the Reviled Stamped on Version! However because of the International Critical Commentary, the RSV is quite simply the only English translation that gives us the reason why a particular translation was made from the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. This allows the reader to study their justification. There is no other English translation that has such a reference. We can only guess at why there are Unicorns in the King James Version.

The International Critical Commentary on the Bible is out of copy-write and anyone can now use it as the title of their book.  The real International Critical Commentary on the Bible is a multi volume encyclopedia size collection, only some of which are available free on the internet.

FYI: We don’t actually recommend that anyone use these commentaries without prior reading of the first 13 chapters in Gleason Archer Jr’s. A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction. Archer carefully explains how invalid their preconceived notions are. The use of these books is a little like studying evolution in order to study biology. It is the same with theology, you must understand what these men have done in order to understand much of what has been written in the last century or so. So, although these books are absolutely wrong in their preconceived notions, they are linguistically valuable.

Recommended reading

Archer Jr., GLEASON  A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction. The best place to start is the first 13 chapters where he provides a complete overview to this late dating nonsense.

Oswald, T.  Allis – The Old Testament Its Claims and Its Critics

Inspiration of Scripture

magnifyAt Biet Sepher we believe in the Verbal Plenary Inspiration of the Original Autographs.

Half of the readers of this just ask “what?” and the rest smugly commented, “we don’t have the original autographs.”

Plenary is just a big fancy theological word for; complete, total, unconditional, absolutely everything under consideration. The Original Autographs are the books of the Bible as they were written by their respective authors at the time they were written.

This is important because there is a whole school of theology (Neo-Orthodoxy) that teaches that the books of the Bible were not written by the authors ascribed to them and the time they are traditionally believed to have been written.

Most of their theories have been totally shown to be unfound by later scholars. The most useful of these is The Old Testament it claims and Its Critics by O.T. Allis, where  many of their attacks are explained away.

One of the last hold out was their theory of late dating the book of Daniel. In the book of Daniel there are long prophecies about the kings of Persia, Assyria, and Egypt. This prophecy is so accurate about these kings that the Neo-Orthodox who never believe any of the miracles of the Bible are real events, claim that Daniel must have been written after the facts. The last king mentioned is Julius Caesar pitching his tent between the Mediterranean Sea and Jerusalem.

And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him. Dan. 11:45

One of the most obvious problems with this liberal scholarship is presented by the Septuagint, i.e. LXX, as it was the first translation of the Hebrew Bible into another language (Greek). Tradition holds that seventy men from the twelve tribes of Israel met in Alexandria, Egypt to translate the Bible at the behest of Ptolemy II 283BC-246BC. The Septuagint contains the Book of Daniel 150 years before the Maccabean revolt. However most damning of their late dating of Daniel is that recently, a fragment of Daniel has been found in the cache of the Dead Sea Scrolls that dates roughly to within 50 years of Daniel’s internal date. See: New Light on the Book of Daniel from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

If one does not believe that the writers of the Scripture was inspired by God, what are we doing?

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2Tim. 3:16

Hermeneutics, Exegesis, and Interpretation

menorah-windowThese three terms or rules are often used interchangeably, which can lead to minor misunderstanding even by the people using these terms or rules.

Hermeneutics are the rules by which one interprets the Bible. This is how the historical, grammatical, syntactical, and cultural context is to be considered.

FYI” Hermeneutics comes from the name of the Greek god Hermes who was the interpreter of the gods.

Exegesis is an explanation of which and how the rules of hermeneutics were applied. The problem with exegesis is that everyone claims to be doing this, when in fact most are no longer following any or all of the rules. They all seem to be making them up as they go. When rules are not  implemented and followed consistently it leaves the people in the pews confused as to how to understand Scripture fully. They just don’t see what their spiritual leader says is in the Text. Many then go away thinking that they are somehow too stupid to understand what  the Bible says. So they don’t read it for themselves. Trust yourself, it’s not that hard, and there is a whole list of books in our Bibliography (most of them so old that they are free on the internet) that will help if you get stuck.

Interpretation is what is given after all the study is done. Here we have another problem, most preacher can only interpret the English Bible. It has fallen out of fashion for the average spiritual leader to read Greek let alone Hebrew. Most don’t realize that any translation is already an interpretation. The translator must decide what he thinks the author was saying, and how that should be best said in the language of the new reader. Since Hebrew in particular often has more than one meaning intended, a full translation can be an almost impossible task. The Hebrew Scriptures are full of puns, and other word play that just doesn’t translate. (See Also: Paronomasia/Word Play in the Bible) This all comes down to the average spiritual leader interpreting an interpretation. They just don’t have the language tools to do the job properly.

