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Tim Challies

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March 2004

March 26, 2004

Congratulations to my little sister Susanna and her new fiance, Rick, as they got engaged just a few hours ago. Rumor has it they may be looking to get married as soon as this fall! Susanna is the middle one of my three sisters and, appropriately, the second to get engaged. Note to Susanna and Rick: I know I don’t really get a vote, but if you want my input, I’d recommend getting married in the Toronto area rather than making me drive all the way down to Atlanta.

In other, less exciting news, I found Wild at Heart on sale at my local Christian bookstore and decided to pick it up. I have had loads of people ask me if I have read it and after this weekend I hope to be able to finally answer “yes.” The back cover makes it sound almost identical to Six Battles Every Man Must Win so I will be interested to see the differences. I was certainly not impressed with the only other of Eldredge’s books I have read (The Sacred Romance) and hope this one is more theologically sound. I can’t deny I am a tad suspicious of it, but will try to be as open-minded as I can.

March 26, 2004

This is part twenty six in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn what God has to say in this book about wisdom and discernment. Yesterday I learned the value of being humble. It is far better to begin humble and be exalted than to begin proud and be brought to shame. I also saw that wisdom will teach moderation.

There is so much wisdom in today’s chapter that I hardly know where to begin!

Verses 3 through 12 all speak about fools and the consequences their folly will bring to them. I found verses 4 and 5 particularly interesting for they seem to directly contradict each other. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.” How is it that these two verses can both display wisdom even though they seem to express opposite viewpoints? I believe the answer lies in the fact that no proverb will apply to every situation in life. While proverbs are pearls of wisdom, they are not always absolute statements. So when examining proverbs we must be careful to apply them properly. In this case we see that while we need to avoid falling into the trap of becoming foolish by answering foolishly, and thus becoming like the fool, at the same time we sometimes have to expose the fool’s folly so he is seen for what he is.

The next 4 verses speak of the character of foolish men. “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.” Foolish men are untrustworthy. To entrust an important task to a foolish man is not wise, for it will damage me in the end. I am begging for trouble if I do this. “Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” A foolish man simply cannot grasp wisdom. As the legs of a man who is lame hang limply, so a proverb is useless to a fool. He will not and cannot understand wisdom. “Like one who binds a stone in a sling is he who gives honor to a fool.” The absurd notion of tying a stone in a sling, rendering it completely useless, illustrates the folly of giving honor to a fool. It would be ridiculous for me to pay homage to a foolish person. Strangely, as soon as I read this verse I thought of Hollywood and the way celebrities love to laud each other. They love to display their own folly and celebrate the folly of others. “Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” In this verse we see the illustration of a man who is so drunk that he does not even realize that he has pushed a thorn deep into his hand. Similarly, wisdom will have no effect on a man who is drunk with his folly. In early verses we have read that wisdom pierces a wise man to his soul, yet wisdom merits a foolish man nothing.

In verse 11 we read a passage that Peter later repeats in one of his epistles. “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” These are such powerful (and disgusting) words! All of us sin, so all of us can think of times that we, like a dog returning to its vomit, have returned to our sin. Rather than learning from our past mistakes, we return to them time and again. And isn’t that just the cycle of sin…

The thirteenth to sixteenth verses speak of lazy men, repeating several proverbs that have appeared earlier. “As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.” As I read this verse I could picture an old, rusty hinge lazily turning back and forth, groaning in protest with each movement. That is exactly the picture the author wished to portray to describe lazy men. The next verse is similar. “The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.” This proverb reminded me of the children’s movie Toy Story 2. In that story there is a fat, obnoxious villain who steals a valuable toy. In one scene he falls asleep on his couch while eating a bowl of cheezies (don’t you call them cheese doodles in the US of A?). His hand, covered in that vile orange cheese power rests in the bowl as he sleeps. So the lazy man may make the effort to put his hand to the bowl, but will be too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. His laziness is so complete that it will keep him from even taking care of his basic needs.

