What’s In a Word?


WordsJohn 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Words. I live in a world of words. I suppose it’s an occupational hazard that comes with teaching composition. Equipped with my trusty red pen, I’m always on the lookout for incomplete sentences, dangling modifiers and redundant words that are unnecessary (like what I just wrote)!  I love discovering well-crafted phrases that bring to life thoughts not yet spoken…thoughts searching for an avenue of expression.

But beyond the intricacies of the English language, words speak to me on another level about life. For example, speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan writes that the most powerful words are the most simple…I love you. It’s a girl. He died. I think that’s indicative of much in life. We overcomplicate our circumstances and rob ourselves of the power of peace and effortlessness of joy. Whatever happened to simplicity?

Even punctuation marks translate into metaphors. Commas remind me of the importance of pausing, of refusing to let life become one uninterrupted flow of accomplishing to-do lists.  Italics highlight the presence of an Orchestrator in those rare instances when everything falls into place. And I love days filled with exclamation marks!

But the most important usage of words comes in the gospel of John….

Jesus is the Word of God. He communicates to the world what God looks like. Scripture says, in fact, that he is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), “the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus’ life silences all the distorted images of God’s character. Words like intolerant, unfair, distant and unrelatable don’t fit. Words like compassionate, sacrificial and powerful do.

Jesus no longer walks on the earth. And we believers have the task, or a more apt word—privilege—of revealing who he is. How are we doing? Is our message clear or confused? Do we sometimes forget that the sentence is about him? That in fact every word, phrase and paragraph of our story is for him? C.S. Lewis notes that “we writers are not nouns. We are mere adjectives, pointing to the great Noun of truth.”

Be encouraged today to speak the message of Christ in all you do. The world needs to both hear and see your words…

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