Psalm 66:8 – 20
Acts 17:22 – 31
1 Peter 3: 13 – 22
John 14: 15 – 21
You are My witnesses, says the LORD,
and My servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe Me
and understand that I AM He.
Before Me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after Me.
I, I AM the LORD,
and besides Me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are My witnesses, says the LORD.
- Isaiah 43: 10 – 12
Last evening in our Isaiah Bible study, we worked for awhile on these verses.
Before I continue with the main point of my article, some of you might possibly be interested in some technical points about copying the Bible in English.
First, you may notice that usually, when I re-print Bible verses, I capitalize all of the pronouns for God, as in this example:
“You are My witnesses....”
I do this to remind the reader that we are dealing with the Most High God and not any other being. I feel that this is especially important with gendered pronouns like “He” and “His,” because God is not a man. God is God. God is also not a woman. However, I shy away from using “She” a lot when referring to God, for this reason: there is a very long tradition of choosing masculine pronouns for God when one must choose, and choosing the feminine pronouns is more likely to send the reader down unhelpful bunny-trails of controversy about feminism in a moment when we ought to simply focus on what God is saying or doing. So if you see “He” in the middle of a sentence, you might be reminded that it is God we are talking about and not some mortal man. And if you see “god” in the middle of a sentence instead of “God,” it means that we are talking about some being that people worship which is NOT the God of Abraham and Moses and Jesus. Not all versions of the Bible follow this practice, but I try to do it when I copy Scripture, to keep God’s singular identity in the front of my attention.
Second, you may notice how these three words are different from each other: “lord,” “Lord,” and “LORD.”
When it is not capitalized at all, “lord” refers to someone’s master or ruler, such as a slave’s owner (from the slave’s point of view) or a nobleman (from a “commoner’s” perspective).
If you see “Lord” in the middle of a sentence with only the first letter capitalized, and it doesn’t have a human being’s name right there with it, such as “Lord Mountbatten,” it refers to Jesus or God the Father. In the Old Testament, this is how we translate the title for God as the Master or Ruler of all, the Hebrew word Adonai. In the New Testament, this is how we translate the Greek word Kyrios. In both Hebrew and Greek, translators have to study carefully to figure out whether the ancient writers were referring to God or to some other being— then they decide whether to capitalize “Lord.”
Finally, “LORD” is how English language Bibles show the sacred Hebrew Name that Almighty God revealed to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3). Moses asked, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM." He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” In Hebrew this sacred Name, which in this one very special text is given as “I AM WHO I AM,” is spelled using four Hebrew letters similar to our Y-H-W-H. Jews understand that this is the sacred Name which nobody should use except with deep reverence and worship. And in our English Bibles we show this special, sacred name for God as “LORD.” You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Oh, yeah— there was a point that I was trying to get around to ! Here it is: Only God is God.
Many things may distract us, including the English language, or gender, or geeky people like me who get all excited about weird little details, but God calls us back to Godself, to become better witnesses to the world for God’s sake.
Always be ready to make your defense
to anyone who demands from you
an accounting for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and reverence.
- 1 Peter 3:15-16