James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (NKJV)
I’m working on the New Modern Enlightened Global Translation. Maybe you can help me decide which version of this passage to use.
The Christian Psychology version:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God which Christian psychologist to get therapy from, because all truth is God’s Truth and the mental health industry will give it to you generously. But don’t ask them for help if you doubt they are the answer, doubt they are Biblical or doubt they are “science” because the person who doubts modern psychotherapy is seen as unstable and uneducated. In fact, to question psychotherapy is indication of mental illness. Let not that man think he will increase his self esteem and love himself more for the Lord cannot give love to those who haven’t learned to love themselves; this man is bipolar and in need of psychotropic pharmaceuticals and years of wisdom producing therapy.”
The Prosperity Gospel version:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, use positive confession to claim it and God will be forced to obey the spiritual laws that govern even the unsaved; He will give you the wisdom to proclaim abundance and favor. Let him ask in faith because your faith is the key; faith is a creative force spoken from the mouths of little gods who command angels to do their bidding. Let him not doubt because that is a negative confession and negative confessions show a lack of faith and a lack of wisdom. Let not that man suppose he will receive anything from God if he does not believe his words have the power to create present reality for that man lacks faith and God will not honor his negative words.”
The Seeker Friendly version:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, that’s okay. We love you and accept you the way you are. Your lack of wisdom will never be brought up and if you do feel like you need wisdom, we’ll have private support groups available where all the members are wisdom-lackers. God, as you see Him, will give you the wisdom you deserve but remember, it’s not your fault. You are still a valuable, unique person and God has a purpose for you. Don’t feel bad about lacking wisdom, it happens to everyone and unlike the old judgmental type of Christianity, we don’t think lacking wisdom is some sort of flaw that needs correcting. Let not that man think the Lord requires you to have wisdom, He loves you just as you are and He has His best waiting for you.”
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Sound ridiculous? It would be funny were it not based in the truth of what is being passed off as Bible teaching today. The Bible is being massaged and twisted to fit the various marketing approaches that are supposed to be improvements of the straightforward message of Scripture.
Okay, what about this simple-minded, unenlightened version:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Was there something hard to understand there? Was anything unclear? Did God leave lots of blanks to be filled in by human experts? Let’s recap:
- If you lack wisdom, ask God for some
- A lack of wisdom is a flaw and shortcoming to be corrected
- God will give it generously if you ask in faith, that is, believing that God will give it
- If you doubt, you are unstable, inconsistent, directionless and easily influenced by everything that comes along
- People like that will not receive anything from the Lord including wisdom
Call me a simpleton, but I’ll take that last version. Especially the part about ask God for wisdom, and He will give it. I need all I can get.
Lord God, I need wisdom, please give it to me generously. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?