"Chill!" - spoken in contemporary U.S. culture has nothing to do with temperature. As a slang expression, "chill" means to calm down or relax. Many words in today's lexicon possess traditional meanings, plus present - day slang definitions, such as "blast" (a very exciting or pleasant experience), or they
evolve from commercial names, such as "googled" (short for -- searched the internet)
Without knowing words within a culture or context, misunderstanding occurs. While living in Hungary, we often realized that words directly translated from English conveyed an entirely different meaning or degree of intensity. Sometimes they were meaningless.
Words can be confusing! They can increase understanding between people or cause misunderstanding. Terms commonly used by followers of Jesus can be confusing to others. What do expressions such as "testimony", "missionary", or "accepting Jesus" mean to those unfamiliar with such terminology? It is worth considering how our words are interpreted by others of a different mindset or culture.
In the Bible, the word "Word" has special meaning. The Word of God and His presence are inseparable:
- In the beginning, God spoke a word and the world was created.
- On Mount Sinai, God spoke to Moses 10 words and they became the moral law of the Jewish nation.
- When God sent His son, Jesus, to earth the Apostle John tells us "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling with us."
Words can be meaningless without the understanding of their context and their special use. The Word of God is more powerful than any trite definition because it is always attached to God -- His power, His knowledge, His purposes. The apostle John tells us:
- To let Jesus' word dwell in us (John 5:38)
- To make room for it (the word) (John 8:51)
- To keep His word (John 8:55)
This week, as we speak let us consider our words carefully as we seek to communicate. Let us also seek out The Word and commit to understand and live it out daily.
"Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:14-15)