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THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS REFERENCES - James L. Melton


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THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS REFERENCES - James L. Melton

Far too often I see Christians privately interpreting the Scriptures by saying things like "Well, I think it means this" or "Brother Jones said it means that." In their minds, they honestly believe that their opinion is just as sound as anyone else's, even when they use no Scripture to support their position. "I'm entitled to my opinion, and I believe it this way" is often the only argument they have.

This childish way of handling the Scriptures has produced a generation of brain-dead Christians who know nothing worth knowing and believe nothing worth believing. The power of God's word is sadly missing from their lives, and it's largely due to their refusal to properly STUDY the Scriptures. Just last week I was approached by a Baptist preacher with a question. He should have learned the answer to his question over twenty years ago before even preaching his first sermon, but his weak manner of approaching the Scriptures had kept him in ignorance. I'm not even sure if he accepted my answer, even though I referenced or quoted at least half a dozen verses, maybe more.

Bible study is WORK (II Tim. 2:15), and a lazy man will live in ignorance. Cross-reference checking is an area where work must be applied. I say cross-references in distinction from other kinds of reference checking, such as dictionaries, maps, concordances, etc. Cross-referencing is the study of finding out what GOD says about His word, rather than what man says. Dictionaries, commentaries, and other books can be a great aid to Bible study, but not when they contradict God’s word. Far too many preachers teach their congregations to study Hebrew and Greek words when they ought to teach them to study Scripture with Scripture in the King James English. The Hebrew/Greek thing is called a "vertical" study where one peels off layer after layer of Greek and Hebrew words and word roots in hopes of uncovering the true meaning of a given text. Since we never find Peter, James, Paul, John or Jesus doing this, it is safe to assume that there is a better way.

What we do find time and time again is Bible characters and writers quoting OTHER portions of Scripture. So, we're probably on safe ground in assuming that HORIZONTAL study, Scripture with Scripture, is the safe and proper method of learning the word of God. Please allow me to illustrate . . .

I once read an author who stated that people couldn’t understand the book of Revelation without a good knowledge of pagan writings! Wow, talk about a vertical study! That one will take you clear to the bottomless pit! Obviously, this guy was blind as a bat.

The best commentary on Revelation is the rest of the Bible: the sixty-five books that precede it. In fact, one cannot understand Revelation without cross-referencing the rest of the Bible.

For instance, one cannot identify the woman of Revelation 12:1-2 without cross-referencing Genesis 37:9-10. Here’s Revelation 12:1-2:
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

The standard commentaries are filled with endless explanations about how this woman is the church, the “Christian-Israel,” or even Mary. They quote one another, and they quote the church “fathers,” yet they completely overlook God’s comments from Genesis. Look at the verses again with special attention given to the words I’ve emphasized:

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the SUN, and the MOON under her feet, and upon her head a crown of TWELVE STARS: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

Okay, now let’s get God’s comments from Genesis 37:9-10:
“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the SUN and the MOON and the ELEVEN STARS made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and THY MOTHER and THY BRETHREN indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”

The patriarch Jacob stated that the sun, moon, and stars represent himself, his wife, and his sons—in essence, the Jewish people, the nation of Israel. Scripture with Scripture, the woman of Revelation 12 is Israel, all twelve tribes, represented by the twelve stars in her crown. That should surprise no one who has read Genesis 15:5:
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the STARS, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall THY SEED be.”

For emphasis, we’ll also add Deuteronomy 1:10 and Nehemiah 9:23:
“The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the STARS of heaven for multitude.”

“Their children also multipliedst thou as the STARS of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.”

By checking cross references, we now have God’s commentary on Revelation 12:1-2. The woman is clearly Israel. That’s an established fact from the word of God. The woman isn’t Mary, the church, or anyone else. The woman is Israel, plain and simple, and anyone who says otherwise is in error. To state it less emphatically is to respect man’s opinion over God’s opinion. Anyone can learn what you’ve just learned by simply looking words up in a concordance, be it a printed concordance or a computer program. Those who refuse to look up words and check references are, in essence, refusing to go through an all-important gate of Biblical understanding, the gate of cross-references.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

JAMES L. MELTON
Bible Baptist Church, Sharon, TN
www.biblebaptistpublications.org
P.O. BOX 383, Martin, TN 38237
#PUBLISHTRUTHPSALMS6811

Edited by John Young
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  • John Young changed the title to THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS REFERENCES - James L. Melton
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Young said:

THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS REFERENCES - James L. Melton

Far too often I see Christians privately interpreting the Scriptures by saying things like "Well, I think it means this" or "Brother Jones said it means that." In their minds, they honestly believe that their opinion is just as sound as anyone else's, even when they use no Scripture to support their position. "I'm entitled to my opinion, and I believe it this way" is often the only argument they have.

