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ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible

I have pre-ordered my copy of the ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible from CBD.  I am excited about this Bible.  The Thompson Chain Reference Bible has been a favorite of mine for many years.  I currently own two NIV copies, an NASB, and a KJV.  I have longed for the Thompson Chain Reference Bible to come out in the ESV but always feared they would not but thank God they have and it comes out September 19, 2016 according to CBD.

You can see the page here but no information has been given yet on the CBD site.  I will publish a review of the Bible when I receive mine.

Glory to the King!

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/03/2016 at 8:56 PM

Insights from the KJV Translators Themselves

Most KJV Bibles sold today no longer have the longer introduction to the translation originally penned by the KJV translators.  Most English Bibles today have an introduction to the translation that comes from the KJV itself.  The KJV translators penned their introduction to explain and defend their translation.

One must bear in mind the time period of the 1611 translation.  Imagine if President Obama told the church here in the United States that he wanted one Bible “to rule them all” (to quote from Lord of the Rings)?  How would Christians react to Obama?  Even if Obama had the top scholars appointed to translate the Bible, most would view the translation with intrepidation.  I would.  I would figure that Obama would want the translate to be one sided, to avoid truth, to delete core doctrines and to make it as far from teaching the truth as possible while still sounding like the Bible.  What is true today was true of the Christians living under King James.  They viewed the “Authorized Version” with much fear.  In fact, the KJV would not become the preferred English Bible for about 50 years after its publication.  The Geneva Bible and not the King James Bible was brought over to the new world by the first English settlers to America.

The KJV scholars added the long introduction then to both promote their translation and defend it against those who questioned it.  After all, when the KJV was published in 1611 there were already good English Bibles on the market.  The KJV was not the first nor the last (and the KJV translators recognized that fact).  Though the KJV Bible would become the greatest of the English translations for many years to come, in 1611 it was just another Bible translation being offered now by the King himself of the British Empire.

I recently read the longer introduction that you can find in modern English on Amazon.  I learned much from it.  I only want to highlight a few of the KJV translators words.  Their words are good to read in our day of KJV onlyism.  After reading the KJV introduction, I have no doubt in my mind that these Anglican men would not be KJV only if they were alive today.  In fact, they would laugh at the arguments used by KJV only “scholars” who claim that the KJV is the final Word of God, that (as some radical KJV only men teach) the KJV was inspired just as the Apostle’s were inspired, that the KJV is a perfect Bible translation without any errors, that the Anglicans involved were fundamentalist in secret who believed in the Received Text (the Greek text of the KJV) as the perfect Word of God, etc.

First, the KJV translators believed the originals were inspired but recognized variants in the copies.  They stated:

because the original thereof is from heaven, not from earth, the author is God, not man; the composer is the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the penmen were such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principle portion of God’s Spirit; the content is truth, piety, purity, and uprightness; the form is God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, and so forth.

The translators did not teach anywhere in their writings that the Received Text is the “inerrant and infallible Word of God” (inerrant would not have been used for people simply said the Bible was true in those days and people understood what they meant without qualification).  In fact, they believed the originals alone to be the ones inspired by God Himself.  The copies are copies of the originals but we no longer have the originals (praise be to God lest someone would have worshiped them as the children of Israel worshiped the golden calf in Exodus 32).  The KJV translators could not have visioned that someday their own translation would become a golden calf to many.

They went on to write:

For nothing perfect has proceeded from the hands of men except what came from the hands of the Apostles or Apostolic men, that is, from men endued with an extraordinary measure of God’s Spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility.

So what about the errors in the copies?  KJV onlyism teaches that no errors exist but what did the KJV translators write about this:

The Septuagint dissents from the Original in many places, and does not come near it in terms of clarity, gravity, and majesty.  Yet did any of the Apostles condemn it?  Condemn it?  Nay, they used it.

Notice that the KJV translators approved of the Septuagint as a translation while understanding that it was not the original.  The Apostles quoted extensively from the Septuagint in the Greek New Testament despite the fact that the Septuagint is just a translation from the Hebrew text.

