What’s in a Word?

Words can be flippantly tossed to and fro. And as evidenced in our culture, they mean almost nothing. You can say the most outrageous things and negate the weight of your statement by simply claiming a jocular attitude (i.e. “Just Kidding!”). Words are constantly being made up, reshaped, or redefined according to the way we see them fit – just survey all the new books out there. These authors are out there trying to reinvent the whole world.

Well, for the last week or so, I’ve been intensively studying one word. It’s the Greek word for “Mud” or “Clay” (John 9:6). It’s an assignment for one of my New Testament classes and though it’s ruined my week off from school, it’s proved to be quite an intellectual stimulant. Scowering pages upon pages of 8th Century B.C. literature and retracing the etymology of the root has proved to be incredibly helpful. So what have I concluded from my weeks of study on the word “mud”?

I realize, one word can change the way you view things. That’s really all it takes – one word.

Take for example Genesis 3 and the infamous account of the Fall of Man. We see in verses 3 and 4 the juxtaposition of two assertions. God speaks one statement and Satan speaks another. The words are the same, save for just one negative particle (lo). To paraphrase, God says, “Don’t eat that. You will die.” Then the Serpant says, “It’s ok. You will not die“. That’s what it took for man to fall. It was the addition of that one tiny word. Satan took God’s commandment and just negated it. And as a result, all of mankind has fallen under the curse of sin…

The fate of mankind hung literally on just one word.

So what difference does the word “Mud” or “Clay play in the context of my passage in John 9? Well, that’s essentially what I’m getting at through my paper, which for now shall remain to be continued…

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