“The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” This verse shows the delusions of foolish men. They are so convinced of their wisdom that they will not heed the advice of any number of people who disagree with them. I do not think there is any particular significance in using the number seven in this instance, except to show a significant number. The point is this: folly breeds delusion.

I know a man who is delusional in his folly. He is so sure of his beliefs that he will fight and argue endlessly to defend them. He has an overwhelming self-confidence and at the same time displays a terrible lack of humility. Most rational people have long since stopped even trying to speak with him, for his folly has consumed him. It is a terrible testament to the power of foolishness.

The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on the twenty sixth chapter of Proverbs, here is what I have learned:

  • Proverbs do not apply to every situation, so I need to be careful in my application.
  • I need to be careful around foolish men, for they are untrustworthy and simply unable to understand wisdom.
  • Laziness is a proof of foolishness.
  • Folly breeds delusion.
March 25, 2004

A friend recently asked me for my thoughts on spiritual gifts and particulary, on spiritual gift assessments. I had taken these assessments in the past and, though I found them interesting, found they had little impact on my life. I found that they just discovered the obvious (yes, I like to teach and no, I generally do not visit the elderly and widows). I had to admit, to my shame, that I had never taken time to study spiritual gifts and form a belief on what they are, how they are dispensed, and so on. In my defense, I had never even heard the term “spiritual gifts” until a couple of years ago because the Reformed churches I grew up in placed no emphasis on them.

As I began to research them I found one strange thing: it seems no one can agree about these gifts. It seems everyone has a different list of the gifts and even a different idea of how and when they are dispensed. One thing they all agree on is that these gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to believers after they become Christians. Some argue the gifts are given immediately and others believe they are given at baptism. The Bible lists only a few gifts (see 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and 12:1-11) and some assessments list far more. The following is a typical list:

Administration: the gift that enables a believer to formulate, direct, and carry out plans necessary to fulfill a purpose. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:28, Acts 14:23.

Artistry:  the gift that gives the believer the skill of creating artistic expressions that produce a spiritual response of strength and inspiration. Biblical References: Exodus 31:1-11, Psalm 149:3a.

Discernment:  the gift that motivates a believer to seek God’s will and purpose and apply that understanding to individual and congregational situations. Biblical References: John 16:6-15, Romans 9:1, I Corinthians 2:9-16.

Evangelism:  the gift that moves believers to reach nonbelievers in such a way that they are baptized and become active members of the Christian community. Biblical References: Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 4:11- 16, Acts 2:36-40.

Exhortation:  the gift that moves the believer to reach out with Christian love and presence to people in personal conflict of facing a spiritual void. Biblical References: John 14:1, II Timothy 1:16-18, III John 5-8.

Faith:  the gift that gives a believer the eyes to see the Spirit at work and the ability to trust the Spirit’s leading without indication of where it all might lead. Biblical References: Genesis 12:1-4a, Mark 5:25-34, I Thessalonians 1:8-10.

Giving: the gift that enables a believer to recognize God’s blessings and to respond to those blessings by generously and sacrificially giving of one’s resources (time, talent, and treasure). Biblical References: II Corinthians 9:6-15, Luke 21:1-4.

Hospitality: the gift that causes a believer to joyfully welcome and receive guests and those in need of food and lodging. Biblical References: Romans 12:13, Romans 16:23a, Luke 10:38.

Intercession:  the gift that enables a believer to pray with the certainty that prayer is heard and when requests are made, answers will come. Biblical References: Matthew 6:6-15, Luke 11:1-10, Ephesians 6:18.

Knowledge: the gift that drives a person to learn, analyze and uncover new insights with regard to the Bible and faith. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:8; I Corinthians 14:6, Romans 12:2.

Leadership:  the gift that gives a believer the confidence to step forward, give direction and provide motivation to fulfill a dream or complete a task. Biblical References: Romans 12:8, John 21:15-17, II Timothy 4:1-5.

Mercy:  the gift that motivates a believer to feel deeply for those in physical, spiritual, or emotional need and then act to meet that need. Biblical References: Luke 7:12-15, Luke 10:30-37, Matthew 25:34-36. 