Secondly, the KJV translators saw the value of having Bibles in our tongues.  They wrote:

Truly, without translation into the common language, the unlearned are like children at Jacob’s well, which was deep, without a bucket.  Or they are like the person mentioned by Isaiah who, when a sealed book was presented to him with the command, “Read this, I ask you,” he had to reply, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

And yet the KJV translators acknowledged that even the lowest English translations were still good!  Modern KJV onlyism tells us that only the KJV is the truth of God and hates all other English Bibles but they would not be joined by the KJV translators.  They wrote:

Now we answer our adversaries.  We do not deny – nay, we affirm and avow – that the very lowest translation of the Bible into English, set forth by men of our profession, (for we have not yet seen any of their translations of the entire Bible) contains the word of God, nay, is the word of God.  The King’s speech, which he utters in Parliament, when translated into French, German, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with identical grace, nor altogether so appropriately phrased, nor so exactly expressing  the sense at every point.

And what of their own translation work?  They wrote yet again:

For nothing perfect has proceeded from the hands of men except what came from the hands of the Apostles or Apostolic men.

The intent of the KJV translator was such:

Our intent was to make a better translation out of a good one, or to make , from many good ones, one especially good one, not to be justly objected against.

And yes the KJV translators did do biblical criticism (lower criticism) contrary to the KJV onlyism view that textual criticism is evil altogether.  They wrote:

These languages therefore – that is, the Scriptures in those languages – we set before us to translate, being the languages in which God was pleased to speak to his Church by the Prophets and Apostles.

Without a second thought, we consulted the translators or commentators in Chaldean, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek and Latin, and the Spanish, French, Italian, and German.  We revised what we had done, and brought back to the anvil that which we had hammered.

Lastly, the KJV translators spoke about the variants in the biblical texts.  In fact, the first published 1611 Authorized Bible had marginal notes to show differences in the text as well as alternate translations of the text.  How can this be if the KJV is the inspired Word of God as KJV onlyism teaches?  Nearly all KJV Bibles today exclude the marginal notes so KJV only “scholars” often will attack modern Bibles such as the NKJV or the ESV for either including marginal notes, “deleting” verses such as Acts 8:37 or 1 John 5:7-8, or adding textual notes about the translation or variant readings.

The KJV translators wrote:

Some individuals, perhaps, would prefer to have no margin notes about alternative meanings, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding controversies might be somewhat shaken by that show of uncertainty.  But we consider their judgment unsound in this point.

The translators go on to speak of how difficult the work of translating is.  They speak of how there are often many words that can be used in English for one Hebrew or Greek word or the opposite where a Hebrew or Greek word only appears once in the text and is how to translate into English.  A case in point would be the KJV use of “Godhead” in Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9.  This is a poor translation here.  Another place would in the KJV where they erred would be Acts 19:2 or Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1.  The inclusion of 1 John 5:7-8 in the KJV is also a variant reading that should not be there.  Modern English Bibles (excluding the NKJV for tradition only) have changed 1 John 5:7-8 back to its original.

Conclusion

My point here is to show that the KJV translators were not infallible men.  They were godly Anglican men who loved the Word of God.  I am blessed by that fact.  I pray the Lord would move again on the Anglican Church to produce such godly men.  That said, the KJV translators recognized their work as the work of men.  A very good work but a translation nonetheless.  The KJV ranks as a work of art.  It truly is the Word of God.  But it is not perfect.  No Bible translation is.  The KJV served the Church in the English speaking world for many years.  It was published in 1611 and revised just two years later in 1613.  The final revision of the KJV was in 1769.  This is the KJV used today and not the 1611.  Of course, the men who did the work in 1604-11 were now dead.  Their work though stands as a testimony to their faithfulness to God.

