Letters to a Young Believer

God’s Sovereignty in Hell

QN:

Dear Prof,

Greetings in His precious Name. Prof, I read in Psalm 139:8, a verse which speaks of God being present, even in hell. Is God also going to be present in hell and have sovereign rule in hell as well?

Thank you.

ANS:

Dear brother,

The answer to your question is this.

First, it is possible that the reference here is to the grave and the state of the dead. The OT uses the word sheol, which means either the place of everlasting punishment or the place of the dead: that is, the place of everlasting suffering, or the grave and the state of the soul existing without the body (either in heaven or in hell). That is the word used in Ps.139:8. The NT uses two words: hades which is the place of the dead and the so-called intermediate state, and gehenna, which is hell, the place of everlasting punishment.

If the meaning is hell itself, then the text reminds us that God is present even in hell. He is not present with His favor and love, but with His anger and wrath. He is present because by His providence He upholds the wicked and gives them their existence all the days of their life and on into hell, where they are everlastingly tormented. If the meaning is “the place of the dead,” then the idea is that death itself is God’s punishment for sin and that even in that disembodied state, God still upholds us and gives us our existence. This is true of the wicked and the righteous.

I think that probably the latter meaning is the meaning in Psalm 139:8.

Greetings and blessings, Prof

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Is the KJV Bible Infallible?

QN:

Dear Prof,

Do you think there are some parts of the KJV which stand to be corrected? Would those corrections enable us to better understand the Word? Which translations would you recommend me to read, so that I am able to have a better understanding?

Thank you.

ANS:

Dear brother,

 

There are only a very few places where the translators of the KJV could have done a better job, in my opinion. But these places are not only very few in number, they are places where the difference in translation makes no difference of any significance in the meaning, and surely does not touch on a doctrinal truth.

I was asked to speak on Bible translations a while ago and I made an extensive study of the KJV as compared to other versions, along with a detailed study of how the translators of the KJV actually worked. I was completely persuaded that the KJV is far and away the most accurate translation, that it is written in a timeless English that is still understandable today (apart from a few words, the meaning of which can be found in any good dictionary and in many Bibles), is the easiest by far to memorize, and is written in a magnificent rhythm that gives it a lasting beauty, dignity and sanctity. The whole project borders on the miraculous. You can read of it yourself in a pamphlet that I wrote on the subject and which is available on the PRC website. There is a book entitled “God’s Secretaries” which is very much a book worth reading.

If you want another translation that you could use, I would suggest you take a look at the Revised Standard Bible. The trouble is that people cannot judge the accuracy of a translation, and that is why I insist that the KJV is the most accurate of any translation in existence. The proliferation of translations is doing untold harm to the church. No one knows any more what the Word of God says, because the translations differ so much.

Greetings and blessings, Prof

Issue 10

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