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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[12. Concordance - Part 1]
This is the 12. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."
by Frank L. Preuss
Bibles often have a concordance at the end. It is an index that lists words and gives the scripture reference where that word can be found. But concordances also come as separate books. A concordance is a collection of words - of words that occur in the Bible. These words are listed in alphabetical order. After each word that is listed, the scripture references in which that word occurs are given. Part of that scripture might be given as well, so that I might recognize a scripture I am looking for immediately. A concordance therefore is a Bible help book that helps me to find a scripture of which I am not sure how it really is worded and where it is located in the Bible.
I might know a scripture but I do not know in which book of the Bible it is and I want to find out in which book, which chapter and verse, this scripture is and what it exactly says.
Let us take an example. I have something in mind that goes perhaps like this: "They think that godliness is a means of financial gain." But I cannot remember where in the Bible I can find it and what the correct wording is. I take a concordance and look for one of the words that I think is contained in the scripture. A concordance works like a dictionary; all the words are listed according to the alphabet: all the words of the Bible are listed in alphabetical sequence and I take the most uncommon word and look it up in the concordance. The word that is probable not very often appearing in the Bible is "godliness" and I therefore start with this word "godliness" and look it up in a concordance.
I am using Strong's Concordance because it is a complete concordance and always lists all occurrences of a word. Every time a word occurs in the Bible, the scriptures reference of the scripture in which this word occurs is listed below the key word. To use a complete concordance has advantages. One is that I can find out if a word is at all in the Bible. If the concordance is not a complete one, then I don't know if it is a word that is not in the Bible or if the compiler of that concordance just did not include it, because he might have thought that it is not an important word. With a complete concordance I can therefore check if a word is in the Bible in the first place. Take for example the word "trinity" or "Trinity" and look for it in a complete concordance and you will not find it, because it is a religious word created by theologians, but it is not part of the Word of God.
And that is a very good purpose and reason for using a concordance, especially a complete concordance: to check up on the religious people who want to deceive us, who are creating religious terms to empower their system and to kill the community of the real believers. What do they achieve with the creation of a word "trinity"? They want to create a god - a god head - on the one side and a body of people on the other side. It is a creation of a separation existing between God and his people. And the next step of course is them appearing in between these two: the clergy that has to be used to communicate between the two - and gain power and income - the clergy between God and man. By coming up with the term trinity they want to create the impression that the son is something that has nothing to with us, but that the son is part of God and separate from us. And this of course defeats the whole purpose of Jesus - of his coming to earth. Jesus whole stay on this planet was to demonstrate that he is one of us, that we are his brothers and sisters, that there is no separation between God and man, that there is unity. That we all may be one; as God is in Jesus, and Jesus in God, that we also may be one in God and Jesus (John 17:21): That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The idea behind the creation of the word trinity defeats the basic teaching of Jesus, of the person who brings salvation - salvation from separation - salvation from separation between God and man. That was what the fall was all about: the separation of men from God. Man forgot that he is one with God - that he is a god. "You are gods," says Jesus in John 10:34 and therefore refers to Psalm 82:6: "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." That is what upsets every cleric, it makes them unnecessary. We are children of the most High and we are therefore gods - and don't need any cleric. We have realized that this separation was just in our mind; in reality it never existed. And having woken up to this we are free and we are gods. And when we are gods then we are delivered from everything, from spiritual death, from thickness, from poverty, from any lack. This realisation will be the real salvation. The Jews wanted to stone Jesus because they claimed that Jesus had committed blasphemy and that he was just a mere man but claimed to be God. And Jesus turned around and told them that they themselves were gods (John 10:33-34). That is too much for many to take. Jesus tells us in John 10:35 that we, to whom the word of God came, are gods and that the Scripture cannot be broken. That is too much for many - it places the responsibility for their life in their own hands. Jesus calls us his brothers and his sisters (Matthew 12:50) and if Jesus is God then we are gods.
When the Jesus talks about the Son of God then he talks about a Sonship that includes him and all of us; for Jesus there is an inclusion of all of us as part of God's one Son; he sees his sameness with us. And when the clerics talk about Jesus then we are of course excluded; their traditional Christianity excludes everybody but Jesus - they don't want us to belong to God's Sonship.
Now follows an announcment coming to us via Bertha Dudde:
The teaching of the trinity of God.