Today we have probably too many English translations and they exist sadly for one reason: money.  Crossway doesn’t want to pay Zondervan for usage of the NIV so they translate the ESV.  All English translations today but the KJV are owned by a publishing house.  For example, Crossway owns the ESV.  Lockman owns the NASB.  Zondervan owns the NIV.  Thomas Nelson owns the NKJV.  Tyndale House owns the NLT.  Holman owns the HCSB.  This doesn’t prove that these English Bibles are corrupt but only that they are produced by publishers for avoiding royalties to other publishers.

I prefer the ESV but I am not ESV only by any means.  I recognize that no English Bible is perfect.  I also am grateful that God is sovereign in salvation and He often uses even the worst translations to draw sinners to salvation.  I read of a Jehovah’s Witness coming to faith in Christ through reading Philippians 3:9 in the New World Translation which is not good at all.  I was saved reading from the NIV and it was the first Bible I owned and read after coming to faith in Christ at age 17.  I honestly thought, when I came to faith in Christ, that there were two English Bibles in the world: the KJV and the NIV and I understood the NIV so I went with it.

God is able to save sinners through the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:21).  People hear the gospel in many ways (Romans 10:17) but the gospel must flow from Scripture.  Some preachers use the KJV and others use the NLT but the Lord is the one who saves sinners (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).  Our job is to plant the seed of the gospel (Mark 4:14).  The Spirit of God brings the fruit.  The Spirit draws sinners to salvation by the grace of God (John 6:44; Acts 16:14-15).

So my advice is to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  Perhaps this comes through a KJV or an NIV or a ESV but preach the Word of God!  Be faithful to study the Word and to live the Word (James 2:14-26).  The Word is able to save our souls (James 1:21).

May God be glorified through His holy Word.  Amen.

 

Oh Bother!

There is a medium sized KJV only Baptist church not too far from my home.  I enjoy visiting the church from time to time.  I have even considered attending there though there are several things that keep me from attending (and one will surprise you).  First, the church is KJV only.  I am not.  Far from it.  Secondly, the church is very premillennial, pre tribulation.  I am not.  Thirdly, the church is anti-Calvinistic.  I am not.  While I am not a Calvinist, I don’t teach that Calvinism is a heresy or that Calvinists are worshiping a false God.  That may surprise some folks.

That said, the church is a joy to me.  The preacher preaches the Word of God (albeit from the KJV Bible) and he is not ashamed to preach hard against sin.  The church does many out reaches to prisons, schools, etc. including street preaching.  They even have a men’s class devoted to theology on Saturday evenings and then they take the men to the streets to share the gospel.  The preacher strongly preaches that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and he preaches hard against works to save us (John 6:29).  I rejoice in that.  While the gospel presentation is not always to my liking (they often do the sinner’s prayer for salvation), they do preach against sin and preach repentance including the Lordship of Christ (which is debated in KJV only churches often times).

I visited there tonight and listened to an evangelist teach on Noah’s ark.  It was good.  Not earth shaking.  Not too technical but on an average Christian level, it was informative.  The brother was an older brother (71) and said he had a Ph.D.  He clearly taught a young earth creationist view which is my own as well.  Along the way in his teaching he made two remarks about the KJV being the only Bible and he said that Noah’s ark would be discovered by the act of God during the tribulation period to awaken the Jews to the truth of the Bible and point them to Jesus as the Messiah.  He did say that was his opinion but he preached it as gospel.  Again, his presentation was good.  I appreciated him much.  I wish more churches would tackled the issues of the flood, evolution, etc.  We need to know that Genesis is true.

At the end, I approached the brother to ask three questions about his presentation.  He answered them all but he made another comment about the KJV Bible being the only Bible and how he couldn’t recommend Answers in Genesis because of this issue.  I told him I disagreed with that view.  He looked at me like I had grown another head.  He begin to ask me why I denied the Bible?  I told him I didn’t come to debate him and as a visitor, I wanted to respect him.  He continued to ask me questions so basically the following conversation happened like this:

Me:  So which Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

Evangelist:  The 1611 is.

Me:  Do you use the 1611 edition?

E:  No.  I can’t read the old English.

Me:  So you use the 1769 edition?

E:  Well yes.

