The Not-For-Today Version of the Bible
Since the end of the 7th century, there have been over 450 versions of the Bible translated into English! In spite of the many versions of the Bible available today, there is one that is not on the market, but is used by multitudes of believers and unbelievers. I call it the "Not-For-Today Version."
One man, who calls himself a conservative atheist, uses this version. He said, “The Bible is just not for today. To be made to fit a civilized society, it must be watered down, reinterpreted, and compromised. It fits neither the culture, nor the education levels of this generation, despite a growing number of exceptions who choose to remain ignorant and backwoods-ish by way of educational preference. Except among those who are stubbornly wound up in it as a belief system, the Bible has no appeal.”
Sincere believers and highly trained bible teachers have looked at the kingdom of heaven and the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5-7, which we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount, and have declared, “The kingdom is postponed and the teachings of Jesus in these chapters is not for today, but for the Jews in the Millennium.
Many evangelical believers would agree with one of their own as he declared, “The Apostolic Signs are not for today, because they were only for confirming the word of God to the unbelieving Jews in the first century.”
Many prominent pastors and seminary professors vehemently assert that the baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the accompanying gifts, is not for today. Some go even further and say it is wrong, or demonic.
Those who advocate that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today say that when the Bible as we know it today was canonized “that which is perfect” came and so the gifts or the supernatural manifestations of God are not needed anymore.
For many years the Bible that I read and taught from was the Not-For-Today Version. As the footnotes of my Bible explained, so I maintained and proclaimed that apostles, prophets, divine healings, miracles, and supernatural signs and wonders had all passed away and were just not for today. Although I, and multitudes like me, claimed to believe the entire Bible, yet we thought and taught that much of the work of God described in the Bible is not for today; that some things that were available for God’s people during Bible days are not available for believers today because they have ceased, or with all our access to technology, higher education, scientific and medical advances, coupled with our abilities to rightly divide the Word of Truth, we just don’t need them anymore. I had been taught and then I taught for years that the manifestations of God’s power had “passed away” and were not for today.
But through a serious of divine appointments, I was benevolently ambushed by the Holy Spirit and was lovingly compelled to discard the “that’s not for today” version of interpreting scripture. When I did, the Bible came alive to me, and the power of God became available and operative in me and through me.
Jesus declared that the Church, as His Body, was to function in the same living, breathing, walking, talking, saving, healing, delivering way that He did in His physical body when he lived here for 33 ½ years. In fact He said that the Church would not only do the works that he did, but even greater works because He was going away in body only to come back in the person of the Holy Spirit. For the first three hundred years of church history, we see His words being fulfilled. Then the not-for-today version of scripture begin to find extensive use and the power and plan of God was perverted, inverted, and diverted to such an extent that the Church has yet to recover.
The Word of God reveals that the Spirit of God gave the Church of the Living God a supernatural entrance and will give her a supernatural exit. Therefore the Church must live a supernatural existence and experience. The Church may employ Madison Avenue tactics to draw the masses, but there won’t be any miracles. And without the obvious presence of the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit, we will boast about being many for God, but we won’t be much for God! We can convince unbelievers by the power of our reasoning that God exists, but only the Holy Spirit can convict and bring the revelation that God can be known by personal experience.
John Piper went on record as not believing in -the-not-for-today version of Scripture: "I am one of those Baptist General Conference people who believes that "signs and wonders" and all the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are valid for today and should be "earnestly desired" (1 Corinthians 14:1) for the edification of the church and the spread of the gospel. I agree with the words of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preached in 1965: 'It is perfectly clear that in New Testament times, the gospel was authenticated in this way by signs, wonders and miracles of various characters and descriptions.... Was it only meant to be true of the early church?... The Scriptures never anywhere say that these things were only temporary – never! There is no such statement anywhere.'"
Piper concludes his sermon by declaring: "Signs and wonders" in the New Testament were not the prerogative of apostles only. The "seventy" performed them (Luke 10:9,17), deacons performed them (Acts 6:8; 8:6), Galatian Christians performed them (Galatians 3:5), Corinthian Christians performed them (1 Corinthians 12:9-10). Since signs and wonders were not the prerogative of the apostles, there is no New Testament warrant for inferring that these miracles were to cease after the apostolic age.
"In fact, I want to argue in this section that the New Testament teaches that spiritual gifts (including the more obviously supernatural or revelatory ones like prophecy and tongues) will continue until Jesus comes. The use of such gifts (miracles, faith, healings, prophecy, etc) give rise to what may sometimes be called "signs and wonders." Therefore signs and wonders are part of the blessing we should pray for today.
"There is no text in the New Testament that teaches the cessation of these gifts. But more important than this silence is the text that explicitly teaches their continuance until Jesus comes, namely, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12."
Did God withdraw all the miraculous gifts because they were no longer needed? If so which ones? John Wesley answered these questions in 1750:
“The real reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not because there was no longer any need for them, but because the love of many, if not most Christians was waxed cold and the Christians were turned heathen again and had only dead form left.” He went on to say, “Another reason the miraculous gifts ceased to function was because dry, formal, orthodox men began to ridicule whatever gifts they didn’t have and to declare them all as evil madness or imposture.”
Why do so many reject the gifts of the Spirit that are miraculous in nature? Because the gifts were wrapped in a bad package; because they had never experienced personally or seen practically the gifts in operation; because of unbelief; and many because they were taught to read and make application of the Word of God from the Not-For-Today Versions!
Will you not discard the Not-For-Today Version of the Bible you have been reading, repent of unbelief, and make this confession with me:
Unbelief says some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here, some other people, but not us. I begin today to confess in faith that whatever God did some other time, He is willing to do now; whatever He did some other place, He is willing to do here; whatever He did for any other people, He is willing to do for us, NOW!