Music—Vocal:  the gift that gives a believer the capability and opportunity to present personal witness and inspiration to others through singing. Biblical References: Psalm 96:1-9, Psalm 100:1-2, Psalm 149:1-2.

Music—Instrumental:  the gift that inspires a believer to express personal faith and provide inspiration and comfort through the playing of a musical instrument. Biblical References: Psalm 33:1-5, Psalm 150, I Samuel 16:14-23.

Pastoring (Shepherding):   the gift that gives a believer the confidence, capability and compassion to provide spiritual leadership and direction for individuals or groups of believers. Biblical References: I Timothy 4:12-16, I Timothy 3:1-13, II Timothy 4:1-2.

Service (Helps):  the gift that enables a believer to work gladly behind the scenes in order that God’s work is fulfilled. Biblical References: Luke 23:50-54, Romans 16:1-16, Philippians 2:19-23.

Skilled Craft:   the gift that enables a believer to create, build, maintain or repair items used within the church. Biblical References: Exodus 30:1-6, Exodus 31:3-5, Ezekiel 27:4-11.

Teaching:   the gift that enables a believer to communicate a personal understanding of the Bible and faith in such a way that it becomes clear and understood by others. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:28, Matthew 5:1-12, Acts 18:24-48.

Wisdom:   the gift that allows the believer to sort through opinions, facts and thoughts in order to determine what solution would be best for the individual believer or the community of believers. Biblical References: I Corinthians 2:6-13, James 3:13-18, II Chronicles 1:7-11.

Writing:   the gift that gives a believer the ability to express truth in a written form; a form that can edify, instruct and strengthen the community of believers. Biblical References: I John 2:1-6, 12-14, I Timothy 3:14-15,
Jude 3.

This list was taken from this assessment. I found it interesting that several of the gifts are only proof-texted by the Old Testament which was written before the Spirit was given to believers.

I took a couple of the surveys that are available online and found them quite similar to ones I have taken in the past. The general format is between 30 to 50 multiple choice questions, most of which can be answered on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 meaning the description does not fit me at all and 4 meaning it is exactly like me). For example, I took this test which tells me my primary spiritual gift is knowledge which it describes as follows:

The gift of knowledge allows people to automatically convert facts, data, and information into useful and important knowledge. People possessing this gift can learn in a variety of ways, retain what they learn, and understand how learning can be applied in meaningful and productive ways. Those gifted with knowledge have a voracious and insatiable desire to learn more, and they seek multiple avenues for deepening their understanding of God’s world, God’s will, and God’s people.

[For an example of this gift in popular media] See the good, the bad, and the ugly side of knowledge in Matt Damon’s character in the film Good Will Hunting.

Though I digress, I would like to point out an obvious conflict between gifts of the spirit and a movie like Good Will Hunting which, being full of swearing and sex, is hardly compatible with the Spirit.

A question I had to ask myself is this: Is there any Biblical model for searching for spiritual gifts? James Sundquist researched this and discovered the following:

I can’t find one single Scripture that says finding our gift was EVER a problem for the Church.

I can’t find one single Scripture that instructs us how to find our gift.

I can’t find any historical account that finding our gift was a problem for the Church.

I can’t find any historical account that finding our gift was a problem for Church Fathers.

Anything we do in Christ is not through our strengths, but is perfected in weakness.

I can’t find one single Scripture which uses a subjective balance of weighing our strengths and weaknesses to determine our Gift(s) of the Holy Spirit.

I can’t find one single Scripture that uses personality or personality theory to determine our course in Christ or in the Church.

I can’t find one single Scripture that instructs us to come up with a numerical value or rating system for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

He also found that the vast majority of spiritual surveys are drawn from the teachings of Carl Jung who was about as anti-Christian as a person can be. This in itself should be cause for concern. Combined with the lack of Biblical model, this should be sufficient to raise a warning flag.