Me:  And why is the 1769 edition the Word of God compared to the 1611?

E:  They are the same.

Me:  If that is true why not use the 1611?

E:  The English is different but the Bible remains the same.

Me:  Which edition of the KJV is the Word of God?

E:  Mine is.

Me:  On what basis?  How do you know your Bible is the Word of God?

E:  Why do you want to cast doubt on the Word of God?

Me:  I’m not but if the KJV is the Word of God then which edition is the Word of God and who now publishes the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

E:  My KJV Bible is the Word of God.  Period.  As long as it is a KJV it is the same and is the Word of God.

Me:  Not true.  The Cambridge edition differs from the Oxford and the Oxford differs from the Trinitarian Bible Society and the TBS differs from the Zondervan.  They all differ.  So again, who is right and by what authority do you determine who is right?

E:  This is pointless.  I will not listen to you cast doubts on the Word of God.  You need to lay aside these arguments and do the work of the Kingdom.

The conversation ended with him doubting my salvation.  I told him that we are not saved by faith in a Bible translation but faith in Christ.  We also disagreed over the deity of Christ in the modern translations as I told him that the ESV was stronger on the deity of Jesus than the KJV.  He disagreed but had no answer.  I pointed him to one passage such as Romans 9:5 and told him to compare the modern “corrupt” translations with the KJV.  The ESV is stronger both there and in many other New Testament texts on the deity of Christ.

I admit that I was shaken leaving and so was he.  I didn’t mean to disrespect him.  The pastor of this church knows where I stand on this issue.  He knows that I don’t hold the KJV to be the only Bible to be used today.  I respect the KJV and praise God for the truth of the gospel found there.  I don’t deny that God used the KJV powerfully for His glory.  That said, I am not KJV only.  I love the KJV but I don’t hold that the KJV is the only Bible in the English speaking language.  That is a ridiculous claim.

Sadly, many will hear this brother teach on Genesis and tear him apart not because of his views on science or creationism but because he is dogmatic on the KJV Bible.

In closing, I highly recommend people to read Dr. James White’s book The King James Only Controversy for more information.  We can trust the modern translations.  While some are better than others, we can trust that God has preserved His Word.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/17/2016 at 9:52 PM

Review of the ESV Fire Bible

The Fire Bible was the first study Bible I ever owned.  It was called the Full Life Study Bible in those days (early 1990’s).  It changed its name to the Life in the Spirit Study Bible and now is the Fire Bible.

The Fire Bible was originally published by Zondervan and was found in the NIV and KJV.  I had the NIV.  However, over the years my theology changed as well as my Bible translation.  I now use the ESV for most of my Bible reading and study.  I was thrilled then to see the Fire Bible come out in the ESV.

The Fire Bible is a classical Pentecostal study Bible.  The notes are focused on four cardinal doctrines of the Pentecostal movement:

  • Jesus Saves (Salvation)
  • Jesus Baptizes in the Spirit (Subsequent to Salvation)
  • Jesus Heals (Divine Healing)
  • Jesus is Coming Again (Jesus’ Second Coming)

These four doctrines are emphasized in the Fire Bible.  The notes reflect these doctrines.

The layout of the ESV Fire Bible is impressive.  The biblical text is double columned with cross references on the side.  This Bible is easy to read without ghosting (where you can see the writing on the other page coming through to the page you are reading).  The leather is well done (mine is black genuine leather and is very nice).  The paper is not as quality as a Cambridge Bible but is good.  I don’t write in my Bibles but this Bible does not have much space for notes.

The commentary is classical Pentecostal as I mentioned above.  The view of salvation is Arminian.  The view of end times is premillennial with a pre tribulation rapture.  While this Bible emphasizes divine healing, the article on healing is clear that doctors are good and needed.  Of course, the view of the Holy Spirit is a Pentecostal view with all spiritual gifts available today.

