Message 26 - By Jerry D. Green
Let Not, or Lest?
I believe there
is more gospel preached in the first eleven verses of Romans 6, than in
any other eleven verses of the entire Bible. However, a translation error in verse
12 actually nullifies the gospel truth of the preceding eleven verses
because of one mistranslated word. What a tragedy this is for all English
speaking people, for the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message
any person can ever hear; but as we will point out, even though the truth of
the gospel of Jesus Christ is
power of God unto salvation to every one…” who believes it
(Romans 1:16), it can also be severely decimated with a single, wrongly
translated word. If you will bear with me, and if God will grant the words, I
will attempt to explain these statements which are the reason for this message.
We’ll begin with II
Timothy 3:16. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, (and) for instruction in righteousness.” We continue with II Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy
of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in
old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by
the Holy Ghost.”
This we must
understand. It is the inspiration of God by His Holy Spirit that makes the
“Word of God” (“The Bible;” “The Holy Scriptures”) different from all other
writings. We must also understand that this inspiration did not and does not
extend beyond that first “man of God.” As most of you probably know, for
hundreds of years all copies of those original letters or writings were hand
written by mortal men. As you can imagine, this gigantic, arduous task gave
room for mistakes. No matter how dedicated and/or careful the writers were,
mistakes were bound to occur. Others, not so dedicated and careful, only
exacerbated the problem. I believe that in at least a couple of cases, some
well meaning person or persons even went so far as to ignorantly add complete
sentences in order to, in their mind, explain or expound upon the scriptures.
These things can happen, not only with those who make copies, but also with all
those who translate the scriptures to other languages. In the case of
translators, that which the translator himself believes will ultimately be the
deciding influence in the way any word or verse which is in doubt is
translated. But sincerity and well meaning can never be a substitute for
Now, with as few
interruptions as possible, let’s look at the beautiful gospel which the Apostle
Paul lays forth in Romans 6:1-11.
1. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may
2. God forbid. How shall we, that are
dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3. Know ye not, that so many of us as
were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4. Therefore we are buried with him by
baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the
glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5. For if we have been planted together
in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his
6. Knowing this, that our old man (our old sin nature) is crucified with Him (Christ), that the body (the whole)
of sin (both the sin nature and the
committing of sins) might be destroyed (rendered idle or inoperative; inactivated), that henceforth we
should not serve sin.
7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we
believe that we shall also live with him:
9. Knowing that Christ being raised from
the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10. For in that He died, He died unto sin
once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.
11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to
be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
glorious news to all who can believe it. But then comes verse 12 which
seems to completely contradict the previous 11 verses.
12. LET NOT sin therefore reign
in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
The first eleven
verses are pure, unadulterated gospel. It is a complete finished gospel, a
finished work which Christ has done for us. It is all we could ever need. Then comes verse 12, LET NOT,
and puts all the work back on us. But we
can’t LET NOT. If we could, we
wouldn’t need Jesus and that which He accomplished on that cross, on Calvary. So what happened? Why, all at once, does the message change? It took a little searching, but I know without
doubt that I discovered the answer to this question.
Let me first say,
I am not a Greek scholar and know very
little about the Greek language. I am
blessed, however, to be living in the age of computers and to have access to
the wonderful works of some brilliant men who were Greek scholars. One of these
men is Dr. James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D. We highly recommend that every student
of the Word have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the King James Bible,
with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries which work in
conjunction with each other. (For
information on how to obtain a free, electronic, KJV Bible and Strong’s Concordance,
see the NOTE at the end of this message.)
The first thing I
did in my search was to check out verse 12 in all the English
translations on my computer Bible program. There are at least two dozen. I
always do this to see how various translators deal with a particular word or
verse. Usually one or more translations will agree with what I believe to be
correct, but not in this case. EVERY translation basically said, LET NOT.
Next I went to my
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I discovered that the Greek word which was
translated LET NOT was #3361 in
Strong’s Concordance and the Strong’s Greek Dictionary gave the definition as:
“a primary particle of qualified negation; (adverbially) NOT, (conjunctionally) LEST;
also (as an interrogative implying a negative answer) whether.”
In this I discovered, as with many English words, Greek words can also have
different meanings and can be used in different ways.
Then, for those
like myself who may not have been strong in Grammar, I looked up conjunction
in “The American Heritage Dictionary.” It says conjunction means “the act of
joining.” In other words, a conjunction is a word that ties two thoughts or
phrases together. I’m sure most anyone
adept in English already knows this.
Again, as most
Bible scholars will know, the original texts did not have verse numbers, punctuation
marks, or, the words of Christ in red. All of these were added many centuries later
by persons other than the original writers and have been a great blessing to all
Bible scholars since. By this time I had
began to see something I already knew to be true. Verses 11 and 12
should read like this;
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, LEST sin
therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts
thereof.” Praise God! Verse 12
doesn’t destroy the gospel of the previous verses at all, but rather, confirms
it. For outside of faith in Jesus Christ
and the true gospel of Him, sin will reign in your mortal body.
I didn’t stop my
search at that point, but everywhere I checked, this which I had discovered was
confirmed. “Thayer’s” simply gave the definition of the Greek word as no,
not, and lest while “Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical
Words” gave the definition as: “a negative particle, often used as a
conjunction, (and) is frequently translated “lest.” Everywhere I
checked there was at least one definition of the word as “lest.” So it
wasn’t as though the translators didn’t know this. Also, none of the popular
commentators I checked offered any objection to the translation, but simply
went about giving their comments on what they evidently accepted as correct. How is it then that they all missed what must
be the correct translation? I believe the answer to that question is given by
the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 17-21.
17. “For Christ sent me not to baptize,
but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, LEST the cross of
Christ should be made of none effect.
18. For the preaching of the cross is to
them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of
God (to save us from our sin and sins;
Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Romans 1:16).
19. For it is written, I will destroy the
wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20. Where is the wise? where is the
scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made
foolish the wisdom of this world?
21. For after that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness
(the gospel of Jesus
Christ) to save them that believe (the glorious message of that which He accomplished on that cross).” Worldly wisdom, no matter how wise, can never comprehend the
wisdom of God which is the foolishness of preaching “…the gospel…” of Jesus Christ and the “…shedding of (His) blood.”
The “wise” translators and commentators simply could not believe the
simplicity (II Corinthians 11:3) of the glorious gospel of that
which Jesus did for us at Calvary. I
now ask a very simple question; CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
Message 26 - Let Not or Lest?
NOTE! We highly recommend
that every student of the Word have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
and a King James Bible; which
work in conjunction with each other. If you have access to the Web, FREE
downloads of an electronic KJV Bible and Strong’s Concordance are available at www.e-sword.net. Just click Links on our navigation bar,
then under FREE Bible Study Tools, click www.e-sword.net. These tools make bible study easier and much
more rewarding. JDG
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