In the end, though, I think my greatest worry is that these tests can be completed successfully by both believers and unbelievers. If a spiritual gift assessment is truly assessing gifts given by the Holy Spirit, someone who is not a Christian should necessarily achieve a score of 0. However, this is simply not the case. There may be questions related to spiritual matters that an unbeliever can not answer, but many of the questions are generic in nature. For example “I enjoy pitching in on service projects in the church” could be as easily answered by an unbeliever as a believer. The same holds true for “People seem to respect me and follow my lead.” We need to ask, then, if these tests are truly measuring spiritual gifts or if they are simply examining personality. Or perhaps we are only given spiritual gifts that compliment our personalities so personality and gifts are one in the same. That would be completely unsatisfying, because I believe God can work through gifts that may contradict our personalities. Think of Moses and how God used him despite his obvious shyness and lack of eloquence. Had God only used Moses’ existing talents and personality He would not have had much to work with!

Am I ready to write-off spiritual gift assessments as a waste of time? No, I think that would be a kneejerk reaction. I see little basis, though, to believe that these truly measure the gifts of the Spirit. I am sure these tests can be valuable in assessing my talents and personality traits and can cause people to look more thoroughly at where they should use their talents to honor God. But unless gifts and personality are one and the same, I do not understand how these tests measure spiritual gifts.

March 25, 2004

Someone recently asked me which articles on this site are the ones that get read the most. I consulted my site statistics and found out that some helpful soul at Verio’s technical support center had decided to erase all statistics from 2002 to February 2004 so I have to rely on memory and post-February statistics. Based on that, these are the most popular articles:

  1. The Passion of the Christ According to Emmerich. I believe it has been read 7000 times or something like that. Ironically, the most widely read article on this site is one I only partially wrote since a fellow-believer did the bulk of the research and writing for it. I should probably be insulted by that!
  2. Review of the Passion of the Christ. No surprise since there are 152 comments (and counting), though I think the bulk of the comments are courtesy of the same few people!
  3. Review of the Passion of the Christ (Part One). It is just a play-by-play of the movie based on notes I took (very sloppily) during the movie. I found it distinctly difficult to write in the dark. It was even more difficult to read it later.
  4. Book Review of The Purpose Driven Life since people love to hate Rick Warren.

So there you have it. It seems quite obvious that search engines are leading many of the visitors to this site as they search for whatever trend is hitting Christianity at that moment…

March 25, 2004

This is part twenty five in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn wisdom and discernment from God’s Word. Yesterday I learned that wise people surround themselves with trusted, godly counselors and then heed the counsel of these people during tough times. I also saw that I am to show equal love to both friends and enemies and never rejoice in anyone’s trouble.

Chapter twenty five is prefaced with the words “These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.” Hezekiah was a godly king who lived long after Solomon. During his reign there was a return to the Law of Moses and it seems that there was also a return to emphasis on wisdom. The proverbs were copied, either from existing documents or from oral tradition, so they could be widely distributed.

Verses 6 to 7 read “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; For it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.” The meaning of these verses is clear and speaks of a continual theme in Proverbs. I am to be humble, lest I bring myself to shame. If I artificially assume a position of great honor but am not worthy of that position, I will have to suffer the humiliation of being rebuked and brought down to my rightful place. However, if I act with humility and place myself in a fitting position, I may receive a promotion to a greater place. It is far better to be exalted than demoted.

“Do not go hastily to court; For what will you do in the end, When your neighbor has put you to shame? Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another; Lest he who hears it expose your shame, And your reputation be ruined.” I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I enjoy those “real-life court shows” such as Judge Judy. I am continually amazed at the cases that get brought before the courts and I’m sure this goes a long way to explaining why the judges are always so grouchy. I cannot imagine going to court over a small, almost insignificant debt that a member of my family owes me, yet people continue to present their cases before these judges who then draw out the shameful stories that led to a the injury or accident for which plaintiff now wants restitution. As this proverb says, their secrets are disclosed to the masses, families are torn apart, and their shame is exposed, all for the sake of a few hundred dollars. How much better it is to settle things quietly with wisdom and humility!