11. November 1948. B.D. NR. 4484.
You have the gift of being able to use your intellect, and are to also use this gift. In earthly respect life forces you to do it, and you follow this compulsion without reluctance. It is for you a matter of course that you think about everything what comes in touch with you, that you research and ponder and therefore intellectually enrich yourselves of earthly knowledge. But little or not at all you use the intellect to acquire spiritual knowledge for yourselves out of inner drive. You certainly let yourselves be brought to you such from outside and accept it, without having activated your intellect, without checking or to think about it. You do not ponder over it with the mind, and therefore you make no use of it, or you abuse it, by letting it become active to completely wrong deductions, because you accept received spiritual material without examination. He, who gave you the intellect, also calls you to account thereon, how you have used it. Innumerable men walk along in error, because they do not think about teachings, which should cause them to examination, because they are simply unacceptable in that form, as they are offered to men.
You indeed reject every examination with the reference that you as man are not able to pass right judgement, and are right insofar that your intellect alone is not sufficient for it. But again and again it must be set against it that the enlightenment through the spirit can be requested at any time and also must be requested, to solve most difficult problems truthfully, and that God will never refuse his help to the seriously wanting person. And so it is also possible to man, to acquire enlightenment to questions, which the intellect alone cannot answer. But the more it is necessary to then ask God for support, when man himself feels unable to judge right. This is more advisable than to accept teachings, which appear to man to be difficult to accept, because what a man wants to support as truth, that must also be explained to him completely, why the instructions from above are supplied to earth continuously, which bring light into the darkness of spirit. And it is dark everywhere, where truth is driven out or veiled, where wrong doctrines are spread and are supported by men as truth. And this darkness is to be broken through by light – lie and error are to be driven out by truth; it is to be uncovered where men are instructed wrongly, because only truth leads to eternal life and because only truth is divine, but wrong doctrines oppose God.
And so it is necessary to illuminate a teaching, confused and completely deformed by the enemy of souls, which has gained entrance among men, and indeed therefore, because these do not use the gift of the intellect and accepted without examination, what was offered to them: the teaching of the trinity of God. This teaching is completely incomprehensible, i.e., not to be grasped and to be comprehended intellectually; it is an explanation of the eternal divinity, which for that reason is unacceptable, because it is absurd, therefore man, if he declares his support for it, is no longer allowed to think, or, if he thinks about it, cannot declare his support for it.
(12.11.1948) Wanting to bring the eternal divinity into a closely limited form is a sign of imperfection of men, who accept this teaching. Every form is a closely limited idea, but the nature of God is unlimited, because it is something extremely perfect. So something utmost perfect is also not devisable, because perfection is a state of the spiritual, but something spiritual can never experience a tri-partition – therefore one can never speak of a tri-personal God, because that is an unthinkable idea, which leads to completely wrong opinions about the nature of God.
God father – God son – and God holy spirit – these ideas do not justify the assumption that three persons unite themselves as eternal divinity, therefore these three form one God, whereas the entity of God can be made comprehensible to men through these three ideas , when "father" as love, "son" as wisdom and "spirit" as power are explained. And this is also the alone right explanation, on which the teaching of the trinity of God is based, however in wrong interpretation the incorrect teaching had come into being in the lack of understanding of it, that three persons are contained in one divinity. The spirit of God, the partial idea of the entity of God, is never to be personified; according to human ideas it is not to be brought into a form; it is an infinite fullness of light and power, which is directed and used by an extremely strong love will. Light is God – power is God – and the love will is God – not one is without the other, all the divine includes this tri-ality in itself, it is the sign of perfection, so love, wisdom and power possess a being, and it has then become the image of God. But it is always only one being – no form, but something infinite, spiritual, which needs no form to be, and which would put all forms out of proportion, if these would not have spiritualized themselves before, that it can hold love, wisdom and power in fullness, without perishing.
Such a form was the man Jesus, who was chosen by God to be bearer of the whole fullness of love, wisdom and power, to serve men as conceivable divinity, so that they can believe in a being, which, standing in highest perfection, still stands in connection with imperfect men, his creatures. But this form was only earthly; as it were it was only at the disposal to those seeing with bodily eyes, because the spirit needs no form to still be able to be seen – the idea: father, son and holy spirit as three separate beings – even so under the addition: they are one – is misleading, because then men are in danger to make a separation, by them calling every person individually and in this way strengthening the awareness of three persons, therefore lose the right, truthful feeling for one God, to whom alone they are to turn in every earthly and spiritual trouble. Even the man Jesus, who walked on earth as individual being, to receive God in all fullness in himself, became one with him, to what his ascension attested, because the body had completely spiritualized itself and all substances could join the eternal divinity and consequently no longer two separate beings existed, which were perfect, (12.11.1948), but it was only one divinity, which was love, wisdom and power in highest perfection. God father, God son and his spirit, which fills the whole of infinity, through which everything is carried out, what his will determines. It is that being of eternal divinity, which is marked through these ideas father, son and holy spirit. Wisdom – the son – emerges from the father of love, the power flowing through all works what the father and the son decide. God is almighty and extremely wise and loving. This idea is more understandable and solves the problem of the tri-united divinity the most simple way, and only spiritual blind men cannot grasp or acknowledge this simple solution, because they are misled through spiritual blind leaders, who are unenlightened and also do not let themselves be instructed. Amen. B.D. NR. 4484.
