This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Understanding the Bible

One of the things that my family, the Puritans, insisted on was to be able to understand their faith. And that meant that their church services were conducted in their native language, not Latin. And their Bible was, too.

As a Protestant, it's difficult for me to imagine a world of Priests, services in Latin, and a Bible that only the clergy could read, because it was written in Latin. But this is how Christianity was for most of its history. The common folk just attended and sat there watching something that must have seemed mystical, and mysterious.

The real beginning of Protestantism began with the first translation of the Bible from Latin to a language that ordinary people could read, in their native language. In 1611, it was translated into English by King James of England. And if you understand why that is so important, you understand Protestantism.

Unfortunately, in my life I have met many people who treat the Bible as if it were song lyrics that they don't understand, just singing along. When I was a kid, I wanted to know what "begotten" meant. I was lucky enough to have some cool youth ministers at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, who helped me along. My first Bible was the most current translation of The King James Bible, which had been updated in 1952 and included the new discoveries of The Dead Sea Scrolls.

Another Bible that was new when I was a kid was a modern-language translation of The New Testament, called "Good News for Modern Man". I think that some of the older members of the church considered this something of an abomination, and a break from tradition. But they are so wrong. Protestants believe in experiencing The Word of God for themselves, and that has always meant being able to read it in a language that they understand. If you are reading a translation of The Bible from 1611, unless you are a scholar of old English, much of it sounds like gibberish. Go get a new translation, stop quoting the Bible as if it were song lyrics, and you will begin to hear the voice of God speaking directly to you.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him will never die, but will have eternal life.

No need for the word "begotten", which just meant being born. These are not song lyrics, this is the Word of God.
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