The spiritual leader that one sits under should be carefully considered. We are, after all, trusting the state of our eternal souls to their teachings. Are they really trustworthy and educated enough to warrant such trust?  Would we trust Doctors or Lawyers who are not fully educated in their respective field? Then why are we trusting undereducated Spiritual Leaders? Maybe it is time to hit the books on our own. Check out our Bibliography, most of it is links to wonderful old theology books that are free on the internet.

These rules have three main methods.

  • The Historical Grammatical method seeks to find the original intent of a passage. This method has been the standard historical protestant method that most protestant leaders used for the last 400 years.
  • The Revealed method seeks to find the “fuller meaning” of a passage. Believing that the Biblical authors could not and did not foresee all that was intended, this is called sensus plenior. This is all well and good if one has done the heavy lifting of figuring out the historical grammatical context first. Other wise this method becomes the playground of charlatans and hoaxers. These teachers are as magician’s pulling mysteries from their bags of vivid imagination. They start their soliloquies with “I think” “I believe” and end with “we should therefore”.
  • The Rational method seeks to find the individual inspiration of the writers. Although the word “rational” makes one think that what is being taught is somehow scientific, this method begets all manner of nonsense. This comes down to putting your beliefs on to some else thoughts. These teachers do not as a rule believe that the Bible was written by the authors ascribed to them nor at the time that they are said to have been written. This makes the whole or parts of the Bible a complete fable.

Theology, Doctrine and Dogma

in it’s most literal sense is “the science of God” or “the study of God.” It used to be considered the”Queen of the Sciences.”

Within the realm of theology there are several subsets, Christology, Pneumatology, Anthropology, Hamartiology Soteriology, Angelology, and Eschatology.

All that is theology comes directly from the Bible, there is no other source. This is why the oldest rule of hermeneutics is:

Quod non est Biblicum, non est Theologicum
i.e. If the quote is not from the Bible, it is not theology.

Doctrine comes from the Latin doctrina which means to teach. These are the beliefs one derives from theology. (e.g. The word “Trinity” is doctrine and not theology.)

Dogma are the principles that a group operates under. In Christianity this come down to morals and behaviors, things like how one is baptized, what constitutes communion, and how traditions and holidays are to be observed. The dogma cannot be changed without changing the groups doctrine.

As Messianics we are often called heretics because our theology does not match some other group’s dogmas. They have chosen to denounce us, in order to justify what they are doing, as they have no theology to back their dogma. Many feel a need to hold on to one or more dogmas at all cost. This is because the dogma unbeknownst to them, has become the object of their worship. They simple cannot see their faith being valid without these practices.

Unicorns in the Bible

501px-Flag_of_the_Unicorn_Pursuivant_of_Arms.svgThe King JamesVersion of the Bible translated ra’am as unicorn all nine times the word is used. [Num. 23:22; 24:8; Deut. 33:17; Job 39:9,10; Psa. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; and Isa. 34:7]

FYI: The King James Version a.k.a. KJV a.k.a. King James Bible a.k.a. the Holy Bible a.k.a. The Authorized Version a.k.a.  AV are all the same book.

Those who defend the KJV are adamant that this word is a rhinoceros, which in 1611 English would be a unicorn.  See Also: Is the word “unicorn” wrong in the King James Bible?  

However this does not stand up to close inspection of Hebrew grammar. In Hebrew there is the singular, the dual, and then the plural, so the plural is more than three. In the nine times ra’am is used there are only two that mention the horns, where the animal is in the singular, and both times the horns are in the dual.

God brings them out of Egypt; they have as it were the horns of the wild ox. Num. 23:22 Plural horns on plural animals

God brings him out of Egypt; he has as it were the horns of the wild ox, he shall eat up the nations his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces, and pierce them through with his arrows. Num. 24:8 No horns mentioned

His firstling bull has majesty, and his horns are the horns of a wild ox; with them he shall push the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth; such are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and such are the thousands of Manasseh.” Deut. 33:17 Dual horns

“Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your crib? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? Job 39:9 -10 No horns mentioned

Save me from the mouth of the lion, my afflicted soul from the horns of the wild oxen! Psa. 22:21 Dual horns

He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. Psa. 29:6 No horns mentioned

But thou hast exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; thou hast poured over me fresh oil. Psa. 92:10 One horn, but the horn is not the animal’s but is a symbolic reference to the man’s strength

Wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls. Their land shall be soaked with blood, and their soil made rich with fat. Is. 34:7 No horns mentioned 

No one is truly sure of what animal ra’am is meant to be. Modern translators have put in wild ox instead. For two reasons.

