Looking unto Jesus — chapter by chapter

Mishandling God’s Word

“…but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

I Tim. 2:14

Eve was vulnerable to Satan’s attack because she carelessly handled the Word of God. Her Bible included only two verses, yet completely adequate were they. Those two verses being Genesis 2:16-17—“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” To each of Satan’s suggestions, Eve had simply to respond, “The Lord says…” Such would have defeated his cunning. However, she was careless. She made three errors. Twice she subtracted from God’s Word, and once added to it.

When Satan inquired, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Eve replied, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden.” But that is not what God said. He had said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.” She left something out.

She continued, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God had said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Yet again she is careless. Gen.2:17 reads, “but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Again, she left something out, and also added something. Eve added “nor shall you touch it.” God had said no such thing.

So, in effect, Eve abandoned God’s intended and specific words and created a paraphrase, a free rendering, a version made up for herself. Be very alert and wary of modern ‘translations’ of the Bible which make the same error of Eve. Though often seemingly small and insignificant, they leave things out, and add others. This is nothing but a dangerous distortion of God’s Word.

Consider when Eve omitted the word “freely”, she minimized God’s goodness and His great and abundant generosity. Leaving out the word “surely”, she minimized the severity of sin and the certain result of such choice. Choosing to add “nor shall you touch it”, she exaggerated the one restriction that God had placed on her.

As we consider Eve’s careless handling of God’s Word, we notice the subtlety of Satan in addressing her intellect, therefore appealing to her pride of analysis and conclusion. When she ate the forbidden fruit, she selected her own opinion to have more credibility than God’s Word.

A couple of concluding thoughts from Oswald Chambers:

“The reason some of us are not healthy spiritually is because we don’t use the Bible as the Word of God, but only as a text-book.”

“Beware of interpreting Scripture in order to make `it suit a pre-arranged doctrine of your own.”

“Beware of reasoning about God’s Word. Obey it.”