Very happy and grateful to report I’m only a day away now from getting on a non-stop United flight to LaGuardia for five days in the Big Apple! It will be my first time back in almost two years.

 

What I will savor the most is seeing some old friends, co-workers and neighbors. I sure do miss the city and occasionally still dream about it at night. I’m glad I’m a Chicagoan again but there’s an awful lot about NYC that tugs at my heart. Like the Art Garfunkel song goes:

 

New York, to that tall skyline I come, flyin' in from London to your door
New York, lookin' down on Central Park
Where they say you should not wander after dark

New York, like a scene from all those movies
But you're real enough to me, but there's a heart
A heart that lives in New York

A heart in New York, a rose on the street
I write my song to that city heartbeat
  

 

******

 

Jordan gave an excellent series of studies on the King James Bible over the weekend at a family conference in Florida. Super-grateful I was able to listen live via the internet. It was just what the doctor ordered! Here is the first of a new series I will write (and, never fear, I plan to get back to the “fallen angels” series upon my return to Chi-town on Monday):

 

The Apocrypha is within the pages of the original King James Bible but it is identified as Apocrypha. It was deliberately placed between Malachi (the end of the Old Testament) and Matthew (the beginning of the New Testament) as a free-standing study aid, not Scripture.

 

“The problem with the Apocrypha as a Roman Catholic text and part of their bible, and the Sinaiticus and those manuscripts, they have it as an (official) part of the Old Testament,” says Jordan. “Does the Bible in your lap have a concordance in it? Well, is that concordance a part of your Bible? It’s between the covers isn’t it?

 

“So, you see, in one sense my Bible has a concordance in it. But my Bible doesn’t! It’s a study aid that came along with my Bible. And that’s exactly what the Apocrypha was originally. About the mid-1600s they quit putting it in. Up to that point all Protestant and Catholic bibles had it, but the Protestant bibles put it as a separate entity, not as a part of the text.

 

“So people who want to tell you that the King James Bible originally had the Apocrypha in it, well it is true that it was between the covers. They did translate it. But they never put it as a part of the Bible text. They always said it was separate, recognizing that it was not Scripture, identifying it as Apocrypha under the heading and listed it separately.

 

“Now, that kind of information, kind of a half-thing, half-not . . . I say that to you so you understand you need to get some understanding of what’s going on so that when people throw all this stuff at you you’ve got some kind of ability to respond.

 

“Never think that the other side of an opinion doesn’t have good arguments. If you think the only good arguments are your arguments, then when you hear good arguments from the other side you’re going to say. ‘Whoa, hey, they got a good idea there.’ Not!

 

“There are good arguments on both sides of this issue. The question is how do you understand; how do you find the truth in the matter? How do you come to the place where you decide which is right and which is wrong?

 

“That’s why we started this study, ‘What are we looking for?!’ Because no matter how good the argument is, if you’re not looking for the right thing, your arguments aren’t on point. So, are we looking for words on the page that God wrote down and are preserved through history that contain His Word, or are we just looking for a message? A general idea of what He said? Is that the issue?

 

“And that’s really the two arguments of the two different camps. The fundamental basic thing that you have to grasp.”

 

******

 

Looking at the history of the Bible, Jordan calls it “the tale of two cities.” Antioch vs. Alexandria.

As Paul writes in Acts 11:26, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Jordan says, “I heard the dude up in Atlanta, Chuck Stanley, on the TV some time ago say, ‘Abraham was a great Christian!’ I thought ‘Chuck, you ought not talk like that. That’s just dumb talk and he knows better but, you know, you just kind of talk down to the lowest common denominator of your audience.

“They weren’t called Christians at Jerusalem and at Pentecost and in the Old Testament. The first time the name Christian was assigned to the disciples and to the followers of Christ was at Antioch.”

Acts 13:1 says, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”

Jordan explains, “That was the church out of which the Apostle Paul’s apostolic ministry sprung up and it’s the basis of the operation from which his ministry expands. Antioch, through the first three centuries, was a powerful Bible center, a community of Bible-teaching, Bible-believing, Bible-centered activity and Paul’s basic missionary-ministry model is exemplified from Antioch.

 

“Now there’s another town at that time that was interested in the Bible. Acts 18:24 says, And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.’

 

“There was an interest in the Word of God at Alexandria. Alexandria, which is in Egypt on the Nile basin, was founded by Alexander the Great in the 3rd Century B.C.  It had one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the great lighthouse. But, more importantly, it had a great library with between 500,000 to 700,000 book volumes and was a great center of scholarship.

 

“It was the second largest city in the Roman Empire at the time of the writing of Acts and was the second largest city in the Western world. It was a center of great intellectual fervor and activity. It was the place that spawned the Septuagint legend that says a bunch of Jewish rabbinical scholars got together and translated the Old Testament into Greek.

 

“Now the authority to believe that (bunk) is a letter written by a guy who everybody says is a forgery. You read this stuff and you say, ‘Jay Leno couldn’t be this funny!’ People to this day agree to base all of their belief about the Old Testament text on a translation, the LXX Septuagint, that everybody agrees the story of how it came about is a hoax.

 

“Now I couldn’t sell you a glass of water on a hot day with that kind of a story but people say, ‘Well, the LXX. . . ’ Was there a Greek translation of the Old Testament? You bet your bottom dollar there was. Did it occur the way they say it did? Don’t bet your bottom dollar.  But the point is Alexandria was a place where this was supposed to happen because it was an intellectual center of curiosity.

 

 *****

 

As Acts 18:25 goes on to reveal that Apollos “was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

 

Jordan says, “Apollos was eloquent, well-educated and knew how to communicate and was mighty in the Scriptures. You see, there was an interest in the Word of God at Alexandria. This man was instructed in the way of Lord, being fervent and teaching diligently, but what was Apollos’ big problem? He’s a teeny-bit out of date dispensationally. He’s only teaching the baptism of John! Well, there’s a whole lot of things that have happened since the baptism of John!

 

“For example, Christ has shown up. He went to the Cross, He died and was resurrected and ascended back into heaven, the Holy Spirit’s come. The next chapter you see some more of these guys—they don’t even know the Holy Spirit’s been given yet!

 

“Now, in  my mind, it’s kind of hard to relate…how could you be that unplugged that many years after this stuff’s happened?! I don’t know; maybe the guy’s just been in the library studying or something.

 

“My point to you is there is real interest in Scripture in Alexandria but they’re really not interested in and have no concept of dispensational bible study. If you don’t understand the Word of God dispensationally, you don’t understand God’s Word.

 

“And if you don’t understand God’s Word, then your ability to function successfully in being ‘the pillar and the ground of the truth’ is going to be hampered. In fact, it’s going to be undermined.

 

(Editor’s note: To be continued and will write travelogue updates from NYC . . .)