When Charles Wesley came to faith in Christ, he began writing some of the most wonderful hymns. He penned over six thousands songs of praise. One thing he asked though, was that as people would copy his songs, that they’d not mess with the words which he had written.
One of his songs we sing quite often at Christmas time. It is titled, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Interestingly, this is one song, whose words got messed with. One man, evangelist George Whitfield, a dear friend of Charles Wesley, upon publishing this carol in 1753, changed the words to this now often sung Christmas carol.
These are the words that Charles wrote when he was 32 years old;
Hark, how all the welkin’ rings,
Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
Christ the lord is born today.
The word “welkin” was an old English word for “the vault of heaven.”
Hmmm…..aren’t you sort of glad that Charles’ friend George Whitfield changed those words for us way back then?
But we have a more sure word that must never be messed with. It’s the Word of God. The Bible never needs to be adjusted or changed to fit the ever changing norms within a variety of cultures.
Peter had written that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20,21)
Peter’s point was that the Scripture was penned by the Holy Spirit and no part of the Bible was given from a human source or from some prophet’s impeded intelligence.
The original copies of the Scripture are therefore inspired and we are given clear warning from them that we are not to mess with them. Wesley may have needed help….God does not!