Words, Words, Words

“Getting it all together” and Letting it all hang out.” Two expressions of recent vintage seem to be indicative of the confusion of our age. Of course, there’s always a bit of this going on in the English language. For instance does a house burn up or down? Is something inflammable or flammable? Is the missing link not a link at all and, therefore, not missing?

You could go on and on all you wish, but one thing is certain—language can be made to mean many things.

That’s why it’s important to be careful about what people tell you or what you read.

Not too long ago I reviewed a book in which the writer vigorously maintained that he believed in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, then went on to deny passage after passage by the way he interpreted them.

Now, there’s an interesting word—“interpret.” Did he really interpret? Or did he merely use the passage to bolster his own viewpoint?

Frequently, those who don’t understand or don’t believe a verse will use it anyway because it gives “credence” to what they are saying. In my old alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, inscribed on one of the chief buildings is the Scripture verse, “The truth will make you free.” Certainly, those who placed it there—there at the first University in the USA that was founded not by or for religious purposes—had no intention of teaching that God’s truth will free people from sin. Yet, that’s what the verse is all about. At its first commencement Huxley, the famous atheist, was invited to speak. So much for God’s truth!

Be careful then of words, “interpretations,” and “interpolations.” Christians are people of the Book—and should be able to use it properly!

If you don’t know how—then it is incumbent upon you to learn.


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