This childish way of handling the Scriptures has produced a generation of brain-dead Christians who know nothing worth knowing and believe nothing worth believing. The power of God's word is sadly missing from their lives, and it's largely due to their refusal to properly STUDY the Scriptures. Just last week I was approached by a Baptist preacher with a question. He should have learned the answer to his question over twenty years ago before even preaching his first sermon, but his weak manner of approaching the Scriptures had kept him in ignorance. I'm not even sure if he accepted my answer, even though I referenced or quoted at least half a dozen verses, maybe more.

Bible study is WORK (II Tim. 2:15), and a lazy man will live in ignorance. Cross-reference checking is an area where work must be applied. I say cross-references in distinction from other kinds of reference checking, such as dictionaries, maps, concordances, etc. Cross-referencing is the study of finding out what GOD says about His word, rather than what man says. Dictionaries, commentaries, and other books can be a great aid to Bible study, but not when they contradict God’s word. Far too many preachers teach their congregations to study Hebrew and Greek words when they ought to teach them to study Scripture with Scripture in the King James English. The Hebrew/Greek thing is called a "vertical" study where one peels off layer after layer of Greek and Hebrew words and word roots in hopes of uncovering the true meaning of a given text. Since we never find Peter, James, Paul, John or Jesus doing this, it is safe to assume that there is a better way.

What we do find time and time again is Bible characters and writers quoting OTHER portions of Scripture. So, we're probably on safe ground in assuming that HORIZONTAL study, Scripture with Scripture, is the safe and proper method of learning the word of God. Please allow me to illustrate . . .

I once read an author who stated that people couldn’t understand the book of Revelation without a good knowledge of pagan writings! Wow, talk about a vertical study! That one will take you clear to the bottomless pit! Obviously, this guy was blind as a bat.

The best commentary on Revelation is the rest of the Bible: the sixty-five books that precede it. In fact, one cannot understand Revelation without cross-referencing the rest of the Bible.

For instance, one cannot identify the woman of Revelation 12:1-2 without cross-referencing Genesis 37:9-10. Here’s Revelation 12:1-2:
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

The standard commentaries are filled with endless explanations about how this woman is the church, the “Christian-Israel,” or even Mary. They quote one another, and they quote the church “fathers,” yet they completely overlook God’s comments from Genesis. Look at the verses again with special attention given to the words I’ve emphasized:

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the SUN, and the MOON under her feet, and upon her head a crown of TWELVE STARS: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

Okay, now let’s get God’s comments from Genesis 37:9-10:
“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the SUN and the MOON and the ELEVEN STARS made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and THY MOTHER and THY BRETHREN indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”

The patriarch Jacob stated that the sun, moon, and stars represent himself, his wife, and his sons—in essence, the Jewish people, the nation of Israel. Scripture with Scripture, the woman of Revelation 12 is Israel, all twelve tribes, represented by the twelve stars in her crown. That should surprise no one who has read Genesis 15:5:
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the STARS, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall THY SEED be.”

For emphasis, we’ll also add Deuteronomy 1:10 and Nehemiah 9:23:
“The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the STARS of heaven for multitude.”

“Their children also multipliedst thou as the STARS of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.”

By checking cross references, we now have God’s commentary on Revelation 12:1-2. The woman is clearly Israel. That’s an established fact from the word of God. The woman isn’t Mary, the church, or anyone else. The woman is Israel, plain and simple, and anyone who says otherwise is in error. To state it less emphatically is to respect man’s opinion over God’s opinion. Anyone can learn what you’ve just learned by simply looking words up in a concordance, be it a printed concordance or a computer program. Those who refuse to look up words and check references are, in essence, refusing to go through an all-important gate of Biblical understanding, the gate of cross-references.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

JAMES L. MELTON
Bible Baptist Church, Sharon, TN
www.biblebaptistpublications.org
P.O. BOX 383, Martin, TN 38237
#PUBLISHTRUTHPSALMS6811

Pretty good.Im not a fan of his jab at Hebrew and Greek though. The fact that he describes Hebrew and Greek study along the lines of “words and word root” studies as if that was the sum total of what Hebrew and Greek study entails tells me that he probably most likely has not studied Hebrew and Greek and is probably ignorant of those languages. 
 

There is a good amount of helpful grammatical information that can be gleaned from Hebrew and Greek that can help with interpreting the scriptures. 

that point about the Apostles and Jesus not ever referring to Hebrew or Greek is really a weak point. I’m assuming that author isn’t against using English Dictionaries either even though Jesus and the Apostles never did that either... 

Overall there are good points. But I don’t like the jab at Greek and Hebrew. The ironic thing is that had the King James Translators believed Hebrew and Greek was of no value we wouldn't even have a King James Bible to do scripture with scripture comparisons. 

Edited by Jordan Kurecki
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1 minute ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

I don’t like the jab at Greek and Hebrew.

