The Cure for Writer’s Block

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have not been writing much in the last few weeks. Maybe it’s just a season in my life, or maybe it’s just that writing takes a lot of work (if you want to do it well).

So, this morning I decided I would try to write, but I didn’t know what to write about! How could this be? Are there not enough stories in the news? Have there not been any blessings to share? Have I not heard any funny jokes?

Do I have writer’s block?

Well, if I did, I don’t anymore! Because I decided to write about having writer’s block.

The cure for writer’s block is writing about having writer’s block. Something’s bound to come from it.

It’s sort of like praise. When you don’t think you’ve got anything to praise God for, just praise Him anyway, and then all the reasons will come.

Praise God for mercy, grace, and love. Thank Him for Bethlehem, Golgotha, and the empty grave. Thank the Lord…praise Jesus…for no matter what you’re going through today, still His promises remain true, His faithfulness is everlasting, and you’re not alone!

I can thank Him for writer’s block.



Filed under blogging, Thanksgiving, worship, writing

Dear South Africa

I know I’m American – and white- so I don’t suppose I have a dog in this fight. Nevertheless, dear South Africa, I just don’t get what you’re thinking. I want to understand, but I doubt I will, because all I can think right now is “What the blank are you thinking?!!!”

The decision by South Africa to take all land from white landowners without any compensation is as stupid as giving one’s life savings to a telephone scammer promising a ten million-dollar prize, and the whole decision blows my mind.

I saw with my own eyes what that did to Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are starving because of it!

Now, what will you do when YOUR economy tanks? With all the instability that your continent is notorious for, how long will you be able to maintain peace?

Good grief, people! I just ordered some Nando’s Peri Peri hot sauce! Zimbabwe depends on many of your products. How do you think this idiotic move is going to impact the rest of Africa when you wind up no better off than the barren farmlands of Zimbabwe?

Stupid, stupid move South Africa. Totally stupid.

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“By” or “Through”: That’s the Question (An Examination of John 1:3)


Tuesday morning, after a cup of coffee with some great, godly men in our community, I was standing out in the parking lot of a local restaurant discussing the morning’s plans. It was during this short conversation that the subject matter briefly switched to that of Bible translations.

There we were, standing by the cab of a pickup truck when one of these men – a great friend to our family and church – said something akin to the following:

“The reason I will only use the King James Bible can be illustrated by the change in one word, and that word is found in the first chapter of John. There, the King James Version says, ‘all things were made by Jesus,’ but every other version – every single one – changes that word ‘by’ to ‘through.’ I have a problem with that. As I see it, there’s a big difference between ‘by’ and ‘through.’ Either everything was made by Jesus, or it wasn’t.” (Again, this was not an exact quote, but close.)

Therefore, it might take more than the average 500-word blog post to unpack, but I want to address this apparent conflict between “by” and “through” as found in John 1:3.

Doing the Research

You know, the last thing one should do when confronted with an unknown is say to the one making the assertion, “Nuh uh!” Right after my friend said what he did about every other translation of the Bible changing “by” to “through,” I pulled out my iPhone and pulled up

Seeing what I was doing, the gentleman goaded me a little and said with a slight chuckle, “You gotta look that one up, don’t ya?” I grinned as I nodded…the subject changed back to hardware for about 30 seconds…then we went our separate ways.

But I did look it up. It wasn’t difficult to do, either. The Bible-study tools we have access to in an instant, even on our smartphones, are literally mind-blowing. At no other time in history have we had so much knowledge available so quickly right in the palms of our hands. Therefore, it didn’t take more than a few seconds to learn that my friend’s assertions were spot on… The KJV was actually the only one to render John 1:3 with a “by,” not a “through.”

For example:

  • John 1:3 (KJV) – All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • (NKJV) – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
  • (NIV) – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
  • (ESV) – All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • (CSB) – All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

Yes, I did my research, and what I found was that my friend’s assertion was true: every other translation of the Bible changed the word “by” to “through.” However, my research wasn’t complete; it was time to consult the original languages.

It’s All Greek

Like I said above, the study tools we have these days are amazing, and there’s really no good excuse for any Bible student to claim ignorance. For example, if all one had was access to one online tool such as, then what used to take hours of study could be done in mere moments. Then if you add to that all the other free websites available, including what’s available from online libraries, and then throw in some relatively inexpensive (but voluminous) programs like Logos, oh… my… goodness! It’s hard to comprehend how blessed we are!

So, when it became obvious that “by” had been replaced by “through,” I decided to take the next logical step and look up the source of the translations in question: the original Greek word, διά (dē-ä’).

It may sound unbelievable to you, but there are still people out there who think Jesus spoke Elizabethan English. However, the Bible was not originally written in the language of Shakespeare. In actuality, John 1:3 was written in Greek, so “by” and “through” are only translations of the Greek word διά (Strong’s G1223).

The next question should then be: “What does dia mean?”

Grab Your Concordance

Well, every Bible student should have a Strong’s Concordance in his personal library, even if his library only consisted of a Bible and one other book. Therefore, let’s take a look at Strong’s and see what we find.

G1223: διά diá, dee-ah’; a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal, or occasional):—after, always, among, at, to avoid, because of (that), briefly, by, for (cause) … fore, from, in, by occasion of, of, by reason of, for sake, that, thereby, therefore, × though, through(-out), to, wherefore, with (-in).

According to Strong’s Concordance, dia is a word that denotes “the channel of an act; through…” Therefore, is it really an act of theological sabotage to translate John 1:3 with through instead of by?

Is it possible that Jesus was the One through whom God the Father made all things?

You see, it is not heresy to say that the Father made all that is through Jesus, the Word of God. No, it is actually MORE theologically sound and true to Jesus’ own words to say that He was the agency or “channel” of creation, rather than the one acting unilaterally in creation. Why do I say this? Consider the actual words of Jesus as recorded by John…

  • John 4:34 (KJV) – Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
  • John 5:19 (KJV) – Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
  • John 6:38 (KJV) – For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

If Jesus had acted alone and created all things by Himself, then His own words would expose a critical inconsistency. The fact seems to be that even though Jesus was and is God, the Second Person of the Trinity, He still had to act in accordance with the will of the Father, and therefore saying “all things were created through Him” is more theologically consistent with the nature of the Trinitarian understanding of the Godhead.

A Dose of Commentary

I learned a long time ago that commentaries can be very useful if used properly; I go to them after I have already read the Scripture and done all the exegesis I can do with the study tools at hand. Therefore, it was only after I did the above study that I consulted several scholarly commentaries. For the benefit of this discussion and for your edification, allow me to share the following directly from the sources.

The New American Commentary: John 1-11

The preposition dia (“through”), used in connection with creation here, should not be taken to mean that the Logos is essentially inferior to God, as the Arians argued. But the early Christians, in attempting to discuss simultaneously the work of both the Father and the Son in creation, sometimes tried to hold both together through the use of two prepositions. The Father’s activity was linked with the preposition ek, which carries the sense of “origin,” and the Son’s activity was linked with the preposition dia, which carries the sense of “mediation” (e.g., the early Christian creedal statement in 1 Cor 8:6; also see Heb 1:2 for the use of dia).

The Pulpit Commentary: St. John (Vol. 1)

In asserting that the Logos is he or that through whom all things were made, the writer does not lower the dignity of the Logos by regarding him merely as the οργανον of the Father, because the same preposition is used of the relation of the Father to the world or to his servants (Rom. 11:36; Gal. 1:1; Heb. 2:10). Elsewhere St. Paul powerfully affirms the same application of διά (1 Cor. 8:6) to Christ’s part in the Creation, reserving for the One God, the Father, the preposition ἐκ. From God and by or through God are all things, still “all things” derive their existence “through” the activity, the will, the thought, of the Logos.

Word Studies in the New Testament (Marvin R. Vincent)

By Him (διʼ αὐτοῦ). Lit., through him. The preposition dia is generally used to denote the working of God through some secondary agency, as διὰ τοῦ προφήτου, through the prophet (Matt. 1:22, on which see note).* It is the preposition by which the relation of Christ to creation is usually expressed (see 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2), though it is occasionally used of the Father (Heb. 2:10; Rom. 11:36, and Gal. 1:1, where it is used of both). Hence, as Godet remarks, it “does not lower the Word to the rank of a simple instrument,” but merely implies a different relation to creation on the part of the Father and the Son.

Again, it would seem to me that it is more theologically sound to translate John 1:3 the way all the other translations do it as opposed to the KJV.

Right or Wrong?

But after all that has been said, was the King James Version’s translators wrong in their use of the word by instead of through? Actually, no.

You see, the whole reason we have newer translations of the Bible is because the English language changes over time. Some words have different meanings today than they used to, and that is why we rarely speak of wearing our “gay clothing” to church, or “fetch[ing] a compass” as we travel (Num. 34:5).

At the time the KJV translators did their work, the meaning of “by” was probably more nuanced than today and would have been understood by the reader of the day to have the same depth of meaning as “through.” However, for the modern reader, by implies more of a literal meaning. For example, if my daughter made a wooden elephant figurine, and if you asked who made it, I could answer, “It was made BY Haley.” If we applied the same meaning to the “by” in John 1:3, then we would literally be on the road to heresy, for Jesus did not act unilaterally (own His own), but by the will of the Father (John 5:19).

So, by may have been the best word for the verse in the 17th-19th centuries, but through better conveys the Truth to those in the 21st.


Without a doubt, the translators of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible were men of superior capability. I dare say that finding modern scholars and intellects with similar credentials would be exceedingly difficult. Therefore, because they did such a great work, it would be wise to consider their words when debating the heart of this discussion.

Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place … Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue (the modern, common way of speaking), the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well (which was deep) [John 4:11] without a bucket or something to draw with…”

“For is the kingdom of God become words or syllables? why should we be in bondage to them if we may be free…?”

 – from: “The Translators to the Reader,” a prefix attached to the original 1611 edition.

It really boils down to this: What does the Bible really say? Sometimes we have to set aside our preconceived notions in order to honestly exegete Scripture. The last thing we want to do is let a literary bias lend support to a faulty theology, even if our intentions are noble.

Ultimately, though, Jesus is the Door “through” whom we must enter; there is no other Way to the Father. If a translation can’t make that clear, then we have a problem.

So, let me say “Thanks” to my friend. Without his comment, I’d never walked down this rabbit trail 😉 


Filed under Bible Study, Theology, translations

Saturday Night View

View of the church I pastor from the back door of the Parsonage.

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If You Don’t Want My Opinion, Don’t Read This Post – You Might Be Offended

My Opinions

My opinions are my opinions, and I don’t want you to feel like I’m forcing you to accept them.

Wait…If you feel like I’m forcing you to accept my opinions, what kind of mental midget are you? Good grief! I’m so tired of worrying about the fragile feelings of infantile adults who cry quicker than a baby who’s lost her pacifier. If you can be forced to accept my opinions, then you’re too weak to argue for your own and should just go back to kindergarten or take a nap in your cradle.

MY opinions are just that…mine. If you don’t like them, move on. Believe me, if I don’t like your opinions, I’m certainly not going to feel obligated to affirm their validity; I’ll just say “next” and move on.

So, what I am going to share in this post is not necessarily the views and opinions of other people with whom I associate. Take them for what they are worth, but you don’t have to approve.


I know I have friends in the UK, Australia, and other places where guns of all kinds are either forbidden or tightly restricted. It is not my intention to offend any of you guys, so stop reading right here if the subject content is apt to “trigger” you (pun intended).

But here’s a fact: Guns are not evil.

Guns are no more evil than alcohol, drugs, or automobiles. In the same way alcohol doesn’t pour itself down our throats and drugs don’t crawl into needles and attack us, guns don’t kill people without a human being getting involved. Automobiles? Well, who knows what self-driving cars will do?

Therefore, calling for the ban of certain weapons – or any weapon, for that matter – after a tragedy like a school or church shooting, does NOTHING to address the evil that does exist in the heart of the one who kills innocents.

Take away guns and you’ll still have murderers. You had them before guns were invented, didn’t you? Did Cain kill Able with a .45 cal.? No. Are we going to ban rocks?

Guns In America

Folks, I live in the United States of America. Like it or not, guns have been a part of our DNA since before the Second Amendment was penned with a quill. Guns will always be a part of our culture, no matter how many times Europeans try to chastise and shame us into getting rid of them. Remember, we would still be paying taxes to England if we’d not had them.

Face it, folks…even if you tried to outlaw guns in America, you’d never get rid of them all. Never. Besides the fact that there would be so many immediately hidden, you’d have to go door-to-door to confiscate the majority of them – and there are tens of millions of them – and a lot of folk wouldn’t take too kindly to that.

If, by some stretch of the imagination, you were able to outlaw guns of every shape, size, and caliber…and if all law-abiding, patriotic, God-fearing citizens decided to comply with the insanity and surrender their weapons…who do you think would still have access to millions of pistols, rifles, shotguns, and those dreaded AR-15s? Those who already refuse to submit to or abide by the law! The criminals!!

If criminals and murderers already don’t care about the law, what’s a new law going to do to stop them?

As I have written previously…

You could take away all the guns, but you’ll still have a disease that’s going to find a way to steal, kill, and destroy. No law, no matter how strict, is going to turn a lawbreaker into a law-abiding citizen.

Until you address the heart and soul issues, your only solution will end up being totalitarian control. When the law of God is written on the hearts of men, there’s no need for external restraints; the constraints are internal. But when the only law written on the heart is the law of Self, there’s no restraint sufficient to make a man love his neighbor.

So, ban all the guns you want, but in the context of this country, combined with the facts of human nature, you will never stop gun violence, only encourage the violent lawbreakers to prey on the law-keepers.

