Thinking Out Loud

March 11, 2011

Words About The Words

So there you are, sitting in a weekend service, and the pastor says, “the word we know as ‘deacon’ is taken from the Greek diakonos which means ‘someone who serves food at a table;'” and you’re fascinated by the implications of this.

But a week later, when he says, “The word often translated ‘work’ or ‘works’ is taken from the Greek word ergon which means employment or toil;” and you find your eyes glazing over.

Sometimes what Bible college students and seminarians call “word study” can be captivating and engaging, and on other days, you find yourself saying, “So what?”

So you purchase a Strong’s Concordance, and the next week at small group, with great enthusiasm, you’re spouting off all the different meanings of “love” in the New Testament and finding yourself met by blank stares and yawns.   How can you capture the relevance of this subject without losing your audience?

Keri Wyatt Kent thinks you can do it devotionally.  In a new book, Deeper Into The Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament, she provides a devotional word study in evenly measured sections that may be read consecutively, randomly, or only when needed.  (Being a rebel, I actually started at the back of the alphabetical arrangement.)

This is a great book concept; one I wish I’d thought of myself. I only hope the ‘buy-in’ factor will be significant and that booksellers (physical or online) don’t consign this title to the Bible reference section.  It needs to be upfront.  (An Old Testament counterpart releases in November of this year.)

Like the examples I introduced with, I found that some of these studies clicked with me more than others.  Perhaps the need-based approach to this book is preferable, but then it’s limited by having only 100 entries.  I asked my teenagers to name some Biblical words or concepts and it took about seven or eight guesses before we found one actually in the book, which was “love,” which I ruled ineligible! However, they liked the concept, and after I had read two sections, asked if we could do one more.

I think the book could best serve as a gateway product to whet the appetite for more serious word study.  It also makes an excellent gift for that person on your list who is “too spiritual” to accept a Christian fiction title or a gift book with pictures of flowers and sunsets.

In other words, while this is very much a niche product, it’s a title I would very much like to see succeed.

And now I will take a ‘rest,’ which is from the Greek anapauo, which means, “to give intermission from labor.”

Deeper Into The Word is published by Bethany House in paperback at $13.99 U.S.

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