Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Do you have a sound mind?

Do you ever worry that you might be a little bit crazy?  Most of us have, at some point, when we've been confronted with the true madness of modern society, or by the inconsistency and treachery of friends, or by family problems, or a hundred other things.  Wondering about one's own sanity isn't unusual ... and it's not bad or wrong or sinful.  But, in reality, are you okay?  Do you have what is often called "a sound mind?"

I begin with a confession, or, more accurately, an acknowledgement.  By definition, I am mentally ill.  For over twenty years, I have been diagnosed with, and treated for, major clinical depression.  (The problem probably existed long before it was diagnosed.) By the grace of God, the emotional and intellectual symptoms of this disease are being controlled very effectively by medication, and I'm not even seeing a psychiatrist - - - although I've seen several of them in the past.  For years now, I've only suffered the physiological symptoms of the disorder: fluctuations in my appetite, sleep disturbances, etc.  But God has lovingly delivered me from the gloom and hopelessness that, at some point, accompanies the disease.*

But, whether a person has depression or some other problem, we've all wondered at times: "Am I a little bit nuts?"

The King James Bible contains a beautiful and comforting promise to believers on this subject.  Referring to Christians, who have received Jesus Christ by an act of the will according to John 1:12, and been born again according to John 3:3, the apostle Paul writes: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  Christians may have many problems and many worries, but God has made a promise: If you truly know Jesus Christ, and are seeking to follow Him faithfully, He will protect your mind, and give you peace and love and good judgment.  You won't go crazy.

In my life, that's one of the most precious promises in a Book filled with promises - - - for obvious reasons.  If you're a Christian, it should be a delight to you, too.  There's just one problem.

Virtually every English translation of the Bible since 1881 (when the Revised Version was published) has removed the term "a sound mind," and replaced it with something else.  There have been nearly 300 English "translations" or "paraphrases" since 1881 (that's one every six months), and they all replace "a sound mind" with something else - - - usually something that can lead you into a terrible trap.  Here are a few examples of the words that the modern "scholars" use instead of "a sound mind:"

Revised Standard Version: "self-control."
The Amplified Bible: "personal discipline."
Douay-Rheims: "sobriety."
New American Standard Version: "self-discipline."
New International Version: "self-discipline."
Holman Christian Standard Version: "self-discipline."
New Living Translation: "self-discipline."
The Message: "sensible."
English Standard Version (ESV): "self-control."
Easy-to-Read Version: "self-control."*

Are you seeing a pattern here? Someone doesn't want you to have the promise of a sound mind.

Someone wants you to rely, not on God's gift, but on your own self-discipline and self-control.

Someone wants to change God's words, to trip you up: rather like the Serpent talking to Eve. "Did God really say that, Eve? Go ahead and take a bite. You've got self-discipline. You can quit any time you want!"

I would pose a question or two to the "translators" of these Bibles: Isn't it a contradiction to say that self-control is a gift of God?  If I can control myself, why do I need God? Also: What if I don't have much self-control?  What if I lack all self-discipline, or am not "sensible" or "sober?" The translators will reply, "That's the point of the verse.  God gives you these things."

No, He does not!  Sadly, there are plenty of Christians who lack self-control or self-discipline.  If a Christian isn't controlled by the Spirit of God, he or she can fall into all sorts of harmful and even sinful habits, and even end up a suicide, while still retaining salvation.  Because God doesn't want us depending on ourselves; He wants us to depend on Him.  "Self-discipline" is the antithesis of the Christian life, which is centered in reliance on God, and faith in Him alone.  Many people will say "I'm not a drunk or a fornicator; I'm very self-disciplined."  But that sort of discipline can vanish in a moment, and it's what the Bible calls will worship
(Colossians 2:23): worshipping one's own will, rather than God. 

Do you ever worry that you might be a little bit "off," a little crazy? If you're a Bible-believing Christian, following your Lord as close as possible, you don't need to worry.  He's promised you "a sound mind." And He'll keep that promise - - - even to someone with a mental disorder, like mine.

But the promise is only found in the King James Authorized Version, God's perfectly-preserved, final written revelation in English. Be "sensible:" accept no substitutes!

*Those people who consider clinical depression a "cop-out" or an "excuse" are simply ignorant, and too many Christians believe this.  Clinical depression involves the premature re-uptake of serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain.  In plain language: the chemicals that your brain releases to make you "feel good" are re-absorbed by the brain before they have a chance to work.  Medication can correct this, and it's not the kind of medication that alters one's thinking. 

*The so-called "New King James Version" retains "a sound mind," but changes over 100,000 other words, including the removal of the word "Lord" 66 times, and "God" 51 times.  It removes God's Name, Jehovah, entirely. It is not simply "a new edition of the King James Bible."


  1. Diagnosed as a depressive myself, I've always found comfort and encouragement in 2 Tim 1:7 in my KJV. I never realized the new versions changed it to reflect "self." "Self-discipline" and "self-control" can be associated with the humanistic psychology/psychiatry approach to counselling - that was the first association I made, anyway. But God is the only One Who could heal my depression, and I praise Him for doing just that, although He still reminds me on occasion of what He rescued me from when He healed me.

  2. Thanks for the encouraging word!