Language is awesome. It’s fluid. It’s alive. It’s ever changing, adapting, moving, creating. Recently I learned about the words “toats” “jelly” “adorbs” and “cray” (with the superlative being “cray-cray”). Though I initially cringed and complained about these new variations of totally, jealous, adorable, and crazy (there’s no real superlative to crazy, so cray-cray might just be it), I’ve adapted and see how language continues to live and breathe and create. You can twist words, you can play with words, you can be punny with words (ha! Get it, punny…never mind). This is one of the reasons why I majored in English in college.
The English language is ever evolving and growing and creating. The Oxford English Dictionary is constantly adding new words (don’t know why selfie was added, but oh well). The French on the other hand, are a bit picky. They protect their language. They have a Ministry of Culture and Communication that determines what goes into and comes out of the French language. They try to preserve it. Keep it from growing. Not cool, France, not cool.
When I was in Seminary, we studied Hebrew and Koine Greek. Both considered a dead language. Not spoken, only read. Yet when I read these old, old words, they came alive to me. They had their nuances and implications. They had their history of how they were created and formed over the centuries. And when translating them into English, there were so many different ways to translate just one word based upon it’s association with the other words in the sentence and the whole book it was in. A word nerd’s dream.
Language is living. And language moves and breathes within the Gospel message. It is filled with words that were alive when written and still live today through translation. But there’s something more to it. The Gospel is called a sword. A double edge sword. The sword of the Spirit.
“Stand firm then…take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14, 17
Something different happens when the language of the Gospel is spoken. Such ancient words ring so very true today in ways that we may never know. When the Gospel, the Word of God, is spoken, something happens.
The early 20th century Reformed Theologian (yeah, I’m getting all heady here, bear with me) wrote a tome of a book called Systematic Theology (catchy title) in the 1920’s (I called it an evangelism tract for Vulcans). He did say this. He said that the seed of faith is planted when the Gospel message is heard. Calvin (the theology dude, not my alma mater) says the same thing in his book Institutes of the Christian Religion (again, heady but bear with me). He says that when the Gospel is heard, people are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel is the language of awesome. It’s alive. It’s real. In fact
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful in teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
The breathe of God is in the language and words of the message. The words written down, when read, when spoken, when lived, are awesome and do something, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to its hearers. Now, I’m not calling the Bible a book of magic spells like from Harry Potter or something like that (Read all 7, cried at the end of Deathly Hallows). No. It’s alive. It’s real. It’s moving. And it’s empowered by the Spirit, the very breathe of God himself.
The very word “God-breathed” is a compound word in Greek (word nerd alert!). It’s an adjective combining the word for God with breathe. But it’s also a play on words because the word for breathe is also the word used for the Holy Spirit. And it describes the action of Scripture, that is is a breathe of God from the Holy Spirit (Mind. Blown.).
The word of God needs to be heard and that happens when it is spoken. When it is spoken poorly, abrasively, and annoyingly ad nauseum it hinders and prevents the hearer from listening to the word moving in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.
These words, these ancient words written down centuries ago which are still living and alive today, need to be spoken out of love, in kindness, in ways in which can be understood and allowed to permeate even the hardest of hearts.
Language is awesome. So is the Gospel message. It needs to be spoken and alive. How will you use it? How will you listen to it? Will you allow it to take root and plant that seed of faith?
This is the language of awesome, it is alive and moving, let it live and breathe within you and you will see its awesomeness around you.