MARK-MAY 2021

Mark Berryman

editor@sidneyherald.com

My favorite Bible verse to quote, and I use that term loosely, is Hezekiah 3:12. The reason is simple. It doesn’t exist. In fact, the Bible doesn’t even have a book called Hezekiah, despite the fact that it sounds like it should.

I do not even have a quote for Hezekiah 3:12. If the need comes up for a fictional Bible verse, I simply state what I want it to say and quote it as Hezekiah 3:12.

Before anyone writes a less-than-blessed letter calling me a blasphemer or an anti-Christ, allow me a chance to explain this a little farther.

I have been writing humor columns (and occasionally serious columns, lifestyle columns and sports columns) for almost 20 years. During that time I occasionally write humor columns about my faith and at times break out my favorite Bible verse. I only use Hezekiah 3:12 for the purpose of humor and never as an actual Bible verse.

Of course, there were occasions where the jovial intent may not have been quite as clear as it should be.

While working for the Franklin County Citizen in Lavonia, Georgia, I wrote such a column and quoted Hezekiah 3:12 in that column. It was pretty clear to me that the column was humorous and not intended as fact or even solid theology. It was not, however, as clear to one of our subscribers who happened to be a lifetime Bible reader.

She read the column and then called the newspaper and asked what version of the Bible I used because she did not have the book of Hezekiah in her version.

Well, as fate would have it, that happened to be a day I was working late and did not arrive at the office until after lunch.

My editor at that time, Carolyn, told me about the call and also said the staff had looked through the Bible we keep in the office (I’m fairly sure every newspaper has one for reference) and they could not find the verse, either.

In all honesty I thought it was kind of humorous that they had scrambled to find an answer for that senior saint and finally just told her that they would have me call her when I got to the office.

Not only had she looked for Hezekiah 3:12, when she could not find it, she called her pastor and asked him about it. According to her, he did not know where the verse came from, either.

Well, I did call her and when she answered, I told her how smart she was because no one else had even questioned the authenticity of that verse. I then gave her the same explanation I just gave you above and she was satisfied… and maybe a little proud that she had noticed my little deception.

There are those who likely believe Christian humor is, well, less-than-appropriate. It’s likely someone has stopped reading this column because of that. I have no problem with that.

If you believe we are created by God, then you have to accept the fact that he made each of us different. This means that while the Bible is the common ground for each of us who profess to be Christians, God allows us to express out faith in more than one way. I gladly accept the fact that you may have a more pious or serious attitude concerning your faith and hope that you allow me the same privilege.

Before I go, allow me to drive one serious point home. There are those who would intentionally deceive you about what the Bible does say. It is up to you to be as familiar with the scriptures as possible to guard against these people. As Timothy 2:15 says (NKJV) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

And, I didn’t make that verse up. I promise.

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