While I am not 100% on board with every note (for example I am post millennial), the notes are solid.  What I appreciate is that the notes have a Pentecostal feel to them.  Having grown up in the Pentecostal movement and was saved in a Pentecostal church, I know that doctrine does matter but experience flows from the biblical text.  This study Bible emphasizes that aspect with a focus on sound doctrine but also upon living the biblical life.  Christianity is not merely doctrine but is a life.

I recommend this study Bible.  Even if you are not a Pentecostal (say a Wesleyan), this study Bible is useful.  The commentary is soundly conservative (for example this study Bible has only one writer of Isaiah).  As an Arminian, this is the only Arminian study Bible I am aware of on the market at this time (December 2015).  I appreciated the articles on salvation that are clearly Arminian.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/06/2015 at 12:34 PM

I am ESV Only!

The following is a satire of the modern King James Only movement and shows its weaknesses.

I am ESV only!  I believe that the men of God who gave us the English Standard Version were commissioned by God to do this work.  For many years the KJV has served the Lord for His purposes in the English language but now, by the providence of God, we have a new translation that corrects the errors that have been appearing in the KJV through various publishers such as the liberal Zondervan or Cambridge.  The Lord has given us renown scholars who love the Word of God, believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word, and who believe that the work of translation should be free from errors.  The men of God who have given us the ESV will no doubt receive their rewards for their good work.

I believe the ESV to be the pure Word of God based on the promise of God in Psalm 12:6-7 (ESV).  The Lord promised in Psalm 12:7 (ESV) that He would keep His Word and He had preserved His Word in the ESV.  I believe this because:

  • The vastly superior manuscripts used by the ESV scholars to translate both the Old and New Testaments.
  • The superior usage of the English language in the ESV as compared to other English “translations.”
  • The blessing of God upon the ESV as seen by many prominent ministries around the world.
  • The sound doctrine that the ESV produces such as the deity of Christ and the blood of Christ.
  • The fact that so many souls have been saved by reading from the ESV.

There is no doubt that other Bible “translations” are not inspired by God.  The NIV attacks the blood of Christ and omits many verses.  The NASB likewise is too wooden to read, is used by liberal preachers and teachers, and does not contain the superior doctrine as found in the ESV.  The KJV is too archaic, has many errors in translation and is not based on the best Hebrew and Greek texts.  The NKJV is similar to the KJV in terms of its Hebrew and Greek texts.  The ESV alone stands as the pure Word of God for us in English.

The very name, English Standard Version, shows how great the ESV is.  It is THE English standard for all Bible translations to be compared by.  If you are using a corrupt bible such as the NIV or the NKJV, the ESV should be the final authority by which you judge all other “bibles” by.  The Bible for us in English today is the ESV and the ESV alone.

So why did God give us the ESV?  God has always had a language that He spoke through.  In the Old Testament, God spoke to the world through Hebrew.  In the New Testament, Greek was the dominant language and so God gave us the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) and the New Testament authors wrote in Greek as well as read from the Old Testament in Greek.  Over the centuries other languages have seen God’s hand upon them such as Latin and German.  Today, the language that dominates the world is English.  English remains the international business language and though Chinese is the largest spoken language on Earth, English remains the dominant business language.  Therefore, God has given us the ESV as THE standard by which we judge all other Bibles.  The ESV should be the standard to judge even Spanish, Chinese, or other languages and their Bibles.

And how do I know that the ESV is the standard?  Because of its name and because of the promise of God in Psalm 12:7 (ESV)!

One final question: Can you be saved and not use the ESV?  I answer perhaps.  There is no denying that salvation is the gracious work of God (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV!).  But it is true that other “bibles” may lead the new Christian astray.  Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:5 (ESV!) that false christs would come.  Jesus also said that His sheep hear His voice in John 10:27 (ESV).  What voice would that be if not the ESV?  The ESV faithfully teaches sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV) and we learn about Jesus in truth from the ESV (John 20:31 ESV).  The ESV doesn’t attack the precious blood of Christ nor His deity as other false translations do.  The ESV faithfully has been used by many street preachers and this shows that God is using the ESV for His glory.  Furthermore, the ESV translation committee give all glory to God right there in the opening of the ESV!  How much more proof do you need?

