The devil IS NOT in Job’s Details!

Throughout the years I have a adopted a number of colloquialisms to convey thoughts. One of them is: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat!” Meaning: There is more than one way to solve a problem or to deal with an issue. Another one I am quite fond of using is: “The devil is in the details.” That means, the real difference between one meaning or another, is in the finer points that are sometimes overlooked or unknown.

Ironically, when it comes to the Book of Job in the Bible, the last colloquial expression I mentioned is both true and false! In the Book of Job, the devil is in the details, in the sense that there is a fine point in Job that most theologians and Bible scholars know, but they often overlook! What is that fine point? The fine point that is overlooked is the fact that the devil IS NOT in the details of the Book of Job! I know, it sounds confusing, so let me show you what I am talking about.

In the Book of Job, everywhere the term; ‘satan’ occurs, (Job 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 12; 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7) in the Hebrew (the original language in which Job was written), it is preceded by the Hebrew definite article; ‘ha,’ which is equivalent to the English definite article; ‘the.’ In other words, everywhere we encounter the term ‘satan’ in our English translations, it should be more properly rendered; ‘the satan.’ Now you might be asking, “Ok, but what difference does that make?” Well, just as there are rules of grammar in the English language, there are also rules of grammar in the Hebrew language. And one of the rules of grammar that is common to both English and Hebrew is that a proper noun (a name) is ‘never’ preceded by a definite article! If the definite article precedes the noun, then it is understood that the noun is not a name, but rather a title. In other words, according to the rules of grammar (and good theology), the term ‘satan’ in the book of Job, refers not a name, but rather to a title!

The term ‘satan’ is a Hebrew term that is translated into English as ‘adversary.’ Therefore, everywhere the term ‘satan’ is found in Job, instead of using it as a proper noun or name (which it isn’t), it should be translated into English as ‘the adversary.’ For instance, to be consistent and true to the rules of English and Hebrew grammar, Job 1:6, for example, should more properly read: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD (Yahweh), and the adversary also came among them.”

I have written before about how we sometimes can be confused by the KJV translation, but this is a case in which ‘all’ of the English versions dropped the ball, because the one called ‘satan,’ known as the devil in the New Testament IS NOT the same personality as the adversary presented in the Book of Job! I know, we often use the colloquial: “The devil is in the details.” But in the case of the book of Job in the Old Testament, the devil IS NOT in the details!

If you would like more information, there is a Virtual Bible Study I did on the subject on my You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0usVrckhPMM&t=86s

Why I Haven’t Accepted Jesus as My ‘Personal’ Savior!

Now, before you get all upset and think that I am a heretic, I confess that I have submitted my life to Jesus as Lord. I have yielded to his claim upon my life, and I am trusting him for the remission of my sins. I believe what the Bible says about Jesus and his role in procuring salvation for all who put their faith in him. I believe Jesus died upon the cross and that God raised him from the dead! But in spite of all of that, I have not accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and now I’m going to tell you why!

First, I haven’t accepted Jesus as my personal Savior because I don’t know what it means to accept him as such! Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics, but I have issues with the term ‘personal Savior.’ What does that mean? Does it mean to accept Jesus as Savior in a personal way as opposed to accepting him in a non or impersonal way? Does it mean to accept Jesus as a personal Savior in the same way as one would accept a personal trainer or a personal valet? Does it mean that Jesus is exclusive to the person who accepts him as their personal Savior? Forgive me if I am making a mountain out of a molehill or just quibbling about terminology, but when I came to Jesus over some forty (40) years ago, no one ever referred to Jesus as a ‘personal Savior!’ Therefore, when I came to Jesus over forty (40) years ago, I did not accept him as my personal Savior!

I looked up the word ‘personal’ in the dictionary and I noted a couple of the definitions. One definition was: “Of, relating to, or affecting a particular person: private, individual.” Another definition was: “Intended for private use or use by one person.” Still another said: “Of, relating to, or constituting personal property.” Is my relationship with Jesus a private affair only between Jesus and me? If that is the case, how should I respond to his statement where he said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (Jn. 13:34-35 KJV) Or what about 1 John 4:20-21, where it says: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (KJV)

Now while it is true that one must individually form a relationship (Momma or Daddy can’t do it for you), the Scriptures seem to suggest, being right with God or Jesus is not strictly a personal matter! In other words, the Bible seems to suggest the fact that ‘my’ salvation is not just about me! But wait a minute, I hear you! You are saying that I just answered my question when I said: “Momma or Daddy can’t do it for you!” You say, that’s what it means to accept Jesus as your personal Savior! But doesn’t that go without saying? When I take a shower, it goes without saying that I am personally taking the shower! You would look at me strangely if I told you that I was going to take a personal shower! Does accepting Jesus as my personal Savior mean Jesus belongs to me in the same sense as if Jesus was my personal trainer? It seems to me that such language is not only unbiblical, (you will not find the term or even a suggestion of the concept in the Bible of a personal Savoir) but also confusing! Are you saying Jesus belongs exclusively to you? Are you saying your saving relationship with Jesus is private? Are you saying that Jesus saved you exclusively? My point is this: There is no reference or even a hint of anyone in the New Testament accepting Jesus as their personal Savior! While the phrase may have been intended to help people understand how they as individuals can be saved, I believe it really serves to confuse people and promote the unbiblical idea that salvation is purely personal and private.

