Keep It Simple

I own a lot of Bibles. I especially like the simplified versions, like the New Century Version or the New International Readers’ Version. These Bibles use short sentences and common words to make scripture easier to understand.

This is nothing new. The King James Version was a simpler version than earlier translations. Our New International Version is easier to understand than the KJV. Then there’s New King James, New American Standard, The Message, the New Living Translation and the Good News Translation. Every Bible translation was meant to be simpler and more accurate than he one before it.

No translation is perfect. If you are doing a detailed study on history, ancient languages or deep theology, the simpler versions are probably not enough. But they work for most purposes because the Gospel is, at its core, simple.

Jesus made Jewish Law simple. The Law fills four books of the Old Testament. Jesus summed it up with two verses. “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,’” Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 – quoting Deuteronomy 6:5. “This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:’ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (from Leviticus 19:18) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Paul made the Gospel message simple for Gentiles. “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified,” he said. (Galatians 2:15-16)

It might take a scholar to understand a complicated message, but even scholars appreciate plain English. If we take something simple and make it complicated, we are just showing off. We don’t talk and write to show off; we talk and write to share information. The best way to do that is to keep the message simple.

Churches fight over complicated details of the Bible. Like all Disciples of Christ churches, our church tries to keep the message simple. That makes it available to more people and gives us less to fight about.

Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and do you receive Him as Lord and Savior? It’s a simple question. I ask it every Sunday. Agreeing on that simple statement joins us all in one church. Accepting that statement inspires us to serve others and glorify God.

Invite your friends to church. Keep it simple. Hearts and minds aren’t changed by complicated explanations. Hearts and minds change when we accept the simple truth that God came to Earth as a human because God loves all humans. God made Jesus the Way back to the Father, not because we are good, but because God loves us. That’s why God keeps it simple.

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