Today the English language is being destroyed in countries where English is the major tongue. There was a time, not too long ago when the English language, vocabulary and grammar were taken seriously. Letters were written in a beautiful long hand with carefully chosen words with correct grammar and punctuation. People’s speech contained the rich words of the English language as great orators spoke powerfully, with conviction using beautifully balanced sentences and authoritative, descriptive words. We can think of Churchill during the Second World War, or Martin Luther with his “I have dreamed a dream” speeches, or maybe Abraham Lincoln.
Words, especially great words, have the capacity to present before us a vision of what could be, to inspire us and touch our emotions in such a way that we might act to transform the dream into reality. This is true both of the spoken or written word – think of the great poets down through the centuries; William Wordsworth, and Shakespeare or John Milton to name a few.
Today, there is different scenario; we are bastardizing the English language. I cringe when I have to read so called ‘text speak.’ I recoil in horror at the modern social media trend of tweeting; both forms which, I have promised myself never to use. Today we use words and the English language in a slovenly manner. We are careless with words as we shorten them and cut them, altering their meaning. We are just plain careless with words. Not that I am perfect, but today’s generation has gone too far and are destroying beautiful rich words and the elegance of our language.
But this trend is not confined to the world, as I suspect such a trend has permeated into our church life. The rich words of the bible, including words such as – redemption, justification, righteousness, glory, holiness, deity, loving kindness, grace, glory, and long suffering; to list a few at random. There are too many words for me to list here, which are in danger of being cheapened through careless use and a lack of understanding as to their rich heritage. No doubt you can think of other powerful rich words of scripture to add to this list.
The words that we speak and the manner in which we use them reach the ears of God as they ripple through the universe. It is time that we took stock of our speech and the words that we use, particularly the rich descriptive words of the scriptures. It is imperative that we remember these words are Holy to the Lord. They are to be crafted out of reverence to the God who is holy and who said to Moses – take off your shoes for the place that you stand is holy. We must be on our watch that we do not ‘water down’ the meaning of Gods precious words. We must be circumspect with certain modern biblical translations.
The Psalmist writes - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD. I ask myself the question – Are they?
Lazy speech concerning the Kingdom of God is not to be tolerated for we must be disciplined and up-right, full of the wisdom of God. Our prayer should always be – May the words of our lips be the words of the Holy Spirit so that we have a soundness of speech that cannot be condemned. Let us study to show ourselves approved by our King, that we understand the meaning of the rich words of scripture, using them correctly and not out of ignorance, or in a lazy haphazard manner.
Let us guard our tongue and control our lips for it is so easy to over use a word of the Kingdom. Take for instance the priceless word such as Bless and “Blessing.” Too often, without thinking we are Blessing this and that, here and there, and before we know it; we are blessing everywhere and every body. Our use of Gods words needs to be more disciplined.
He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend. Prov 22
As the return of our King comes closer let our speech and the use of the Kings words be acceptable in his hearing.
[quote]May the words of our lips be the words of the Holy Spirit so that we have a soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.[/quote]
Great blog! Thank you! Dorothy
I know where you are coming from but I also would like to add that there are many sects within the U.S. which cling to the King James Version exclusively. The problem with that is after 400 years, the language has become archaic and in many cases the words have taken on new meaning over time for language is a living thing which changes and develops.
Until the early to mid-twentieth century, you could go to isolated sections of the southeastern United States and in mountain coves you would hear an English dialect very similar to what you would have heard in 18th England, Scotland or Ireland from whence their ancestors came from. Until more recent times, travel was very difficult in these areas and few people traveled in or out of the area.
I am not a student of Greek or Hebrew but my husband is and has been for many years. During our many discussions, I have come to realize that translating an "idea" can be a very challenging thing indeed. Truthfully, there are some modern translations that convey the meaning much more accurately than a version such as the KJV.
I grew up with and love the KJV but here is the translation of a favorite passage of mine from 2 Corinthians:
[quote] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (KJV) [/quote]
These are beautiful and precious words!
However... around the time I got breast cancer, I came across a little paperback Bible where if you purchased it, 100% of the proceeds were going to the American Cancer Society for cancer research. It wasn't very expensive so I purchased it. This little Bible also happened to be The New Living Translation.
Turning to the above passage, I read these words:
[quote]That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18[/quote]
It's pretty easy to guess which version spoke to me the most at this time.
Also, due to permanent side-effects from chemo and a brain injury which impairs my ability to concentrate and process information, I have found myself utilizing resources like Biblegateway.com where I can easily look at and compare several different versions. I use that a lot when writing blogs. After taking a look at key words, which version conveys the best meaning in a manner which the casual reader will most easily understand?
I agree that there are many attempts to water down the meaning of God's precious words. This is why if we do look at various versions, we must consider them very carefully and we would do well to use the tools which are readily available today which will help us determine if a translation is accurate or if things are being changed which shouldn't be.
If we want to get down to the nitty-gritty of things, unless we are reading the Bible in it's original language... we are reading a translation. This is why it is important to know that God does NOT contradict Himself. If it appears like He is, the fault is in the translation not the Word of God.
[quote]Today we use words and the English language in a slovenly manner. We are careless with words as we shorten them and cut them, altering their meaning. We are just plain careless with words. Not that I am perfect, but today’s generation has gone too far and are destroying beautiful rich words and the elegance of our language[/quote]
Being the daughter and granddaughter of grammarians... need I say more?