Now, here’s another suggestion that will no doubt upset your theological apple cart: I dare suggest that the Bible does not even promote the idea of accepting Jesus as Savior! Let me show you what I’m talking about! One of the staple scriptures presented in evangelizing is Romans 10:9, where Paul said: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (KJV) Look closely at the wording of the text! Paul said that first, one must ‘confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus.’ You must confess Jesus, not as Savior, but as Lord! You must accept Jesus as Lord! Then you must believe that God raised him from the dead.

Now, the term ‘lord’ in this verse is not a reference to Jesus being God or divine. No! It is a reference to Jesus being the ruler, the master, the owner! You must submit to Jesus’ claim of ownership and rulership over your life! Note the order and progression: 1) Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (note, for the Romans to confess Jesus as Lord was a dangerous confession because the standard pledge of allegiance of the day was: ‘Caesar is Lord!’), then 2) You must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and then (only after you have completed the first two steps), 3) You shall be saved! In this passage, although Jesus is the Savior, he is not presented as ‘the Savoir who saves’ but rather as ‘the Lord who saves!’ In Romans, Paul does not make an appeal to the Romans to accept Jesus as their Savior, but rather to submit to Jesus as their Lord!

I could go on to further press my claim, but I don’t want to make this post too long! So let me close by saying the preponderous of New Testament literature presents Jesus not as just a ‘Savior.’ And nowhere is Jesus presented as a ‘personal Savior,’ but the overwhelming presentation is that of Jesus as Lord! Therefore, I have not accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, but I have accepted Jesus as my Lord! Yes! He is my Lord! That means Jesus doesn’t belong to me (he’s not mine personally), but rather, I belong to Jesus!

Autopilot Adjustment Needed?

I truly believe, with every fiber of my being, that the most important factor in life IS NOT what happens to us, but rather it is HOW WE RESPOND to what happens to us! And for the most part, how we respond to what happens to us is habitual. In other words, when something happens, we don’t think about how to respond, we just automatically respond the way we’ve always responded to similar occurrences.

These learned habitual responses are formed during our childhood and if they are not modified or adjusted, they will continue throughout our adulthood. This is what I believe is the problem in many situations in our country today!

A child is naturally selfish, self-centered, and insists on having its own way. When that is denied, the child responds with a temper tantrum, which involves aggressive behaviors. As part of the child’s social development, a good parent teaches the child how to share, how to respect the property of others, how to accept disappointment, how to accept ’No’ for an answer. All of this is part of the child’s maturing process.

I believe what we are witnessing in our culture today are the actions, responses, attitudes of people who have reached the age of maturity, but have yet to mature! At the same time, we are also witnessing the actions of children who have been allowed access to ‘grown-up toys’ too soon!

The Apostle Paul said: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NET) But it’s hard to put away childish ways when they have been allowed to grow uninhibited to the point where they have been habitually ingrained into the subconscious.

The answer? Be conscious! Nearly 95% of what we do every day is done as a subconscious habit! In other words, we live most of our life on autopilot! For instance, if I were to ask you: “What shoe did you put on first this morning?” More than likely, you couldn’t tell me! But I can tell you that it was the same one you put on first every morning!

So, here’s your homework. Tomorrow morning BEFORE you put on your shoes STOP! Take note of which one you reach for, and then put on the other one first! Try this every day for at least 21 days! It will be hard at first, but if you are consistent and don’t cheat, by the end of the 21 days, you will be putting on the opposite shoe with the same ease as you were putting on the other shoe!

Now, after you’ve mastered that, stop and think about the non-productive or negative responses to situations you always find yourself engaging in. Then, the next time a ‘trigger’ situation occurs, BEFORE, you respond STOP AND THINK: Is my response appropriate or proportional to the situation? Am I trying to kill a roach with a hammer?

You see, you respond that way because you have always (habitually) responded that way! It just might be that your response is inappropriate and non-productive. If that is the case, then you need to change your response!

Don’t settle for the false belief that that’s just the way you are and you can’t change because you can! You can change any response the same way you can change what shoe you put on first every morning!

Change your thinking; change your habits! Change your habits; change your responses! Change your responses; change your life!

Remember, it’s not the problem that’s the problem! It’s how you respond to the problem, that’s the problem! And often times, if you would just stop and think instead of just automatically responding the way you’ve always responded, you just might discover that the problem is not a problem at all!

The Rest of the Story About What Eyes Haven’t Seen!

