Easter in the Bible

This Sunday is when many religious people celebrate Easter. Easter is used to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. Just when this day began to be observed is unknown. The practice is absent from the pages of the Bible.

However, we do have one mention of Easter in the Bible: “And when [Herod] had apprehended [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quarternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4, KJV).

Newer translations, however, do not use the word Easter. Instead, they use Passover. Why is that? Is it because the newer translations are inferior to the “authorized” King James Bible and are, therefore, wrong? No.

If you look at the Greek text, the word that is used is Pascha. Every other time this word is used it is translated Passover. Why then did the translators of the King James Version use the word Easter instead of Passover?

When we ignore the mistranslation of the King James Version, we have no mention of Easter in the Bible. We also have no example of the early disciples using a particular day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. There is no instruction for them to do so, either.

The King James Version was published in 1611. Easter began to be observed sometime after the first century. What we see the translators doing is taking a practice with which they were familiar and inserting it into the inspired text where it did not belong.

We must be careful not to do the same type of thing. Most of us will not spend time translating the Bible from the Greek manuscripts. But we all should spend time studying the Bible. When we do, we must do so without any preconceived notions or biases.

Just because we think the Bible says something, does not mean it really says it. And just because something is familiar to us, does not mean it is right. We should make the determination that each time we study the Bible, we study with an open mind, looking for what God’s word teaches us, not what we already think it should say.


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