So I go to Strong's Concordance and look up the word "godliness." I also could use Bible software and a computer to achieve this. When I find the word, I can see that it is in the Bible and that it occurs only a few times.
Only 15 times it occurs in the Bible and I can read through these 15 quotations and find out if the scripture I have in mind is listed there. I find something that sounds like the one I am looking for: "supposing that gain is g·: from such" The g· is an abbreviation of the key word in that section: "godliness." And next to this entrance I find the place in the Bible where it is: 1 Ti 6:5. I have used Strong's Concordance and that concordance is based on the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. So I take the KJV and look it up and find there under "The first epistle of Paul the apostle to Timothy," in chapter 6 verse 5 the whole text: "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
When I am using the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible and I go to that verse there (1 Timothy 6:5) I find: "and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." Now this comes already very close to what I remembered from that verse.
I could also have looked up the word "gain" in the concordance. I find there 30 entrances. And this is also still quite easy to find my scripture I am looking for.
I could also have looked for the word "think." There are 65 words listed in Strong's Concordance and it would take quite some time to go through all these quotations to find the one I am looking for. But I would not find it because the KJV does not use the word "think," it uses the word "supposing." Here would have helped a concordance which is based on the NIV.
So the concordance has helped me to find the scripture I am looking for and now I can read the exact text and study it in its context. And by doing so I am reminded of the command: "from such withdraw thyself." I reflect on this command and by doing so I want to see how the NIV puts this command and to my surprise I find that the NIV does not have this command. So I go to an interlinear Bible to check out what it says there and I find that all my interlinear Bibles have this part of the verse: "withdraw from such." This of course does not increase my confidence in the accuracy of Bible translations and I might start wondering why the one translation does not have this command and also why it does not explain in a foot note why it is missing. May be some translators do not like this command and so they just dropped it. May be they realized that they themselves were the ones the Bible was talking about and that people should withdraw from such.
As I am reading the scripture I notice that I have written two scripture references next to the text: Jeremiah 6:13 and Jeremiah 8:10. So I go to these two places and find the following: "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit."
This seems to be a prophecy that describes very well the situation the Christian church is in today: the leaders think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
So I used the concordance to find a scripture and I also used an interlinear Bible to check up further on that scripture. This is the most common occasion to use a concordance.
A concordance is also useful when I want to study a word. Let us say I am reading Revelation 2:6: "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." And now I want to find out more about the Nicolaitans. So I go to the concordance and look up the word "Nicolaitans" and I find that the section under Nicolaitans looks like this:
Re 2: 6 thou hatest the deeds of the N·, *3531
Re 2:15 that hold the doctrine of the N·, * "
The above information tells me that the word "Nicolaitans" appears two times in the Bible: in Revelation 2:6 and in Revelation 2:15.
At the beginning of the first line is the key word "Nicolaitanes" itself and in brackets follows the way I have to pronounce the word: nic-o-la'-i-tans. In the two lines underneath I find the scripture reference and part of the scripture itself. It is only a part of the whole verse, but it is so much that it allows me to recognize the verse I am looking for. The actual word "Nicolaitans" is not spelled out fully in order to save space, it just says N·, and stands for the whole word "Nicolaitans." At the right end I find a number, in this case it is 3531.
And this number is for both entrances the same number: 3531. Now at the end of Strong's Concordance is a Hebrew dictionary and a Greek dictionary. The Hebrew dictionary is for the words of the Old Testament and the Greek dictionary is for the words of the New Testament. And as the word "Nicolaitans" is a word from the New Testament, I go to the Greek dictionary in order to find out more about this word "Nicolaitans." By reading what it says under number 3531 and by going to the other words I am referred to there, I find out what the meaning of the word "Nicolaitans" is: The Nicolaitans are the ones who conquer (nikao) the people (laos) or the laity. The Nicolaitans are the clergy or the ones who start and run man-made churches. They are people who are in our midst and their intention is to form their own kingdoms. They want to conquer the people who come to our meetings; they want to be victorious over the people. Their intention is that of a conquest; they want to triumph - have victory - over the people. They are the ones whose deeds Jesus hates.