I'm pretty sure he is referring to Greek and Hebrew studies that are often done without regard to the immediate context and biblical understandings. Such as those who go to the Greek understanding of "hell" "hades" "tarturus" etc while not considering the biblical understanding. Many study the language etymology above all biblical consideration to the contrary of the general, cultural, alternate meanings of a language that actually have little to do with the textual usage. Word meanings do have their place but a generic study of a word alone can only take the reader so far in understanding the biblical concept.

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27 minutes ago, John Young said:

I'm pretty sure he is referring to Greek and Hebrew studies that are often done without regard to the immediate context and biblical understandings. Such as those who go to the Greek understanding of "hell" "hades" "tarturus" etc while not considering the biblical understanding. Many study the language etymology above all biblical consideration to the contrary of the general, cultural, alternate meanings of a language that actually have little to do with the textual usage. Word meanings do have their place but a generic study of a word alone can only take the reader so far in understanding the biblical concept.

I’d like to think that is the case, but based on the way he talked about the languages he seems to express a sentiment that I have seen many other express and he seems to have a disdain for the study of biblical languages. Its very rare to see someone attack Hebrew and Greek lexical study and to yet somehow still believe the languages are profitable. 

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5 hours ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

Pretty good.Im not a fan of his jab at Hebrew and Greek though. The fact that he describes Hebrew and Greek study along the lines of “words and word root” studies as if that was the sum total of what Hebrew and Greek study entails tells me that he probably most likely has not studied Hebrew and Greek and is probably ignorant of those languages. 
 

There is a good amount of helpful grammatical information that can be gleaned from Hebrew and Greek that can help with interpreting the scriptures. 

that point about the Apostles and Jesus not ever referring to Hebrew or Greek is really a weak point. I’m assuming that author isn’t against using English Dictionaries either even though Jesus and the Apostles never did that either... 

Overall there are good points. But I don’t like the jab at Greek and Hebrew. The ironic thing is that had the King James Translators believed Hebrew and Greek was of no value we wouldn't even have a King James Bible to do scripture with scripture comparisons. 

I agree with you. The root words are important to understanding what is written. I know just enough Chinese to realize that there are words in that language that cannot accurately be translated in one English. For instance the Chinese word, quanxi, can not be translated accurately in one word. It would take several paragraphs to get an idea of its real meaning.

The same is true of numerous Greek and Hebrew words. The Greek word for sin can be translated as:

  1. Evil
  2. Bad
  3. Offense
  4. Transgression
  5. Guilty
  6. Stray

And there are more English words that can be used for this Greek word. None of these words bring out the meaning of 'missing the mark'. Of course, 'missing the mark' is three words. 

English is limited with only one word for 'love.' Greek has at least four words that must be translated as 'love'. But the English word does not capture the essence of these Greek terms.

Now, I am not an expert. But I know enough to know that meaning is lost in any translation.

 

Blessings. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, John Young said:

Bible study is WORK (II Tim. 2:15), and a lazy man will live in ignorance. Cross-reference checking is an area where work must be applied. I say cross-references in distinction from other kinds of reference checking, such as dictionaries, maps, concordances, etc. Cross-referencing is the study of finding out what GOD says about His word, rather than what man says. Dictionaries, commentaries, and other books can be a great aid to Bible study, but not when they contradict God’s word.

Brethren,

Maybe if we took the words of John Young in the above quote we may arrive at his intended thoughts. Maybe if you looked at every word that John Young mentioned concerning "cross-referencing" you may understand his intentions better and find less fault or excuses to accept the reasoning for changing the Authorized Version by using the Greek and Hebrew.

Quite frankly, Every last translator of these modern versions, starting from the Revised Version of 1881, uses the Greek and Hebrew language (and all language difficulties), as a pretext to justify their changes to the Authorized Version, the King James Version of 1611.

Alan

Edited by Alan
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49 minutes ago, Alan said:

Brethren,

Maybe if we took the words of John Young in the above quote we may arrive at his intended thoughts. Maybe if you looked at every word that John Young mentioned concerning "cross-referencing" you may understand his intentions better and find less fault or excuses to accept the reasoning for changing the Authorized Version by using the Greek and Hebrew.

Quite frankly, Every last translator of these modern versions, starting from the Revised Version of 1881, uses the Greek and Hebrew language (and all language difficulties), as a pretext to justify their changes to the Authorized Version, the King James Version of 1611.

Alan

Has the English language changed since 1611?

Has scholars understanding of Greek and Hebrew improved since 1611?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bouncing Bill said:

Has the English language changed since 1611?

Has scholars understanding of Greek and Hebrew improved since 1611?

Has scripture meaning changed since 1611 or since the time it was written for that matter? No.

