Before or from the foundation of the world?

There are many misquotations of Scripture that need to be corrected.  I will gather over time a list of them here and put them into biblical order for easy consultation, but beginning with the one in the title of this blogpost. I will also supply mnemonics or the rationale which will help people to remember how to quote them correctly.  Rote learning has many advantages and a little thought will help you to remember verses of Scripture so that ‘the Word of Christ may dwell in you richly’ Col 3:16.

The Lamb slain ‘from the foundation of the world’ Rev 13:8 is frequently misquoted as ‘the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world’. This is a conflation and a confusion with the well-known biblical doctrine that God has chosen us in Christ ‘before the foundation of the world’ Eph 1:4.  The way to remember the difference is that the benefits and effects of Christ’s death as the Lamb of God are quite unnecessary before the foundation of the world, but their election was necessary before the foundation of the world.  This difference is a testimony to the verbal inspiration and accuracy of the Scripture.

Ps 119:105 ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ is frequently turned round in public prayer as ‘May Thy word be a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path’.  The way to remember the correct phrases is to imagine an old-fashioned lamp held high.  It shines down to illuminate the area around one’s feet ‘a lamp unto my feet’, showing us where to put our feet, and its light penetrates forward along our path to show us the direction to walk as ‘a light unto my path’.

Col 1:27 ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ is frequently misquoted as Christ formed in you the hope of glory, wrongly borrowing from ‘My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you’ Gal 4:19.  However, Christ is formed in us by the indwelling sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, and it is not the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit that is our hope of glory but Christ Himself dwelling in the godly by His Holy Spirit.  The very presence and indwelling of Christ’s Spirit is their hope of glory Eph 1:13-14.  Paul’s labouring for the Galatians was because the image of Christ was being obscured in them by their turning away from the grace of the Gospel towards salvation by law-keeping.

Rev 13:8 The Lamb slain ‘from the foundation of the world’; see the opening paragraphs of this blogpost.

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