  • This animal’s horns are in the dual meaning two horns Deut. 33:17, Psa. 22:21.
  • This animal is listed with other bovines in Is. 34:7.

The odd verse here is the first one Num 23:22 where the animals are plural and the horns are plural however it is not the normal word for horn. In all the other verses the word for horn is keren however here it is to’afah which means a tower, or peak. [c.f. Job 22:25; Psa. 95.4]

So more than likely this is some untamed wild bovine. There are few animals that were as dangerous as wild bovine or Aurochs. They were the cattle our ancestors breed into all the useful cattle breads we have today. It is these animals that seem to be what the Bible is referring to and not a rhinoceros/unicorn. [See Also: Breeding Ancient Cattle Back from Extinction]

Because the King James Only people are so caught up in defending the KJV ad nauseam, they have missed that in Ps 22:21 the unicorn is a reference to the children of Israel and that it is they that are afflicting the soul of Messiah. [See Also: Psalm 22:20-21]


The-Meeting-of-Abraham-and-Melchizedek-1625I was recently reading a short homily on Melchizedek in which the author stated “there is no record, either in secular history or elsewhere in the Bible, that there ever was such a city or earthly king.” This is just not true. One just has to know what they are looking for.

Biblical Sources

The first thing to understand is that Melchizedek is not a name but rather a title, King of Righteousness. It is said he was the King of Salem, or Shalom.

And Mel-chizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. Gen. 14:18

This uniformed preacher also stated, “Commentators mostly have assumed that Melchizedek was the chieftain of a small settlement of which we have no record, but this hardly does justice to the exalted descriptions of him in Scripture.” I cannot for the life of me figure out who “most commentators” are? When I want to know what most commentators think about a passage there are only two sources that one needs to look at, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, and The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Now Matthew Henry (1662-1714) was a brilliant man of God, a Welsh Non-Conformist i.e. Presbyterian who wrote an extremely useful commentary before the great age archeology began to shed more light on some of the more strange things in the Bible, so he misses some clarifying information. On the other side is the International Critical Commentary, which was written by a group of men in the late 19th to early 20th century. None of these men were believers. None of them believed the Bible was written by the people the Bible claims did that writing, or when tradition holds that these book were written. They were however brilliant linguist, and some of what they wrote is very useful. Both Matthew Henry and the International Critical Commentary make no claim to Melchizedek being the chieftain of a small settlement. Both of them state that the Rabbinic tradition holds that Melchizedek was Shem, and further the International Critical Commentary spends half a page on the Tel Amarna Tablets mentioning a place called Uru-Salem, and speculating that this might be the same place.

This person is avoiding the obvious information available because he wants to make the unsound point that Melchizedek is the pre-incarnate Messiah. In theological circles this is called “pushing the type.” In Typology for the type to be at a type it cannot be literal.

FYI: Typology is that which in the Old Testament shadows, prefigures, or elucidates something in the New Testament. In theological discussions of typology there is the type and antitype. The type is in the Old Testament as a historical event, or instruction that prefigures the antitype in the New Testament. As such it demonstrates the unity of both Old and New Testaments.


  • Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (type) and a prefigure of Messiah’s crucifixion (antitype). [Gen 22]
  • Joseph being rejected by his brothers (type), yet rules over them (antitype). [Gen 37, 42]
  • The entire sacrificial code of the temple (type) of Messiah’s atonement (antitype).
  • The birth of Isaiah’s son (type) and the birth of Messiah (antitype). [Is 7:14]
  • The books of The Song of Songs and Hosea are both consider typological of God’s relationship with his people. One is the faithful bride the other is the unfaithful whore.

The Bible gives very little information on the priest Melchizedek. His historical meeting with Abaham is in Gen. 14.  A vague typological prophecy is in Psalms 110, and that typology is explained in Heb. 5-7.

The prophecy or type is in the Psalms and the antitype or fulfillment is explained in Hebrews. Remember this a title not a name.

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psa. 110:4

. . . as he says also in another place, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.” Heb. 5:6

. . . being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Heb. 5:10

. . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Heb. 6:20

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; Heb. 7:1 

. . . for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. Heb. 7:10

Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? Heb. 7:11 

This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, Heb. 7:15 

For it is witnessed of him, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.” Heb. 7:17

Extra Biblical Sources

Despite this man’s claims, we know from historical sources his name was Shem the son of Noah.

