“I’ve heard that expression before. Have you got any idea what’s behind it?”
Well, in the old days—when money meant something—part of a coin was hollowed out and some less valuable material was “plugged” into the space.
“Oh. Then the coin wasn’t worth as much, and the person who scooped out the real stuff was all the richer.”
Yep. You got it.
“But it means something else when we use the expression today, I gather.”
Sure. If something is worthless, we say that it “isn’t worth a plugged nickel,” meaning that it’s really worthless, since it’s not even as valuable as something that’s valueless.
But, we could take it a step further—we could use the expression as an example of something that isn’t of any value because it has been adulterated.
“Hmmm. . . . Like someone tainting a biblical doctrine with some falsehood?”
Exactly. When you stuff the shell of a biblical teaching with unbiblical, eclectic, or otherwise valueless materials, it falsifies the teaching. . .
“And there’s a lot of that going on today?”
You bettcha.’ In many places people are offering plugged doctrine within a shell of Scripture terminology for Christian teaching. But it’s nothing new. Paul wrote, “We aren’t like so many who are peddlers of God’s Word, but we speak like sincere persons do . . .” (II Corinthians 2:17). And in II Corinthians 4:2 Paul wrote about those who engage in “shameful, hidden practices . . . [who] “adulterate God’s Word.” These people adulterated the Scriptures just like those who thinned out wine with less costly liquids. And, today, there are people who add things to God’s Word, thereby making it something else. When you add, you subtract.
“Huh? What kind of math is that?”
By adding to God’s Word you take away it’s full potency—you subtract from it’s power and truth. If you add water to wine, it dilutes and lessens its taste.
Wish others, who add their own ideas to God’s would get it!
“Yeah. Me too.”