Cp Dan 1:1 with Dan 2:1: at the same time that the king of
Judah was burning the word of God, the king of Babylon was listening to
WINTER APARTMENT: Lower part of house, insulated and
protected from elements. December -- very cold in Jerusalem.
WHENEVER JEHUDI HAD READ THREE OR FOUR COLUMNS OF THE
SCROLL, THE KING CUT THEM OFF WITH A SCRIBE'S KNIFE AND THREW THEM INTO THE
FIREPOT, UNTIL THE ENTIRE SCROLL WAS BURNED IN THE FIRE: God's Word is a
burning fire (Jer 20:9)! We can warm ourselves by it, but not in the way
Jehoiakim did! Do we cut up and cast aside and burn God's Word?
The "scribe's knife" in the NIV is translated as "penknife" in
the AV. Alan Hayward has an interesting comment about the use of a penknife, in
much more modern times, which strangely echoes this incident: "A very
interesting book was published in the year 1900: 'A Bible Hand-book for the Use
"It is an astonishing document. It contains nearly two hundred
pages of Bible quotations, arranged by two atheists to provide ammunition for
other atheists to shoot at Christians. So-called contradictions, absurdities,
indecencies, atrocities -- they are all there.
"Nearly all of them can be answered quite successfully. I use
the book to give my senior Sunday School scholars something to cut their teeth
on. What concerns me at this moment is the thirty-four pages of 'unfulfilled
prophecies and broken promises.'
"This is an accusation to be taken very seriously. If true, it
would undermine the Bible-believer's foundations. If the Bible is full -- as
that book alleges -- of promises that have been broken, how can we trust it? How
can it be inspired? And if it contains lots of unfulfilled prophecies, what
"Relax. There is nothing to worry about.
"In their preface the atheist writers said that, to ensure
accuracy, they cut all their quotations out of printed Bibles with a penknife.
Unfortunately, this is not the way to treat the Bible. Bible verses only make
sense if you study them in their context, that is, their setting. You need to
read the verses on either side of the verse in question. As I have pointed out
on several occasions, you also need to make allowance for Hebrew
"These authors have done neither. They have treated each verse
as an isolated statement of literal English. In consequence the interpretations
they put on many passages are quite ridiculous. For example, they quote the
words of Jesus, which were obviously meant to be symbolic: 'Whoso eateth My
flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life' (John 6:54). Alongside this they
print the absurd comment: 'Cannibalism to secure eternal life' " (GT ch
It is plain to see that the Bible cannot and should not be cut
up into small pieces, with a penknife or by any other means. (Not even by
computer and word processor!) Just like the old saying about real estate, it's
all about location, location, location! Every verse in the Bible is meant to be
studied in its proper setting, comparing verse with verse, and chapter with
chapter, in its immediate context. And then, broadening the scope a bit, every
book in the Bible is meant to be studied alongside the other parts of the Bible
-- law compared with history, and history with prophecy, and gospel with gospel,
and New Testament fulfillment with Old Testament prophecy. Any form of "study"
of the Bible that cuts the word of God into small, distinct pieces -- or that
attempts to take lessons from single verses or short passages cut off from their
setting -- will only lead to confusion or worse. Most every "false doctrine"
that is believed, anywhere, can be "proven" by such a "penknife"
Or, as it has been said, a "text" without a "context" is
merely a "pretext" -- and one more way of cutting up the word of God, and making
A true story, illustrating the above point: A Christadelphian
sister was attempting to show her mother the true teaching of the Bible. It was
not the first time the older lady had been distressed to find that the very
words of her own Bible contradicted, in plain terms, what she had been taught by
her church. On this occasion, she had told her daughter, "You can't tell ME that
the 'soul' is not immortal!" It was an easy matter, of course, for her daughter
to point her to Eze 18:4 (one among many such passages): "The soul that sinneth,
it shall die." This last bit of information was simply too much for the
disappointed lady. So she took the page that held the offending verse and ripped
it out of her Bible! "Well, it's not in MY Bible," she retorted. End of
Jehoiakim's end, so far as is recorded: 2Ch 36:6; cp Jer
22:19: the burial of an ass, by prophecy.