You might ask why was not the word "Nicolaitans" translated into the English language as well as all the other words. Why did the translators write "Nicolaitans" rather than "people conquerors" or something like this? May be the reason is that the people who translated the Bible are these "Nicolaitans" and they do not want to make it so easy for you to find out about them, so they like to obscure passages that refer to them and expose them. May be that is also the reason they dropped "from such withdraw thyself" in 1 Timothy 6:5.
Now in both verses where the Bible talks about the "Nicolaitans" it is Jesus speaking. He speaks to the angel of the church in Ephesus and Pergamum. He says that it is good to hate the deeds or with other words the practices that they do, he does not say that we have to hate them. We do not hate such people but we hate what they do. And because we love them, that is why we do something about their wrong deeds. Our action might be what we have been commanded in 1 Timothy 6:5 "from such withdraw thyself."
Now you might ask: "But a lot of these people preach the gospel, people get saved, even healed and delivered. They do God's work and you say, I must separate from them."
Let me show you a scripture that deals with this problem. It is Philippians 1:15-18:
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
When Paul here says that some preach Christ of contention - out of selfish ambition - then we are reminded of what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:5: "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness." To preach Christ out of selfish ambition is just expressing in other words what it says in 1 Timothy 6:5: "supposing that gain is godliness" - they want to get something for themselves out of it - they have selfish ambitions - they want to gain, financial gain.
So there might be bad motives behind the reason why people preach Christ. But we must not forget that God can be preached by things as well. God can use things - material things - to speak to us. All things are created by God and therefore point and lead to God. Brother Lawrence, from whom we have the book "The Practice of the Presence of God," was led to God by observing a bare tree in winter and as he saw the tree and contemplated on the fact that soon the leaves will return, he realized that it was God who caused this and was led to God. So God can use anything to point to him, he can even use the hypocrites to bring people to Jesus.
Think about the woman caught in adultery. Why did the teachers of the law and the Pharisees bring this woman to Jesus? They brought her "out of envy and strife," (Philippians 1:15) they did it "out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds" (Philippians 1:16). "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (Philippians 1:18). God can use every situation and turn it around.
So these hypocrites brought the adulterous woman to Jesus in order to stir up trouble for Jesus, they did it out of envy and rivalry, not sincerely but out of selfish ambition. And despite all these false motives there was an absolutely positive result: the woman got saved. She not only got saved from being stoned to death, she even got saved from all her sins and found eternal life - got saved from hell. How did she get saved? She got saved by confessing Jesus as Lord. She said "Lord" - she opened her mouth and confessed Jesus as her Lord. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10).
Imagine this woman brought to the temple by all these people who just hoped that they could stone her and cause Jesus total embarrassment. She was in agony of certain death. And then she had to hear her accusers referring to the law of Moses that demanded her being stoned. And these accusers kept on questioning Jesus, and Jesus was just writing in the sand. And then she heard the words of Jesus - words that showed her that nobody could actually throw the first stone at her. These words sounded like deliverance. And then she saw the results of these words: suddenly none of her accusers remained present - they all left. She was delivered. She was saved by Jesus. Jesus had saved her. And when her deliverer asked her a question she replied and told him the fact: that no one had remained. She said: "No man. Lord." She called Jesus her Lord. She confessed with her mouth "Jesus is Lord" and that caused her to believe and to get saved.
Now you might say your Bible does not say "No man, Lord," your Bible says "No one, sir." According to this Bible she did not use the word "Lord," she used the word "sir."
So let us check up on this. The KJV has the word "Lord" in John 8:11. We go to Strong's Concordance, we go to the word "Lord" and we go there to John 8:11 and find there that the word Lord has the number 2962. The whole line reads:
"John 8:11 She said, No man, L•. And Jesus 2962".
The number of the word that the KJV translates "Lord" in this verse is 2962. If you now go just to the next page you will find under the same entry "Lord" the scripture we used earlier, Romans 10:9. And there you find that the word number 2962 is used as well. So in the original Greek the same word is used in both scriptures. It is the Greek word "kurios." This we find out by going to the Greek dictionary. It shows us that the word number 2962 is the word "kurios."
The NIV however uses two different words for the Greek word "kurios." In John 8:11 it uses the word "sir" and in Romans 10:9 it uses the word "Lord." So the translators are confusing us, they give us the impression that the woman caught in adultery is not using the word "Lord" but the word "sir."
We used this report about the woman caught in adultery to show that God can use the hypocrites to bring a person to Jesus - to get her to confess Jesus as Lord and become a believer and get saved.
What is the principle of all this? What should guide our behaviour?
Jesus spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not (Matthew 23:1-3).
So if someone teaches the word of God we observe it. If there is a fault with the person teaching then we can't use that as an accuse not to observe the word of God.
