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Sermon Notes

The Bible (3) - Questions

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How's your reading of the Essential 100 going (or whatever Bible reading you are doing)? What have you discovered about the Bible and about yourself reading the Bible on a daily basis?


Acts 2:1-6, 12
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
 And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

What does God think about getting the Good News in the language of the people? Why is the New Testament written in Koine Greek?

Why did St. Jerome translate the Bible from Greek to Latin in AD 400? Why is it called the Vulgate?

The institution of the medieval church prohibited the translation of the Bible into the common language of the people. They feared two things: 1) the spread of heresy and 2) the loss of the church's authority and power. Should the church fear these things? What might have been a better way to proceed for the church? Why didn't they?

Into this situation steps John Wycliffe. He translates the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into Old English (which was common English back then!)

The church authorities respond ...

By this translation, the Scriptures have become vulgar, and they are more available to lay, and even to women who can read, than they were to learned scholars, who have a high intelligence. So the pearl of the gospel is scattered and trodden underfoot by swine.

John Wycliffe responds back ...

I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do. 
Englishmen learn Christ's law best in English. Moses heard God's law in his own tongue; so did Christ's apostles.

Once again, how could the church NOT celebrate John Wycliffe's passion of getting the Scriptures in the language of the people? Where did the church's selfish fears lead them?

Not all translations are the same. For example, consider these 3 famous translations of Matthew 4:17.


St. Jerome's Vulgate Translation 
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance (dicere paenitentiam), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
John Wycliffe's Translation from the Vulgate
Fro that tyme Jhesus bigan to preche, and seie, Do ye penaunce, for the kyngdom of heuenes schal come niy.
(From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Do ye penance, for the kingdom of heaven shall come nigh.)
William Tyndale's Translation from the Greek
From yt tyme Iesus begane to preache and to saye: repet for ye kigdome of heve is at hode.
(From that time Jesus began to preach and to say: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.)

How is doing penance and repenting both the same and different? See the distinctions below.


  • Between you and God through the church
  • Something you do to deserve forgiveness


  • Between you and God
  • The despair of being able to do anything to deserve forgiveness

Have you participated in the Catholic Sacrament of Penance? Do these distinctions hold up to your experience and understand of doing penance? Why did the Reformers stress repentance over against doing penance? Do you consider this an important emphasis and shift?

Repentance can be broken down to these elements:

  1. Let the Holy Spirit convict you of your sin and guilt
  2. Give up trying to earn or deserve forgiveness
  3. Apologize for your sin and rebellion
  4. Ask God for forgiveness and the power to change

Why is each element both Biblical and important?

Pastor Karl concluded with these 3 points:

  1. Be grateful that you have a Bible in your pocket and in your native tongue
  2. Be diligent in your personal reading, study and applying of Scripture
  3. Be aware of the power of Bible translations for both good and bad

Which of the 3 conclusions do you need to work on?

How can your group pray for you?

Karl House