Rabbinic literature unanimously identifies Melchizedek as Shem son of Noah (Targum Yonathan to Genesis chap. 14, Genesis Rabbah 46:7, Babylonian Talmud to Tractate Nedarim 32b). The Talmud Bavli attributes him (Shem and his beth din court of justice) as pioneers in banning prostitution (Avodah Zarah p. 36a).  This information came from Wikipedia, a secular source that is available to anyone with a computer.

Without going through a whole bunch of stuff from comparative religion books, I will cut to the chase. (the books are listed in the Bibliography under Comparative Religion/Paganism) All paganism contains the same shared history that all people shared prior to the languages being confused at the tower of Babel. There is always a memory of Adam and Eve, Noah  and the flood, and the tower building of Nimrod. The stories are often combined, twisted or folded over on each other. What was good become evil, and the evil becomes the good, e.g. the serpent’s giving the gift of knowledge freed us from the stingy evil god.

Adam is remembered as the god who ate his children. For by eating the fruit he brought death to all his descendants. He is the prototype of Molech, Kronos, and Saturn. Eve is the prototype of all mother goddesses, for she is the mother of us all. Noah’s flood is a universal story told in almost all languages and cultures, and Nimrod’s tower is where all this became religion instead of history.

The point of Nimrod’s tower was to push God away. The Polynesian version of the tale has Nimrod as the great Emancipator who through great effort raised the sky. This is because after the flood God seemed very near and very avenging. This became the sky and it was so close to the earth that men were forced to crawl on the ground. However the great Emancipator managed to lift it to the top of a rock then a tree and finally above the mountains. This freed men to stand up for themselves. The story of Atlas is of the same vain, lifting heaven on his shoulders. And so it is all over the world. The tower builder the man who put the heavens up where they belong is the great Emancipator.

Then the stories all agree that an evil god comes and kills the liberating god. Shem was the prototype of this god. He called together 72 judges i.e. a beth din and they found Nimrod guilty of apostasy. He was executed and his body cut into pieces and sent through out the world as a warning to all those who would be apostate.[c.f. Judg. 19:29; 1 Sam. 11:7] He is Typhon/Set in Egypt, Loki in Norse mythology, a bores tusk in Greek, Ogmius to the Celts etc. So if you know what to look for Melchizedek is everywhere.

As Shem lived 502 years after the flood. He had plenty of time to effect the world for truth. He was the King of Righteousness. This event forced paganism underground for a short time. Those who wished to continue what amounts to ancestor worship form secret societies a.k.a. mystery religions. Just as today these groups had passwords and rituals that made them feel separate and special.

Unfortunately the story goes on with a goddess putting all the pieces together in one way or another and impregnating herself with the corpse. She then brings forth a son that is the reincarnation of the dead father, and paganism is restored to the people. This bring back of paganism is also a universal story.

In Egypt, the Mother and the Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Horis.  In India they are Isi and Iswara,  in Asia, as Cybele and Deoius, in Pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer or Jupiter the boy,  in Greece she is Ceres the Great Mother with the babe at her breast, or as Irene the goddess of Peac, with the boy Plutus in her arms, in China, Shing Moo, is represented with a child in her arms, and last but not least the Madonna and Child.

So Shem lost the battle but was remember as the King of Shalom. The one who sought to maintain the peace between men and the One True God.


We need to be constantly vigilant that our spiritual leaders actually know what they are talking about. This little bit of nonsense will not cause a loss of salvation but other times they teach open heresy.

The Canon of Scripture

THE_FIRST_COUNCIL_OF_NICEACanon is the term used for the selected books that are considered sacred.

Recently while looking through a  pole on the Bible.  There were lots and lots of comments by many people who believe that at the Council of Nicea, the church hid from the people books that should have been in the Bible.  They went on and on about how the Council was corrupt, or evil, or stupid, and they conspired to silence these other books. This is just not true. Yes, the Council did make some really unfortunate decisions but the Canon wasn’t one of them.

These non-canonical books have never been hidden. They are just not in the Bible. They are in and always have been in all the major libraries of the Western World and they are now on the internet.

These books that were rejected were rejected for good reasons.  If you put together a group of average 6th graders they would have picked the very same books.  Go read them for yourself and let us know which ones you think were wrongly left out.

Early Christian Writings

Early Jewish Writings