In Philippians, in chapter 1 verses 9 to 11, we have Paul's prayer: "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (or, sense); That ye may approve (or, try) things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
We must try things that are excellent: discern what is best. May be there are many things that point to God, but we should use the ways that are best - that are excellent. This message is written so that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. When you and I abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight we will take the more excellent way to lead somebody to Christ. We will for example support the assembly of the real believers and not the man-made church because we know that the real church will be far more effective to deal with unbelievers as the man-made church will ever be. But even more important is that we ourselves "may be pure and blameless till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which come through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God," that we ourselves do what is best for us and not be deceived by hypocrites.
The Bible wants that we may be able to discern what is best. For this we had already two examples.
The first one is from Philippians 1:15-18. The best is the way Paul preaches the good news. The other way is the way of preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry, out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that trouble can be stirred up for the real believers, preaching Christ from false motives. It is a way - a possibility - but it is definitely not the best.
The second example is the report about the woman caught in adultery. There were people who acted for God but had false motives. It was a possible way, but it was not the best. The best would have been to bring that woman to Jesus and to do it with the right motives. The right way would have been to do it the way Andrew did it when he brought Peter to Jesus (John 1:41-42).
In both cases people are brought to God and despite false motives or despite the fact that people do not know or not take the best way, results are achieved. Now let us take a third example.
Sometime after the day of Pentecost a person comes to Jerusalem to find God. He could be send to the temple in order to sit among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. This seems to be an excellent way. Jesus went this way (Luke 2:46). But it is obvious to us today that that would definitely not be the best way. It would lead this person right from the beginning in the wrong direction. He would be guided to people who would probably even warn him of this new Jesus sect - he would end up becoming a hypocrite himself. The best way would be to send such a person to the upper room or to Solomon's porch to hear Peter preach. This would be the best for such a seeker.
Today we should have the real church and use this body of believers to spread the good news and we should not refer a seeker to a man-made church and get him on the wrong track right from the beginning. When we are hungry for a meal we go to a restaurant and do not try to collect a meal from the rubbish bins, because we might not get nourished properly, we might even get sick.
If a man goes to a man-made church, he will always be taught wrong doctrine, because it is a spiritual principle that they are carnal. They are not recognizing the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 and 11:29) and so he will be given food that might make him sick, make him sick spiritually but also physically (1 Corinthians 11:29-30). Sickness has directly something to do with belonging to a denomination. It is as if he eats food out of a dustbin. A wise man is hungry for truth, while the mocker feeds on trash (Proverbs 15:14).
In order to learn more about how to use a concordance we want to have a look at the word "church." The word "church" is actually a word that is used by religious people and does not really exist in the Bible. The original Greek word used there is "ekklesia" and means assembly and should be translated as such. It could be any assembly, a worldly one or a religious one. The proof is in the Bible itself and you can find it in chapter 19 of the book of Acts. You do not even have to have a knowledge of the Greek language to investigate that; you just need a concordance. There in three verses in Acts chapter 19 you can see that the word "ekklesia" is used for a worldly assembly and therefore the word "ekklesia" does not have a specific Christian meaning as the word "church" has in the use of the English language or the word "Kirche" in the use of the German language. The words "church" and "Kirche" have become specific religious words used only for Christian circumstances. But that is not the case with the word "ekklesia" as it is used in the Bible. It is just a normal word used for a gathering of people. The three verses in Acts 19 are: 32, 39 and 41. There it is used for a gathering of pagans in Ephesus. You can check that out by using a concordance. In Strong's Concordance James Strong has given every word a number and includes a dictionary based on these numbers. Strong's numbers are also used in other reference works. If you get an interlinear Bible, you should get one that uses Strong's numbers. Strong's Concordance is based on the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. You look up the two words "church" and "assembly." Then you find that the Greek word "ekklesia" is used every time the KJV writes "church," but that it is also used in the three verses I mentioned in Acts 19 where the KJV uses the word "assembly." But all these words have the same number: the number 1577. And when you then go to the end of the concordance - to the list of Greek words - then you find under the number 1577 the Greek word "ekklesia" and there at the end of the description of this word the use in the King James Version is listed as :-assembly, church. And that means that the greek word "ekklesia" is used in the King James Version (KJV) for two words: assembly and church. And when you go to these two words in the concordance then you have all words listed that are used for this word "ekklesia," because all words that have the number 1577 are the word "ekklesia." So the translators of the KJV are misleading us. They try to tell us that there is a word "church" in the Bible, by translating the Greek word "ekklesia" as the English word "church." But then they should have been consistent by translating it "church" every time it occurs. But that they could not do. In Acts 19 it would not make sense, because a heathen meeting is described. If they would have done it correctly they would have translated it every time with the English word "assembly," but they did not do it, because they wanted to create a religious word, the word "church."