I urge you to get an ESV today!  In God’s providence, the ESV is protected by Crossway Books.  This enables the ESV from falling into wicked hands like the KJV has with Zondervan and Cambridge.  While it is true that Cambridge (and a few others) are publishing editions of the ESV now, those are protected by Crossway Books overseeing that only the ESV text they produced is used.  This again is proof of Psalm 12:7.

While certain wicked Arminians and Calvinists have claimed the ESV as their own, the ESV belongs to the people of God.  I pray that many fundamentalist Baptist will repent of using false “bible” translations and begin to use the wonderful ESV.  The ESV, perhaps, will be the Bible that God uses to bring in the end of the world!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/24/2014 at 6:36 PM

Two Issues With KJV Onlyism

There is a podcast that I listen to while driving my truck that I enjoy until the teacher goes off on a rampant about the King James Version Bible (KJV).  He is a KJV only follower and he is convinced that there is a conspiracy on the part of the “modern translations” to corrupt the Word of God, to dethrone Jesus, and to exalt either Satan or humanity above the Lord God.  He is convinced that the KJV is the “pure Word of God” and that it alone is the inerrant and infallible truth of God for us in the English language.  He is not an extreme KJV only follower in that he holds that the Hebrew and Greek texts that underline the KJV are the superior texts (the Textus Receptus).  I can tolerate his ramblings only because I enjoy his other teachings but I will admit that it is pushing me to the edge.

I decided, in regard to this man’s teachings, that I would download a teaching he gave on four reasons for the superiority of the KJV.  His four points were: A Superior Text, Superior Translators, Superior Theology, and a Superior Translation.  To highlight them, he basically said that the TR was the inerrant Word of God, that the KJV translators were vastly superior men of God than modern translators (and were nearly perfect fundamentalists in his eyes), that the KJV translators and the KJV itself offer sound theology to the church, and the KJV is simply the best English translation ever produced (and probably ever will be produced).

So let me take a shot here at the KJV.  Let’s look at just two passages that Dr. James White points to also in his book The King James Only Controversy.  The first is Acts 12:4 where the KJV reads:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The ESV reads:

And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.

The Greek word for “Easter” in the KJV is the word pascha.  The word is translated in the KJV as “Passover” (see John 19:14 for example) in every case but here.  The ESV is consistent and translates it as Passover throughout.  Why did the KJV translators (with their superior theology and being nearly fundamentalists) translate it as Easter?  The KJV only theory is that this shows the providence of God but this is incorrect.  There is no basis for Easter being the word here as the context shows.  Herod is trying to please the Jews (v.3) and the Jews celebrated Passover not Easter.  Easter, as we know it today, would not appear for hundreds of years following this text.

The second passage that I want to focus on in the KJV is Acts 19:37 where the KJV reads:

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

The NIV reads:

You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess.

For some reason the KJV translators translated the Greek word for “temples” as “churches” despite no reason to.  Dr. White believes this to be a case where their own tradition stood in the way of the translation.  The New King James Version (NKJV) corrects the KJV here.

In conclusion, the KJV is not a vastly superior translation.  It is a good translation and one that I honor though I do not use.  I don’t doubt that the Lord used the KJV to glorify His name.  I also don’t doubt that many souls have been saved because of the preaching of the gospel from the KJV.  But the KJV is just a translation.  It is a good translation that falls into line with good English translations such as the ESV, NASB, or the NKJV.

One final point.  I still have yet to learn which edition of the KJV is the “pure Word of God.”  Is it the Cambridge edition?  The Oxford edition?  The Zondervan edition?  Is the one published by Thomas Nelson or one perhaps published by the smaller Bible publishers?  They are all different and we need to know which one is the pure Word of God.  This is vital!

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/22/2014 at 11:57 AM

Get To Know Your Bible Translations

Here is a unique post on Bible translations as if they had personalities.  Good stuff.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/11/2014 at 12:32 AM

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