On Wednesday nights, I am preaching through the book of Acts using the King James Version. This is the second time I have done this. The first time was a few years ago in Mansfield Ohio at the church I pastored up there. This time I am pastoring the Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Hortense Georgia.
I am working off a clean slate. By that I mean, I am not using any of my old notes. None of them survived my move anyway….at least not so far as I can tell. Most of my notes were/are digital but that series was handwritten and I apparently threw away (by accident) those notebooks.
So, I am going back over the book in a fresh way. This has been a great blessing to me since there has been some growth in my studies, my library, and my preaching. One of the things I did differently this time was read the book in a few different ways. Per my normal practice, I read the book of Acts in my King James Bible. I then, read it using the KJV Readers Bible (text only – no chapter or verse divisions). I also listened to it in audio format using the Dramatized Audio Bible KJV from Thomas Nelson on Logos Bible Software. That was exciting. And, finally, I read the entire book in the Legacy Standard Bible (Inside Column Reference Edition).
All of these were very helpful in my studies. In fact, it was not until I got to the last step that I discovered something I had missed. Even though I had read through the book of Acts plenty of times prior to this series, and had preached through the book before…..even though I had heard others preach from it before as well, I had never noticed what became clear in my reading from the Legacy Standard Bible.
Here’s what I discovered.
In Acts 19, there is a riot that breaks out in Ephesus. Here’s what Acts 19:23 says:
“And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.” (KJV)
I’d read it countless times.
However, look at how that same passage reads in the Legacy Standard Bible:
“Now about that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way.” (LSB)
See the difference? The word way is capitalized! I had already noticed that there are differences in punctuation and capitalization in the newer versions compared to the King James Version, and that is mostly no fault of the Anglican translators from the 1600s. I have no doubt they loved the Lord, had a grasp of English, and followed the rules as they existed 400 years ago but there are reasons for the way they did things the way they did them. The Legacy Standard Bible is perhaps the newest of the Bible translations so I checked my John MacArthur New King James Version Study Bible, and this is how the NKJV translators rendered the verse:
“And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.” (NKJV)
Knowing Dr. MacArthur’s love for the Word of God, I checked to see his note on the passage and this is what he wrote:
“See note on 9:2.”
Oops. Guess I missed that earlier in the text. So, I went back and first compared the Bible translations:
“And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” (KJV)
“and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (NKJV)
“and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (LSB)
This is what Dr. MacArthur wrote about this verse:
“who were of this Way. This description of Christianity, derived from Jesus’ description of Himself (John 14:6), appears several times in Acts (19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). This is an appropriate title because Christianity is the way of God (18:26), the way into the Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19, 20), and the way of truth (John 14:6; 2Peter 2:2).”
We are blessed with a huge amount of riches in the English-speaking world – Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, lexicons, Study Bibles, and multiple Bible translations in our own language! We even have various ways of accessing all this information – we can access it digitally or in print. I thank God for the access we have to His Word and all the resources we have.
Had I only read Acts in my King James Version, I might have missed a significant point there in the text, but by reading it in the Legacy Standard Bible, I saw clearly what Luke was trying to bring out in his writing as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When I found this in the LSB, there was really “….no small disturbance concerning the Way” in my study, even though it was a different, much better disturbance than what there was in Ephesus. Whoever said God’s Word is boring has never read it or studied it, that is for sure.
It’s exciting to be in the Word of God daily and if I can be of any help to you in your studies, let me know. More important than the study of the Word of God is the question, do you know the God of the Word? Or to put it in the language of the early churches in the book of Acts, are you “of the Way?” Jesus said… “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Repent and believe in Jesus as your Savior!