You can also use an Interlinear Bible and check on this, without having to use a concordance. You look at the word assembly in the verses 32, 39 and 41 of Acts 19 and you will see that above the English word "assembly" the Greek word "ekklesia" is written every time. Then you go back a chapter, to Acts 18:22, and find the English word "assembly" or "church" and there you will also find the Greek word "ekklesia" written above. You can also go to Acts 20:17 and look for the English word "assembly" or "church", and you will find the same.
So the word "ekklesia" was misused to create the word "church" - to make a religion out of Christendom.
So the principle of the hypocrites is to distort the truth and they do this to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). So the translators of the KJV created the word "church" and their followers even took whole books out of the KJV. The Apocrypha, otherwise known as the Deuterocanonical Books, were part of the original King James Bible of 1611 and of the Revised Version of 1881-1894. If you buy a KJV today you will not find the Apocrypha in it, they took it out, but originally the Apocrypha was part of the KJV. There exists a book called "The Apocrypha." The full title is "The Apocrypha according to The Authorized Version." It is a little book containing only the books of the Apocrypha. I have never seen a King James Version of the Bible that contains the books of the Apocrypha, but there are other versions of the Bible that contain the Apocrypha. The Jerusalem Bible always includes the Apocrypha. Other versions might have it included; sometimes it is inserted between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
So it is a useful thing to have a concordance. There is even one where the words of Jesus are printed in red. A concordance is a very useful tool when we are studying the Bible. I will give you another example where religious people use religious words which actually do not exist in the Bible. If you go in the concordance to the word "apostle" then you find that the number is 652. And when you then go to the list of Greek words at the end of the concordance then you find there under the number 652 the Greek word "apostolos." And at the end again of this description of the number 652 you find the sign :- and after this sign the English words that are used for this word number 652 are listed and they are
:- apostle, messenger, he that is sent.
So there are three English words used for the Greek word "apostolos." They are
he that is sent.
And now go to the word messenger. And there you find that this word messenger, which also has the number 652, is used in Philippians 2:25 (messenger) and in 2 Corinthians 8:23 (messengers). But the Bible translators did not use the English word "apostle" there because the religious meaning they have given it is not appropriate there. Now go in the concordance to the word "sent" and you will find under John 13:16 the use of the word 652. John 13:16 reads, and these are the words of Jesus: "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him." I have quoted here the New International Version (NIV). In the KJV it does not read "nor is a messenger" but "neither he that is sent." But in the Greek original the Greek word "apostolos" is used and the translators translate it properly as "he that is sent" or "messenger." They should have done the same in all the other cases, but they did not do it. Instead they created the English word "apostle." And with that they created a religious word that is only used in the Christian religion and with that they helped create the Christian religion and showed that they did not understand that to follow Christ is not a religion and that religious words and religious rites, ceremonies, liturgies and rituals are not part of a life with Christ. To be a follower of Christ is not a religion. To be a Buddhist or a Moslem or a Hindu normally means to be part of a religion, and in this context to be a Christian also means to be part of a religion, but to be led by the spirit of the god who created the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them is not a religion. We do not have religious words. This is what separates us from the religions of this world. So we have to always remember that. And so it is probably the same with other religions: the people in them who are followers of the real teaching are genuine people and more likely to be real followers of Jesus than the ones in Christianity who say Lord, Lord, but do not do what the Lord tells them to do. So such people are more likely to be our brothers and sisters than the Christians who are just called Christians by name. In Matthews 7:15-23 Jesus teaches that not the people who only say Lord, Lord, are real Christians but the ones that do what he says.
If you follow the steps I have described above in using a concordance you will find that it is easy to use a concordance and that it is a very useful tool and helps a lot to get to know the Bible better. It is especially useful when one wants to find a list of all cases where a specific word is used in the Bible or to find all the places where a person is mentioned in the Bible.
Another advantage to use Strong's Concordance is that one can find all scriptures which contain a certain Hebrew word or a certain Greek word, since at the end of every entry of a word in the Hebrew as well as in the Greek dictionary is a list of all the different English words into which it was translated. When we take the Greek word with the number 1577 - "ekklesia" - for example, then we find, if we go to number 1577 in the Greek dictionary, that it was translated into the following two English words: "assembly" and "church." And when we then go to the main part of the concordance we can look up these two words there and can find all the entries in which the Greek word with the number 1577 was used for them. One can therefore extend an investigation into a Hebrew or Greek word to quite some length without having to have the knowledge of these two languages.
If you read the King James Version, you will find that it is an old English and sometimes difficult to understand, but we should have one because we need one when Strong's Concordance is used. When you for example want to know what the Greek word is for the word "messenger" in John 13:16 of the NIV then you will not find John 13:16 listed under "messenger" in Strong's Concordance because the KJV uses there the words "he that is sent." So it is in such cases necessary to first go into the KJV and see what word is used there and then go into the concordance. Each Greek word used in the Bible has got a number in Strong's Concordance and also every Hebrew word and several other Bible help books use the same numbers as Strong is using and that makes it even more useful.
Some interlinear Bibles have Strong's number above every word and therefore indicate which Hebrew or Greek word is used and we can look it up in Strong's dictionaries.
A concordance is a nice tool to check up on the use of the word apostle as a title because all the verses where the word apostle appears in the Bible are together in one place. So if you go to the word apostle in the concordance you can easily see that it is never used as a title - there is no "apostle Paul." The two words "apostle" and "Paul" appear mainly as follows: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Also when checking up on the word Apostle one could do without a concordance, by just using an interlinear Bible. Just look up the following scriptures in the interlinear Bible: Jn 13:16, 2Co 8:23, Php 2:25 and may be Col 1:1 and you will get an idea how varyingly the Greek word "apostolos" gets translated.
I want to give you an example how to use an interlinear Bible. Whenever I look at a Bible translation that is new to me, I look how they translate Acts 6:1. Some years ago when I was studying Acts 6:1, I noticed that some translations have added to the end of that verse the words "of food." This is for example the case in the NIV. But other translations, like for example the KJV, do not have the words "of food" at the end of that verse. So I wondered how I could find out what the original Greek text says. The solution to my question was the interlinear Bible. I opened it at Acts 6:1 and found that the words "of food" are not there. Years later I discussed this problem with a friend and we looked at Acts 6:1 in this person's Bible and found that in this Bible the words "of food" were also added. It was a New American Standard Bible and Acts 6:1 there looks like this:
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
When we were looking at this scripture in the New American Standard Bible we noticed, that the words "of food" were printed in italic type. So we tried to find out what that meant and found in the beginning of that Bible a section called "Explanation of General Format" and there stood: "Italics are used in the text to indicate words which are not found in the original Hebrew or Greek but implied by it." So there we had a confirmation: the words "of food" are not found in the original Greek. Religious Bible translators just added them and then claimed that these additions were implied by the original Greek. When you however study the context you will not find any such implication. Quite to the contrary you will find that the daily distribution (NIV) did not refer to food but to money. You find that in Acts 4:34-35. There it states that it was money they distributed:
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
So it is quite clear that it was not food that was brought and then distributed, it was money. Now why would Bible translators lead us in such a wrong direction? Because they are hypocrites - because if they would say that it was implied that money was distributed, people would start to think. People would read in the Bible that when the poor came to church, the church distributed money to them, but when the poor go to church today the church does not distribute money to them, the church does just the opposite, the church asks them for money - the church collects money from them.
Now this might not seem such a big problem to people in an affluent society but if you go to a situation where the priest insists that the money comes in and puts pressure on the people and they have to take away this money, from the money they try to live on, and it might be a big part of it, then you will realize what problem people have who are impressed by what others think of them and what other will think when they only give little or nothing. If they give what they think others expect of them, then the children will be without food. In well-to-do regions the behaviour of the man-made churches is quite despicable, but in poor areas it can become really a terror regime - a terrorist association.
The whole system of the man-made churches would be exposed, because remember that the most tangible way to asses a person or a group of people is to look at them and observe how they handle money, especially the money of other people. It is always the easiest method to find out about someone: watch his handling of money. If he wants money, he is a false prophet.
Now in Acts 4:36-37 it is again stated that it was money that was brought to the church, Barnabas brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet - or perhaps we should better say that he put it at the messenger's feet. Also in Acts 5:1-4 it was money that was brought, Ananias and Sapphira brought money. Three times the word money is used in these verses.
Now let us look for another confirmation. In Acts 6:2 it says:
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Now if you go to an interlinear Bible or to Strong's Concordance you will find that the last word in that verse, the word "table," has got the number 5132. And if you then go to the Greek dictionary, you will find that it is the Greek word "trapeza." If you then go to Luke 19:23 in the interlinear Bible, you will find that the same word "trapeza" is used for the English word "bank." Luke 19:23 reads:
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
So for the Greek word "trapeza" the English word "bank" is used here. That the Greek word "trapeza" has often something to do with money - with the handling of money - comes out very clearly in Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15 and John 2:15 where it is used for the tables of the money changers Jesus overturned. These tables of the money changers are the Greek word "trapeza" and therefore have the meaning of the English word "bank." So the same Greek word "trapeza" for that the English word "bank" is used in Luke 19:23 and for that also the English word "tables" of the money changers in the temple is used, is used in Acts 6:2 for the tables where the Seven served.
