Do No Harm
Once again, we look to John Wesley for wisdom and guidance. A fellow (professor) at Oxford, he devoted his long life to a disciplined, methodical study of the teachings of the Bible. Rising early and staying up late, he literally burned the candle at both ends. He meticulously recorded and published his journals and numerous sermons, even setting up his own publishing company. Many of his sermons were long exhortations on deep theological questions, maybe a bit too complex for the people of his day. (And us too for that matter). Yet with the scope and depth of his knowledge, he was able to distill his view of a Christian life into a set of simple rules.
In his book, Three Simple Rules, A Wesleyan Way of Living, Bishop Reuben P. Job, explores these rules. 1. Do No Harm, 2. Do Good and 3. Stay in Love With God. Let's take a closer look at the first one, Do No Harm. Sounds simple enough. Even a child can understand this, right? Maybe. Consider this example from Bishop Job's book.
"Each of us knows of groups that are locked in conflict, sometimes over profound issues and sometimes over issues that are just plain silly. But the conflict is real, the divisions deep, and the consequences can often be devastating. If, however, all who are involved can agree to do no harm, the climate in which the conflict is going on is immediately changed. How is it changed? Well, if I am to do no harm, I can no longer gossip about the conflict. I can no longer speak disparagingly about those involved in the conflict. I can no longer manipulate the facts of the conflict. I can no longer diminish those who do not agree with me and must honor each as a child of God. I will guard my lips, my mind and my heart so that my language will not disparage, injure or wound another child of God. I must do no harm, even while I seek a common good."
Can you think of groups to which this might apply? How would this make a difference in our world today? Any wonder why after a lifetime of study, Wesley made this his first rule. House rules: You can't get to Rule 2 and Rule 3 without first going through Rule 1.
From the Pastor
On Palm Sunday the Scripture readings were from the Common English Bible. We read from the King James Version most Sundays during Worship Service. This may be an appropriate time to discuss some of the various translations of The Bible.
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Latin Vulgate translation was dominant in Western Christianity through the Middle Ages. Since then, The Bible has been translated into many more languages. English Bible translations also have a rich and varied history of more than a millennium.
There are also categories of Bibles: I. Early Incomplete Bibles (14) which date from the late 7th or early 8th centuries, which include, but not limited to: Aldheim: Psalms only, c. 7th century; King Alfred: The Pentateuch, maybe Psalms, c. 900 A.D.; William Caxton: various passages, c. 1484. II. Partial Bibles (32), which include, but are not limited to: Brenton’s English Translation of the Septuagint, in 1844; The Unvarnished New Testament, in 1991; The Comprehensive New Testament, in 2008; A Conservative Version (New Testament), in 2012.
The listing of complete versions of the Bible total 106, as of this writing. A brief review of some of them:
American King James Version, 1999. A revision of the original King James Version.
Amplified Bible, 1965. A revision of the American Standard Version.
Common English Version, 2011. Easy to read – story like format.
English Standard Version, 2001. This is a revision of the Revised Standard Version.
Geneva Bible, 1560. First English Bible with whole of Old Testament translated direct from Hebrew texts.
Good News Bible, 1976. This version was formerly known as Today’s English Version.
The Message, 2002. Contemporary English language.
Recovery Version of The Bible, 2003. This is a study Bible with a modern English translation of the Scriptures from their original languages; comparable to the Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible.
Revised Standard Version, 1952. Revision of the King James Version.
There are 106 versions of The Bible from which one may choose what is best for each person. I think it is interesting to read different versions of the same selections. One not listed above is a treasured version I received as a gift: De Nyew Testament (The New Testament in Gulllah), 2005; however one may need the Gulluh Fuh Oonuh (Gullah For You), to accompany it. A quote from John 3:16: Cause God lob all de people een de wol sommuch dat e gii we e onliesst Son. God sen we um so dat ebryubody wa bleebe pon um ain gwine dead. Dey gwine lib faebamo.
Grace and Peace