While a good grasp of root language is helpful in some instances, alone, it cannot convey the contextual meaning of authors. For that, the material itself must be studied. A deep study of a word out of context and without cross referencing of an author's whole work, is a foolish errand.

In fact, I am quite confidant when I say that the person who only knows rudimentary English and has a good ability to cross-reference scripture, using only a King James bible, is more apt to teach than the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar. The King James Bible, as translated, is so sufficient in conveying biblical truth that not one Greek or Hebrew word study is necessary to know the scripture's meaning.

Edited by John Young
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, John Young said:

Has scripture meaning changed since 1611 or since the time it was written for that matter? No.

While a good grasp of root language is helpful in some instances, alone, it cannot convey the contextual meaning of authors. For that, the material itself must be studied. A deep study of a word out of context and without cross referencing of an author's whole work, is a foolish errand.

In fact, I am quite confidant when I say that the person who only knows rudimentary English and has a good ability to cross-reference scripture, using only a King James bible, is more apt to teach than the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar. The King James Bible, as translated, is so sufficient in conveying biblical truth that not one Greek or Hebrew word study is necessary to know the scripture's meaning.

Scripture has not changed, but language has. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have not changed, but you do not read them in Chaucer era English. Why? Because English has changed. The same is true with English. Just look at Shakespeare and his language. The English of the King James translators is not the same as the English you speak.

Thus, we need scripture in the current language. There are numerous obsolete English words in the KJ that are not understood by everyone, such as 'sottish,' 'bittern,' 'besom,' 'amerce,' 'beeves' just to name a few. And there are words that have changed meaning, such as charity. 

The King James translators used the original languages and also leaned heavily on Tyndale's translation. There were major revisions to the 1611 King James Bible, the first in 1629, and the second in 1638. The Thomas Nelson website says:

"

The aim of these revisions was to restore the proper text by eliminating misprints and correcting minor errors in translation. Cambridge scholars also made changes to the original text by incorporating a more literal interpretation of certain words. (These literal interpretations were not new. They had been included in the original King James Version as margin notes.)

Printing errors didn’t end with the Cambridge revisions. For more than 120 years, new mistakes accrued. Eventually, misprinted editions became a problem of scandalous proportions. Two of the leading universities in England—Cambridge (again) and Oxford—began work on updated standard editions. Francis Sawyer Parris oversaw the Cambridge edition, and Benjamin Blayney oversaw the Oxford edition. The Cambridge edition was finished first, in 1760, but the Oxford version, which was finished nine years later, superseded it."

https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/has-the-king-james-bible-been-revised/

The KJ scholars admitted there were errors. 

Edited by Bouncing Bill
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On 8/14/2020 at 8:31 AM, Jordan Kurecki said:

Pretty good.Im not a fan of his jab at Hebrew and Greek though. The fact that he describes Hebrew and Greek study along the lines of “words and word root” studies as if that was the sum total of what Hebrew and Greek study entails tells me that he probably most likely has not studied Hebrew and Greek and is probably ignorant of those languages. 
 

There is a good amount of helpful grammatical information that can be gleaned from Hebrew and Greek that can help with interpreting the scriptures. 

that point about the Apostles and Jesus not ever referring to Hebrew or Greek is really a weak point. I’m assuming that author isn’t against using English Dictionaries either even though Jesus and the Apostles never did that either... 

Overall there are good points. But I don’t like the jab at Greek and Hebrew. The ironic thing is that had the King James Translators believed Hebrew and Greek was of no value we wouldn't even have a King James Bible to do scripture with scripture comparisons. 

On 8/14/2020 at 8:41 AM, John Young said:

I'm pretty sure he is referring to Greek and Hebrew studies that are often done without regard to the immediate context and biblical understandings. Such as those who go to the Greek understanding of "hell" "hades" "tarturus" etc while not considering the biblical understanding. Many study the language etymology above all biblical consideration to the contrary of the general, cultural, alternate meanings of a language that actually have little to do with the textual usage. Word meanings do have their place but a generic study of a word alone can only take the reader so far in understanding the biblical concept.

I suppose the best way to determine Brother Melton's position on this matter would be to find out his view of Biblical word studies of Greek or Hebrew words in the Greek or Hebrew text respectively.

 

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23 hours ago, John Young said:

Has scripture meaning changed since 1611 or since the time it was written for that matter? No.

While a good grasp of root language is helpful in some instances, alone, it cannot convey the contextual meaning of authors. For that, the material itself must be studied. A deep study of a word out of context and without cross referencing of an author's whole work, is a foolish errand.

In fact, I am quite confidant when I say that the person who only knows rudimentary English and has a good ability to cross-reference scripture, using only a King James bible, is more apt to teach than the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar. The King James Bible, as translated, is so sufficient in conveying biblical truth that not one Greek or Hebrew word study is necessary to know the scripture's meaning.

I like doing root studies of the meaning of the English words in the KJV.

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