PLEASE UNDERSTAND! When I post about common exegetical missteps, it is not an attempt to embarrass anybody or to project the idea that I am smarter than others! I love the LORD and I love HIS WORD! I believe we ought to spare no expense or effort to make sure that when we quote the Bible, we quote it accurately and correctly! After all, it is the word of God, therefore, when we say what the Bible says, we’re saying what God says or the principles, ideas, commands, and intentions God wants to convey. Consequently, when we misrepresent what the Bible says, we misrepresent the words, thoughts, intentions, and commands of God, which is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly!

So with that mind, here’s another one we so commonly and frequently mess up! We preach it, we quote it, and we sing it! What is it? It’s 1 Corinthians 2:9, which says: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 is the Apostle Paul’s adaptation of Isaiah 64:4. So, this is actually what Paul said and Paul is quoting the Old Testament, so what’s the problem?

Do you remember the radio commentator; Paul Harvey? He was famous for the way he reported his stories. Harvey would introduce a story, but before he concluded the story, he would go to a commercial break. When he came back from the commercial break, he would say; “And now, the rest of the story.” The problem with 1 Corinthians 2:9 is that it is not the complete thought the Apostle Paul was trying to convey! When we quote 1 Corinthians 2:9 and quit, we misrepresent Paul because we leave before giving him the opportunity to tell the rest of the story!

So, here’s the rest of the story! In 1 Corinthians 2:9 Paul says; “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” But wait a minute! Paul IS NOT THROUGH TALKING! In the very next verse, Paul says: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. . . “ What has God revealed to us by His Spirit? The things which God has prepared for them that love Him!Paul said one thing in verse 9, but he cancels it out in verse 10 and the following verses! Eyes haven’t seen, ears haven’t heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men what great things God has prepared for those who love Him, BUT GOD HAS REVEALED THEM TO US THROUGH HIS SPIRIT! That’s the complete thought!

So, when we quote verse 9 and run off without reading the rest of the story, and proclaim verse 9 as the Gospel truth, we are actually lying and are misrepresenting the intention of the text! We are saying God hasn’t revealed what Paul said God has revealed! To get the full picture, we need to at least read to verse 12! This is what that looks like;

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

Wow! Do you see that? We preach and sing that God ‘has not revealed’ and ‘we can’t know’ when the Bible actually says, ‘God has revealed’ and ‘we can know!’ The sermons and the songs sound good! But nevertheless, they are not theologically sound! How did this happen? It happened because we didn’t read the rest of the story!

Reading the Bible Too Fast?

It’s the beginning of a new year and there will be many who will embark upon reading plans designed to guide them in reading through the Bible within a year.


Now, while this is indeed a noble and worthwhile endeavor, I think, all too often, we make the mistake of reading the Bible ‘too’ quickly! In an effort to read the assigned portion or section for the day, we often fail to take the time to actually understand what we are reading. When we read too quickly and too methodically, we often miss the message in the effort to be true to our method!


As an example, I read a passage the other day that caused me to re-evaluate previously held beliefs. It was not a passage I had not read before, in fact, it was one that I had read quite often and one the preacher would call; ‘a familiar passage!’ The passage was Philippians 2:9-11, which reads in the KJV:


“Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


Now the thing that arrested me the other day was the realization that most people, myself included, often misquote the passage! The common saying of most is: “That at the name of Jesus, every knee ‘shall’ bow and every tongue ‘shall’ confess! But that IS NOT what the text says! The text doesn’t say ‘shall,’ the text says ‘should.’ There is a substantial difference between shall and should! The word; ‘shall’ is about ‘what is “going” to happen,’ while the word; ‘should’ is about ‘what “ought” to happen.’ Now, while it is indeed true that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, that is not the point Paul was making!


In the context of passage, Paul was not talking about what was going to happen, but rather Paul was expressing what ought to happen in response to the exaltation of Jesus as Lord! Therefore, when we say ‘shall’ we are, in a sense, postponing Jesus’ exaltation until the end of time, but Jesus will not just be Lord later, Jesus is Lord, NOW! He was recorded as saying in Matthew 28:18 after his resurrection; “All power (the Greek word for power, denotes ‘authority,’ not “might’ or ‘strength’ as we so often erroneously preach it!) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Paul wrote of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”


My point is that, since Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and in earth and he is presently reigning, every knee should presently bow and every tongue should presently confess that Jesus is (not will be, but right now, is!) Lord! However, we miss this fundamental truth when we misquote the passage or otherwise read ‘should’ but think ‘shall.’ As we read the Bible, we should slow down enough to read what it actually says and not what we have been conditioned to ‘think’ it says! Only then will we recognize that often, even the ‘little’ words, like the articles and definite articles; (‘a’ versus ‘the’), conjunctions, such as ‘and’ and ‘or’ can change the meaning of a text! It was only after I slowed down that I recognized the difference between ‘shall’ and ‘should!’