I Love Words!
One of my favorite things about the KJV Bible is the words. It contains words that we don't use as much in today's dialect. It also has words that we still use today that have taken on a different meaning. For example, the word "terrible" is used in the Bible to describe God:
Psalm 47:2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all
Today, terrible is defined as "extremely or distressingly bad or serious." We use it to describe something that is poor quality, tragic, or downright pathetic. Today, terrible is not something that you'd want to be called and certainly not something you'd think to call God. However, if we look at the biblical definition of terrible, then we find that it means "Adapted or likely to excite terror, awe, or dread; dreadful; formidable." So, when the Bible calls God terrible, it's not saying that He's crappy, it's saying that He is so powerful and awesome that he commands reverence and fear.
Another one of my favorite examples of words that have taken on a different meaning is "conversation". The Bible uses conversation in several places:
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 3:1-2 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that,
if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the
conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled
I used to read scriptures like these and assume that they meant conversation how we know it today i.e. the way we talk and the words we choose to use. However, when I did a word study, I learned that it has a deeper meaning. Conversation comes from the Greek word anastrophé and means conduct, behavior, or manner of life.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
This revelation is eye-opening. This word traditionally stood for behavior and conduct, but somewhere down the line it evolved into the way we speak. It really goes to show that there is truth in the expression "actions speak louder than words." It's one thing to speak the right words and say all the right things. It's entirely different to actually live those things that we speak.
I call this body language. What are we communicating with our lifestyle and our behavior? What are we speaking as individual ambassadors for Christ? And, what are we speaking as the body of Christ?
This newfound understanding of conversation gives all of the scriptures above a deeper meaning. For example, when Peter encourages wives to let their chaste conversation win over their husbands, it goes to show that unbelievers are watching our conduct. It also reveals the drawing power that we have when we choose to display the fruits of the Spirit.
Some body language experts suggest that body language communicates more than the words we say. They also say that some body language is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be faked or hidden. Eventually, your body language will tell on you.
The body language of the body of Christ should be one that reflects God. It should be authentic. It should reflect God's love, God's holiness, and God's grace. I've heard people say that our most powerful testimony is the lifestyle we live. They say the most powerful preaching we'll ever do won't come from the pulpit, but from way we choose to live everyday.
I'm reminded of a story from Tony from the lunchtime Bible study group at my old job. He shares Christ with others and his coworkers know he's a believer. One day, Tony was headed out for lunch and a beautiful and shapely woman in a tight dress was entering the building. He held the door for her (as he would for anyone) and headed to lunch. When he got back, a few of his coworkers laughed and said, "We saw you leaving out and were looking to see if you were going to turn back and look at that fine lady that came in!" It goes to show that people pay more attention to what we do than what we say. Imagine how much of his witness Tony could have lost if he had looked back and lusted over that woman (especially being married). Yet, imagine how much Christ was glorified because of Tony's behavior (conversation).
Just some food for thought. What are we speaking with our body language?