If you want to make a study of the Greek word "trapeza" then go to the Greek dictionary and look for the number 5132 and there look for the sign :- after which you will find several words - English words. For all these words listed the Greek word "trapeza" is sometimes used. To find out in which cases the word "trapeza" is used, you have to look up these words in the concordance and find the cases where the number 5132 is written behind the quotation. So these words behind the sign :- make it possible for you to search for all cases where this Greek word is used in the Bible.
Also in this case a check up with an interlinear Bible would be possible without the use of a concordance. One would just have to know the scriptures to look for.
So this study of Acts 6:1-2 has shown us the probably most significant difference between the man-made church and the real body of believers. The man-made church takes from the poor and the real body of Christ gives to the poor - like Christ did when he walked on this earth. Even a man like Barnabas the apostle - or rather Barnabas the messenger - a man who the clergyman of today would consider to be of the highest rank in the hierarchy of the clergy, did not collect from the poor, or let others collect, but sold a field he owned and brought the money and it was distributed. And today's clergyman is always busy taking up collections - asking for money. Where do you find any report in the Bible where Jesus took up a collection or where Paul took up a collection for his own ministry?
Just imagine a situation where today a bishop would sell his property to give the money from the sale to the poor. This would take quite some imagination.
The man-made "Christian" church does not sell a field and does not give the money to the poor, no, it is still today the biggest private landowner in the world.
This investigation of the first verses of Acts chapter 6 should however remind us of something else. The report about the election of the seven directs our view towards the importance of giving, especially of giving money and how we should give. When we give money to somebody - especially when we give it as a gift - should we be "full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). It is important that we use wisdom, that we believe, and know that we give the appropriate amount to the right person at the right time. And that we are at this guided by the Spirit and have some idea about the person, and the situation this person is in. That means for example that we must be sure that it is right to give to this person money in the first place. The giving of gifts is a good training ground to be guided by the spirit. We should avoid any form of regularity. If we give a person regularly money, we prompt that person to become dependent; he will become less dependent on himself and therefore on God. We should definitely avoid giving a person, or an organisation, amounts on a yearly or monthly basis. An extreme is when people in Germany give the tax man the name of the denomination they belong to and the "church-tax" is collected together with the income tax. Also the giving of the tithe should be avoided; it is an Old Testament thing. When we give we are led by the spirit. We use every gift we give to learn more about listening to our spirit. We do not allow ourselves to be influence by what we think other people might be thinking about us, or what they think about our action - or our inaction. Our motivation is completely based on scripture. We are guided by 2 Corinthians 8:3 and give when we are willing of ourselves - no one tells us to do it. We do it out of our own free will - on our own initiative. We do it because we want to do it and not because of nagging on someone's part. We share it of our own accord and we do it quite spontaneously and voluntarily - entirely on our own. The giving of money is an important matter. It is next after giving oneself continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4) and we need to apply wisdom and use our spirit. In case we have fallen into a routine of giving, we should get out of this immediately.
A concordance that is very selective and lists only a quite limited amount of scriptures can still be very useful. Several times I have mentioned a complete concordance and shown its advantages. But a complete concordance, as well as a concordance that might not be complete but is still a book on its own, has disadvantages and I want to give an example to demonstrate this. I was trying to find where in the Bible the verse is that goes something like this: Not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord. Now all the words that appear here are quite common words and I very soon discovered that the lists of all these words in the complete concordance were quite long and I would spend much time to find the verse I was looking for. Then I thought that this scripture is actually a quite well known scripture and I might find it in a not so comprehensive concordance like the ones that are sometimes attached to the end of a Bible. I had a look at such a Bible and searched for the word "might" and found there the desired verse immediately. It was Zechariah 4:6. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." This concordance with a limited number of entries proofed to be very helpful and it made it unnecessary for me to look for this verse with the help of a computer, where I would have to look for a phrase like for example "might nor by power" and if I would have made the mistake to use the word "or" instead of "nor," then I would probably not have been successful. So this condensed concordance was just ideal for this situation and brought a rapid result - faster than a computer.
So I encourage you to get a concordance and use it. It will be a good tool to help you to get to know the Bible better.
When you are serious about studying the word of God, then you are doing the best thing a person can do. You are doing what the people in Berea did. Acts 17:11: "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Let us be more noble and search the scriptures.
This is the end of "Concordance - Part 1."
This was Concordance - Part 1. Read also 49. Concordance - Part 2.
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