Verse 14 speaks of the importance of following through with promises. “Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain.” This verse made me think of a time when my father was without work and a friend stepped forward and offered him a job. When my father showed up at the man’s business he explained that he no longer had any work for him. Just as clouds that bring rain to water the ground and bring relief from heat provide promise, yet often blow right on by, so this man’s job offer just left my father disappointed and disheartened. Humans love to boast about what they can and might do, but to boast about giving without actually committing to giving is folly.

“Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, Lest he become weary of you and hate you.” Though different proverbs, these two follow the same theme: know your limits. Know when to stop. Even something as good as honey can be nauseating when eaten in large quantities. Having friendly relationships with neighbours is wonderful, but continually abusing their hospitality will make them turn on me. A wise person will be able to avoid excess.

Some people always know what to do and say in difficult times while others do not seem to have this ability. I believe I fall squarely into the latter category. Verse 20 speaks about this. “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Making light of someone else’s pain is often an embarrassed reaction people make when they do not know how to react in times of trouble. Yet this passage shows that to do that is like taking away someone’s garment when it is cold. It is like mixing soda and vinegar (which does two things – it makes a neat chemical reaction that fizzes up for a few moments, but it also renders the soda and vinegar useless). As one seeking to be wise, I need to be careful in times of sorrow, remembering that it is better to say nothing at all and have people believe I’m a fool than to open my mouth and prove it.

The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on the twenty fifth chapter of Proverbs, here is what I have learned:

  • It is better to start humble and be exalted than to start proud and be brought to shame.
  • It is better to settle disputes quietly than to take matters to court where they will become public knowledge.
  • Moderation is a fruit of wisdom. I need to know when to stop.
  • Thoughtlessly expressing joy during times of sorrow is foolish and only serves to hurt the sorrowful.
March 24, 2004

This is part twenty four in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn wisdom and discernment from God’s Word. Yesterday I learned that riches are fleeting, so to work myself to exhaustion in order to acquire them is foolish. I also learned that sin is addictive and though initially it provides joy, it always ends up bringing sorrowful consequences. I should avoid sin, trusting that with God’s power I can overcome it.

Verses 5 and 6 raise a theme that we have seen before in Proverbs. “A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” Several times the author has stressed the value of heeding the wise counsel of friends or advisors. As I read this today I was reminded of a story Bill Perkins relates in his book “Six Battles Every Man Must Win.” He says that when he speaks at men’s conferences he always calls the four biggest men in the audience up to the stage. He’ll walk up to these huge men one-by-one and give them a soft shove on the chest. Each one of them will stumble backwards, for it takes only a small push on the chest to knock a man off-balance. But then he will instruct the men to form a circle and link arms. When they do this he can push them as hard as he wants and they will not budge. There is strength in numbers and security in “linking arms.” I need to surround myself with trusted, wise people with whom I can link arms, trusting them to support me when I need their counsel.

Verse 7 reads “Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.” A foolish man is out of his league when around wise men. When wise men gather (as they used to gather at the city gate) the foolish man will have nothing to offer, for anything he says will only prove his folly. Evidently the opposite must be a true – a wise man will be trusted for his wise counsel.

“He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of foolishness is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men.” When I read these verses I thought of a friend of mine, who derived great pleasure from “plotting evil.” Though he never intended to carry out any of his schemes, he used to enjoy figuring out how he could rob casinos without getting caught or how he could avoid having to pay taxes. One day he realized that all of his plotting was just giving his mind over to evil thoughts and he made a conscious effort to avoid thinking about such things. I did not really think much about it, but after reading these verses I can see that he showed wisdom in doing so. This passage also made me ponder television and movies. If I am not to ponder evil schemes, why should I watch them unfold on the screen?

God tests our faith through times of adversity. After reading the tenth verse, it seems wisdom is also proven during times of trial. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” Though I may display wisdom during times of “smooth-sailing” it is when facing difficulty that I will really see whether I not only have wisdom but can apply it as well.

