The Valley of the Shadow of Death- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

KJV Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The valley of the shadow of death. My dad once told me a great story of a father who had lost his dear wife in a premature death. He had that difficult ride back home from the funeral and repass with family and friends. Now he found only space , time and his only child. His daughter asked him, ‘Dad if God is so loving and kind why would he take my mother away so soon. The father continued his drive silently with no answer for his daughter’s probing and hard question. Until suddenly; an eighteen wheeler passed by them on the lonely highway. The father then asked his daughter; do you see that truck and the shadow following it? Yes, she replied. If you were walking on the side of the road which would rather be run over by the truck or the truck’s shadow? The shadow, she replied. Your mom was only hit by the shadow of death. Jesus on Calvary took the truck of death head on so that we would only have to experience the shadow.

Where is the valley of the shadow of death?

It is in Israel. It is a place where Shepherds would walk their sheep through to take them to higher and better pastures. The sheep’s eyes are on both sides of their head offering them superb peripheral vision. Sheep however have very poor depth perception. They can’t tell a crack from a deep ravine. They must use their ears as well as their eyes when following their Shepard.
One side is a wall of mountain while the other is a steep drop off of the edge.

The staff of the Shepard was used to scrape the edge of the cliff while the rod was used to beat the wall of the mountain. This would allow the sheep to stay between the two sounds and remain safe.


Redeemed- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

Redeemed by Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD




Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree”) Galatians 3:13


Christ literally took our sins, sicknesses, and every curse when He hung on Calvary’s tree! He was cursed in my place to redeem me from the curse as a result of me breaking God’s laws.

Hoe Cakes

Hoe Cakes
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• 1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended: Aunt Jemima’s)
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
• Oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
Mix well all ingredients, except for the frying oil. Heat the frying oil or butter in a medium or large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter, by full tablespoons, into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake. Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

I always loved when my mom would make hoe cakes. She did not make them often, but they were always a special treat in our southern home. Whenever i am having a particularly ‘blue day’ this recipe never fails to lift me up.

Yet in All These Things- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I love early morning prayer. This week I am in consecration. I rise up at 3:30 AM. Shave, shower, and shine. Make a pot of coffee. I generally arrive at church at 5:10 AM. I prepare the sanctuary for the intercessors. While the dew is still on the roses; we meet God in this Holy place. I call it ‘Morning Glory’! God always speaks to me during this time. Not in an audible voice… mostly through His written word. Sometimes He speaks through a song in my heart or conveniently through my Ipod. I have both heard and read this text hundreds of times and the emphasis for me has always been “we are more than conquerors”. Today however, God said to me “Yet in all these things’. As I heard these words all of my troubles, trials, problems melted away! These few words spoke volumes to my spirit. I may be going through right now but on the other side of this trial I am more than a conqueror! Wait a minute! I am more than a conqueror now!

 Rightly Divide the Truth- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

Recently, I heard a minister of whom I have the greatest respect for really do an injustice on giving his interpretation of a text which although it did generate ‘nervous laughter’ from the audience, it left them with their mouths wide open. The text is found in Proverbs 14:3.

In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride; but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. Proverbs 14:3 KJV

He loosely quoted the text from the NIV translation by making the statement that if a fool speaks to you have scriptural reference to give him/her a sound beating. My spirit rejected this interpretation immediately and (as well as I believe the Holy Spirit) I spoke under my breath, “assault and battery”! I searched the commentaries diligently and found only Matthew Henry who wished to say any thing at all about this text.

A proud fool exposing himself. Where there is pride in the heart, and no wisdom in the head to suppress it, it commonly shows itself in the words: In the mouth there is pride, proud boasting, proud censuring, proud scorning, proud commanding and giving law; this is the rod, or branch, of pride; the word is used only here and Isa. 11:1. It grows from that root of bitterness which is in the heart; it is a rod from that stem. The root must be plucked up, or we cannot conquer this branch, or it is meant of a smiting beating rod, a rod of pride which strikes others. The proud man with his tongue lays about him and deals blows at pleasure, but it will in the end be a rod to himself; the proud man shall come under an ignominious correction by the words of his own mouth, not cut as a soldier, but caned as a servant; and herein he will be beaten with his own rod, Ps. 64:8.

 The minister in question choose to quote the NIV translation on this text which says:


Proverbs 14:3A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.

A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back! This is a classic example of not using a dynamic and formal equivalent translation when attempting to exegete the text!

Dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence are terms for methods of translation coined by Eugene Nida. The two terms have often been understood as fundamentally the same as sense-for-sense translation (translating the meanings of whole sentences) and word-for-word translation (translating the meanings of individual words in their more or less exact syntactic sequence), respectively, and Nida did often seem to use them this way. But his original definition of dynamic equivalence was rhetorical: the idea was that the translator should translate so that the effect of the translation on the target reader is roughly the same as the effect of the source text once was on the source reader.

After my search I spoke with 2 theologians that I know and respect dearly my sister Janet a recent graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary Graduate Program, and my old professor Dr. Nathaniel Wilson. They both agreed with my analysis. The Holy Spirit did not release me to discuss this with the minister in question but to earnestly pray for him and to continue my ‘hard study’ to rightly divide the truth