“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. They said to him, “Yes.” Then he said to them, “Therefore, every legal expert who has been trained as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest” (Matthew 13:51-52, Common English Bible).
I have many Bibles. I really don’t even know how many I have. I have two, however, that I really enjoy using these days (and yes, I have an electronic like the one in the pic above, but it isn’t one I use all that often). One is a pretty old King James Bible. The other is a very new Common English Study Bible.
I like both, but for very different reasons. The new Bible, The Common English Study Bible, I like because this new translation is easy to understand. Because it is a study Bible it also has many different study aids in its pages. When I am involved with a Bible study, it is my go-to Bible. I don’t use it for preaching because, being a study Bible, it is big and bulky. I have others I use for that. But sitting in my study, far more often than not, this is the Bible I use to study.
That old Bible, is a regular King James Bible. There are no study aids. It’s one advantage is, it has large print (another reason I don’t use my Common English Study Bible for preaching). When I am reading during worship I love having the large print.
I am not generally a big fan of King James but I do realize that many people love to hear its words and beyond that there are passages that when read, people want to hear from King James. Whenever I am going to preach the birth story from Luke 2 or Psalm 23, as well as a few others, this Bible is my go-to Bible.
Those aren’t the biggest reason I like that old King James Bible. I love this particular Bible because it once belonged to my great-grandmother. Though she never knew me as a preacher, I feel pretty sure that it would please her that I use her old Bible in worship from time to time.
In the lesson today Jesus asks the disciples if they understood what he was teaching. They responded that they did. And then I think Jesus is giving them an instruction to be ready with both the old and the new. While the Scriptures themselves and the meanings behind them do not change, sometimes we need to change the way we present them.
These Bibles are a good example. For a long time, King James was the English Bible. To some people, it still is. I am not one of those people. We don’t speak in the same ways today that people did in 1611 when the King James Bible was first published. I encounter many people on a daily basis who find the King James version very difficult to understand. They want something they can truly understand.
The point is, there are times and places for both the old and the new. I do read most weeks from a Common English Bible, just not that new study Bible. Sometimes I read from New Revised Standard or New International. Sometimes I think my best approach is to break out my great-grandmother’s King James Bible.
It is the same Bible. It is just presented in different ways. If we are to faithfully live out our calling to make disciples, we need to be prepared to use both the old and the new to shine light on the eternal truths of Holy Scripture.
Can you find truth in the old and the new?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved