Red Letter Edition

Red Letters

In the original texts of the Bible, there were no capital letters or colored words. There were no chapter divisions or numbered chapters. There were no verse divisions or numbered verses. There was no punctuation, such as a comma or colon for emphasis. All of these were later added by translators who wished to assist the reader in comprehension.

Our understanding of the text would decrease greatly if we did not have these helps, but along with the good intentions can come unintended consequences. Human beings tend toward tradition and even idolatry of whatever they become accustomed to, especially in the world of religion. Once something becomes the norm, then one becomes resistant to relinquishing the tradition, and sometimes even becomes competitive with other groups.

Commonplace today in America is the “Red Letter Edition” of the Bible where the supposed words of Jesus (Yahshua) are written in red letters in contrast to the black of the rest of scripture. One must remember, however, that the red print is what translators have determined that they believe are Jesus’ words and the red letters are the translator’s opinion!

Sadly, it is possible to speak to believers today who really believe that part of the Bible was truly written in red and not added later. They believe that these red words are superior to black words!

We must be careful not to elevate these red lettered words over the rest of scripture. All scripture is given by inspiration of God (Elohim) and not just red words or even the first five books of the Bible (“Torah”), as some seem to prefer. We should not give deference to one portion of the Word over another. The entire Bible is God’s Word, and is living and active. If we are speaking God’s Word, then it is inspired by the Set-Apart Spirit and is “God-breathed”. It carries authority and has inherent power because of its Source and the intention of the Almighty when given originally.

We must be careful not to add to or subtract from His Word! It is not wrong for someone to point out that a particular word was likely spoken by Jesus. However, if a convention used by a translator to enhance the meaning for the intended reader has the effect of adding an unintended meaning (such as one portion of scripture is more weighty or divine), then it is dangerously adding to His Word.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God (Yahweh your Elohim) which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“ALL SCRIPTURE All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17


2 thoughts on “Red Letter Edition”

  1. We have seen this by experience. We actually had to teach a family how to read and reconstruct their mind paths to accept what they were reading face value, as opposed to what they’d been taught in established ‘mind paths’ from the pulpits. They were blessed and amazed that they could now decipher truth.

  2. It’s amazing how we can read a passage and skip over paragraphs because our mind is set against its truth! I’ve done it myself, and it is liberating when I began to leave the programs of study and read for myself with the Teacher only to assist. The Holy Spirit will teach us if we allow Him.

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