Like most people, Jenny and I watched a church service on YouTube today. The message was a good one, with good exposition and good application. Whist preaching, the speaker said: “And Adam ate from the apple”.
This is a common mistake people often make. I remember in our Children’s Church, the leaders would speak of “The banana” in a humorous way.
The Bible says:
Ge 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Then we read:
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Although these two passages explain the probationary commandment God gave to Adam, leading up to and including the act of sin that affects all mankind, notice that it never speaks of an “apple”. It speaks of “tree” and “fruit”.
Another common error or misuse of the Bible is when people say that “Money is the root of all evil”. You might hear this on radio quite often, and at times even Christians say this.
But the Bible says:
1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
The Bible does not say: “Money is the root of all evil” but “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.
Maybe you can see now why I speak about the “apple” when it ought to be “fruit”. You see, accuracy makes a huge difference because the main lesson of the Genesis 2-3 passages is the introduction of sin that the Reformers labelled Total Depravity (meaning that every aspect of man is affected by sin). Paul explains it like this:
Ro 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
“Apple” puts a cheap view on such an important doctrine that leads to the need of a Saviour (Jesus) to deliver man from sin and rebellion. And as soon as one replaces “fruit” with “apple”, it is easy to distort other Scriptures to suit one’s intension … such as “money is” instead of “the love of money is”.
Here we have two examples of how Scripture can be distorted to great depth in such slight ways.
When the Bible says, “Your word is truth”, Jesus in prayer to the Father is saying the Father’s Word is Truth; His Word is all Scripture which is His Will, and that is Truth.
When Paul writes, “All Scripture is God-breathed”, he speaks of all the Bible being “out-breathed” by God.
Lastly, when Peter says, “You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”, he means that all of the Bible is given by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, it is not right for anyone to manipulate or distort or change the Bible to make it say or imply anything that it does not say or imply. In fact, that is a grave sin.
Lord, help me to use the Bible correctly for Christ sake. Amen.