When he would paraphrase a verse of the Bible he would call it a “Perryphrase.” Of course his name was Perry. Perry was a preacher. He was also an old family friend. Perry went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago, and he was a faithful man of God.
He preached in a farm community in northern Iowa back in the 1970’s. When Perry retired, he moved close to where I was preaching in northern Missouri. I would visit Perry and his wife as often as I could and we would talk about doctrine and the church. I got my copies of the Simple English New Testament from Perry. It’s not published any longer, but it’s the only modern version of the Bible that translates the Greek word baptizo correctly as immerse.
One time Perry told me about a farmer he had built a good relationship with and Perry would help him on the farm when he was visiting. The farmer’s wife and kids were a part of the church Perry preached for, but he was not a Christian. He was a good person. He was a very moral person, full of integrity, very honest. No one could say anything against him. He couldn’t see the need to become a Christian especially since he was such a good person, as good as any Christian, not prideful about it, just observant.
We all know Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Since he couldn’t see and realize that he was also a sinner and needed God’s grace in Jesus Christ, one time while Perry was visiting with him, Perry opened the Bible to Revelation 21:8 and read off each type of sin mentioned in that verse. “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” As he read this the farmer honestly said he had never committed any of those sins . . . until . . . he came to “and all liars.” The farmer was as honest as the day is long, but when he was younger, a child or a teen, he had lied to his parents, and it was in this moment that he realized that he indeed was a sinner and he did need Jesus and he accepted Jesus, was baptized and saved.
Perry told me that a few years later that he became a deacon in that church, a faithful and outstanding servant of God and to the church. He died a few years later at a relatively young age. He knows salvation now.
The Word of God is living and active and can reach the minds, hearts, and souls of everyone we present the Gospel too. In this farmer’s case, it was being challenged with sin from the Revelation of John.