Protecting Our Students at School

Folks, I’m about sick of the way the media is controlling the conversation. They don’t want real answers; they want gun control, pure and simple. If it wasn’t about gun control and the opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy to achieve it, then why don’t they encourage protests and walk-outs over a thousand other things?

How much money is spent on sports? How much money is spent developing new ways to teach diversity? How many billions of tax dollars do we spend each year to produce inferior graduates? Where does all the money go? How much money is spent on actual safety upgrades?

As for arming teachers, YES!! Absolutely!

I recently heard an idiot on CNN claim that President Trump wants to put guns in the hands of every teacher. The lying, misleading, fact-twisting, Trump-hating propagandist then began to call it “insanity!” No, what’s insane was his clinically deranged hatred being allowed to suggest that a properly-trained, devoted, life-sacrificing teacher wouldn’t be effective in saving the lives of children when a killer’s on the loose. Insanity is thinking that throwing erasers at a shooter is no less effective than a courageous teacher with a concealed 9mm.

No one with any common sense is suggesting that ALL teachers in schools should be given weapons. What IS being suggested is that willing and qualified teachers should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon for the purpose of defense and deterrence. There is nothing crazy about that.

A Prediction

Before I go – and I must – let me make a prediction. Actually, I’ve made this prediction several times in the past, but no one will listen to me.

Before you ever make any progress on getting rid of guns, one day there will be a shooting with a gun carried into the school inside a band instrument case. Some kid is going to bring in a stash of weapons hidden inside his trumpet or tuba case, and no one is going to see it coming. He or she is going to walk right through all of the safety measures and bring loaded firearms into the school and right into the classrooms.

Why? Because it’s illegal in most schools to do random searches of lockers and personal items. Therefore, some kid is going to figure this out (I’m sure they already have) and someone is going to die. All because we are too scared to hurt a child’s feelings, or appear to be profiling.

Those are my opinions for the day. I hope we’re still friends.


Filed under America, community, current events

If Children Ruled the World

Listen to the Children

Believe it or not, there are many who swear that true wisdom can be found in the words of young children. Especially in the aftermath of the last school shooting in Florida, political activists are jumping on the opportunity to drag them to state capitals and the White House.

Forget the need for a lifetime of experience…forget that the ones to whom some of these teens are mouthing off to have more security clearances than the Avengers…forget the idea of listing to one’s elders…listen to the wisdom of those who just learned to wear pull-ups and cut their own meat.

If we did what they wanted us to do – listen to the children – what would the world, or at least our country be like?

* No one would ever workexcept those who need to work so that others would not have to work.

* Every day would be Christmas, Halloween, and summer vacationas long as someone else buys the gifts, provides the candy, and drives them to the beach.

* There would be peace on earth and no more warsexcept when someone disrespects you or takes your candy.

* Everything should be available for the asking whenever it is wantedas long as we don’t have to be the ones providing it for someone else.

* There would be no need for multiple television channelsonly DisneyNickelodeonMTV, VH1, or Netflix (when not watching internet porn on smartphones, or sexting each other before hooking up). 

* Everyone would have everything they always wanted, whether they needed it, or notand still act like brats that never get anything they want and are always mistreated.

* No one would ever eat at home, only restaurantsthen complain about their weight.

* Education, if desired, would be determined by what the child thought was important … like “Queer Translation (UC Berkeley 250)” and “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media (Skidmore College).” Don’t believe me? Just Google it.

* Teachers, Doctors, Policemen, School Teachers, and Ministers would be disrespected and malignedwhile movie stars, rap and rock stars, and vulgar athletes would be deified.

* Animals would be considered equal with humansexcept when it came to leather clothing and Happy Meals.

* Hate would be outlawedunless you’re a policeman, a member of the NRA, a conservative Christian, or if you dare disagree with a crumb-crunching skull full of impressionable Silly Putty. 


Wait! Maybe the children are already in charge!

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown



Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations

HELL…It’s Not Just a Curse Word

Believe me, it’s not an easy subject to discuss, even though millions of people every day use it as a curse word. However, if Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven, don’t you think we should, too?

Some people accuse us preachers of making this stuff up in order to scare people. Others, like Bertrand Russell, reject Christianity because of Christ’s teaching on the subject. Nevertheless, it’s clearly biblical, and it’s clearly horrible, so how can we say we love people if we don’t warn them?

If you can spare the time, I invite you to listen to the sermon I preached this past Sunday morning. Should you become concerned about the fate of your soul, I would encourage you to go to the “Eternal Life” page on this blog for further information.

If you find the attached sermon helpful, please share it with someone who needs to hear.

Click on the picture for link to the audio.



Filed under Bible Study, Life/Death, Preaching