Are words in scripture really meaningless?

Recently this week, I attended a lecture on the doctrine of scripture/ The word of God, and the trial question that came out for me was: How crucial are the words that are in scripture today??

We were discussing the final part of a 5 lecture series on the doctrine of the word, and it was a cracker!! The session started off with the influence of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of the words in scripture. He argued that the verbal meaning of the word of God, can’t change. That is a fair argument because we believe that God breathed out his words; ( 2 Tim 3:16  ‘All scripture is God breathed’, the greek theopneustos – Meaning  ‘inspired/breathed).

As a christian, it is important to say that the word of God is authored by God, because he breathed his words and the scribes/ authors of the books wrote down what GOD wants to say. The other argument that the lecturer came out with about the Word of God was keeping the meaning of the text, but changing its significance. That is a very good point, saying that the word of God remains in its meaning but changing the way that we approach, or even adapt the words of God in to the situations we live in. That is true in some cases, but most of scripture, can’t be changed because they are mainly recorded as points in history, for example, Noah’s ark, and the floods.

He then discussed the issue of the meaning of words in the scripture, and how that you could change the wording of a sentence, and it will still get across the same message, since you are keeping the meaning and changing the significance.

I totally disagree!! The use of words that the author uses in his work are there for a purpose, and if we just felt like changing the words to suit the community around us, then  we would lose the authority and reverence of scripture. One example that In openly expressed was the use of the 2nd person pronoun in Greek. In English, there is no distinction between 2nd person singular, or plural, we just say ‘You’. In the Greek, there is a fundamental difference. ‘You’ singular is  ‘eis’; and ‘You’ plural is ‘ete’. If I followed the English language in the bible in distinguish who the author is about, then I would be confused is he is talking about someone else, or a group of people. There is a case to say that ‘It depends on the context’; and I agree that the context does make a huge difference to how to interpret a text,but; in the example I have explained, the English language is not adequate enough to make that distinction.

I’m not saying that you have to study Greek or Hebrew but, to say that to people  who want to know the scriptures, having the original language that the work was composed in, helps to explain the true meaning better than English. The Holy Spirit is the advocate who inspired the writers to write the scriptures, a they did, and as we all know, thy were human. The original greek has so many human errors, it goes to show that humanity couldn’t have composed the bible from scratch. It was all divinely composed.

I know I have not mentioned about reading the bible fundamentally, and I will explain that now. In some cases, as explained before, the bible does have scripture that are recorded events, and there are some like the Laws in Leviticus that don’t apply to post-modern culture, and that is the interpretation of the reader. As scholars of biblical interpretation (any one who understands the bible! not just experts!!!) we ourselves need to ask and prayer for Gods wisdom in order to understand the scriptures and that is very important. If God wrote inspired the bible to human language in order for you to read it, surly we should ask him how to find the truth in it?  

You can have all the commentaries in the world to understand a passage, but if God speaks to you through the scriptures, isn’t that cheaper???

I leave you with that thought!!


Author: Urban Curate

I am a Vicar in the West Midlands with a passion to serve Jesus. I'm 30 years old, married with two children.

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