Verses 11 and 12 say “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” These verses seem to say that God regards helping other people as one of my foremost responsibilities. He places such emphasis on this that even ignorance on my part is not a valid excuse. I may say “surely I did not know this” but God may still hold me responsible. Now evidently God will not punish me for not helping in matters I could not possibly know about, but the point is clear – I need to not just wait for opportunities to serve others, but actively seek them out. This clearly foreshadows Jesus’ teaching that I am to love my neighbor as myself.

I will close with verses 17 and 18. They read “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” Though my natural reaction is to rejoice at the afflictions of my enemy, God tells me not to do this. If I truly am to love others as myself then I should never derive pleasure from another man’s pain. I can never entirely remove compassion from him. God looks at this with such disfavor that it may cause Him to turn from punishing my enemy and instead chasten me. Truly God’s standards are so different from our flawed, human standards! When I read this passage I am reminded of Jesus’ words. As His was nailed to the cross He asked for His Father to forgive those who were causing Him such pain. What an example of the way we ought to treat our enemies!

The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on the twenty fourth chapter of Proverbs, here is what I have learned:

  • If I am to be wise I need to surround myself with other wise people who can provide me with godly counsel.
  • Just as I should not commit evil acts, so I should not waste my time pondering evils acts, even if I have no intention of carrying them out.
  • I am to exhibit love and concern for all men and actively seek out those I can help. I am to show concern for my enemy as much as my friend.
March 23, 2004

While I admire John MacArthur for his doctrinal orthodoxy and his willingness to stand for Biblical truth, however unpopular that may make him, what I most admire about him is his remarkable ability to teach from the Scriptures. I have found few people who are better able to carefully and accurately exposit God’s Word. Because of this ee has become one of my most trusted teachers.

March 23, 2004

Bob DeWaay has published an excellent examination of The Purpose Driven Life in his Critical Issues Commentary. The article examines The Purpose Driven Life and often compares it to John MacArthur’s “Hard to Believe – The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus.” Here are a few excerpts:

A few months ago a friend phoned to ask if I had ever heard of Rick Warren. “Yes” I replied. “Why are you asking”? He said, “I just got kicked out of a Bible Study for bringing my Bible to it.” That is how the idea for this article came to me. The Bible study my friend attended was really a Purpose Driven Life study group. The Purpose Driven Life book they were studying referenced Bible passages that sounded off base. He was told that if he was going to attend the study, he would have to leave his Bible at home, because the issues he brought up were disruptive to the group. He chose to quit instead.

Warren would have us believe that something is furry, meow’s, has four legs, and likes to chase mice, but is not a cat. He tells us that his book is not about “you” and then spends over three hundred pages making it about you, over and over. This doesn’t just look like self-help, read like self-help, sound like self-help and feel like self-help, it is self-help and it is about you. That doesn’t help me. I need the gospel to solve my sin problem. I don’t need Warren aphorisms—and certainly not thousands of them.

Warren’s terminology to describe God provides a picture of God as a kindly grandfather who gushes with warm, fuzzy feelings. For example, he has a chapter that tells us what makes God smile. He uses Noah as an example. He writes, “But there was one man who made God smile. The Bible says, ‘Noah was a pleasure to the Lord’” (Warren: 69). This is a citation of Genesis 6:8 from the Living Bible. Again the paraphrase turns a verse that is God-centered into one that is man-centered. The NASB says, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” The Bible tells what Noah received from God. The poor translation Warren uses makes Noah the agent and God the recipient. The NKJV is more pointed: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8; NKJV). In the Biblical account God gives grace to Noah, in Warren’s account Noah gives pleasure to God. Here is how Warren interprets Genesis 6:8: “God said, ‘This guy brings me pleasure. He makes me smile. I’ll start over with his family’” (Warren 69). He twists Genesis 6:8 to promote his man-centered theology and obscure the fact that it was God’s grace that made Noah who he was.

You can read the entire article here.