Bible What is Biblical Language?

What is Biblical Language?

A study on how the Bible says we should speak.

Topic:Language/Words And How We Use Them

  1. The Bible Should be the basis of our speech.

Websters 1828 dictionary describes the Bible in the end of the description as “The bible should be the standard of language as well as of faith”.

This sticks out to me particularly as GOD wrote a perfect book,and HIS word is bound to be more accurate of events and use more descriptive words than our modern language.

People say that the Bible is to hard to read and that it is outdated when in reality our manner of speech has changed and we use words incorrectly and vague words with multiple meanings that could easily be taken in a different manner than we intended.

Context is very important and is one of the subjects we will be looking at later in this topic.

For our example in the importance of what a “simple” word change can have in the Bible, I opened my Strong’s concordance to the reference in the back(the differences between the KJV, rsv, neb, jb, nas,and the niv) and a good example I saw was in Leviticus 18:21 in reference to the worship of the false god molech.

KJV

“And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire unto Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.”

niv

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.”

We are going to divide this verse into two parts.

The first being of worshiping molech, in the niv.

In the niv the word sacrifice is used which is vague and could mean multiple things, it is more than likely that someone with knowledge on the time period or subject could understand what it is referring to (the killing/murder of the child), but seeing as how the niv was written in 1978 it is also a very strong possibility that it could be easily interpreted by someone who is not knowledgeable in the scriptures or history to interpret it as we use the word today (as in ”I had to sacrifice going to my brothers birthday so I could make it to church to worship GOD”),we interpret sacrifice as giving something up (usually something we love or are in need of), so to the sinner and unlearned, they could be giving up their children to be raised by molech priests “to be used by him” in the same sense that Samuel’s mother offered him up to the LORD (1 Samuel 1:11,20-28).

Now secondly for the KJV, which, remember, is inspired by GOD.

What exactly does it mean by ”pass through the fire unto Molech”?

A child who is still alive is placed into the arms of the idol and it is heated to the point where the child is boiled alive.

A gruesome but understandable example is as if you turned on your stove top to its highest settings and placed your baby on it until it died from the pain of burning. GOD specifically wanted to point out the pure evilness of molech worship which is lost in the changing of the words.

(note: for we know that even though sin is sin, there are different degrees of punishment for sin here on the earth).

Part two of Leviticus 18:21 that I noticed while re-writing these notes

is in the second half of the verse, notice the word “neither” in the KJV

“And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.”

The Bible uses the word neither in that verse.

Again referring to Websters 1828 the word neither is defined as

“Not either; not the one nor the other.” this implies that there is a distinct difference between the two things you should not do and even though they do go together(the worship of molech is profanity[irreverence] unto GOD) it is emphasized you should not do either.

Now for the niv.

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord. “

The niv uses “for you must not” this could very easily again be mistook by someone who does not know the Bible and is trying to learn, that it is the sacrificing of children that is the profanity and not the worship of molech the niv does not give that clear distinction between the two, the niv leaves vagueness for it to be misinterpreted that molech is the god of the Israelites.

  1. What we talk about is important

Have you ever stopped to think on what you talk about?

More than likely not, but what we talk about has a impact on your testimony towards GOD. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:16 says “But shun profane and vain babbling: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

Websters 1828 describes three words in this verse that we need important emphasis on, and to stop and look at how we talk to others whether it is a godly form of speech or not.

1 — Profane

2 – Vain

3 – Babbling

PROFANE – Mentioned during the last subject in Leviticus 18:21

Websters 1828 defines the word as such.

1. Irreverent to any thing sacred; applied to persons. A man is profane when he takes the name of God in vain, or treats sacred things with abuse and irreverence.

2. Irreverent; proceeding from a contempt of sacred things, or implying it; as profane words or language; profane swearing.

3. Not sacred; secular; relating to secular things; as profane history.

4. Polluted; not pure.

Nothing is profane that serveth to holy things.

So profane things are things that are not pure such as cursing. Irreverence, such as not taking the word of GOD seriously (jokingly, mockingly), it also mentions contempt in number 2, as in mocking the things of GOD that originate from a hatred of the things of GOD.

VAIN – Websters defines the word

1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance. 1 Peter 1:18.

To your vain answer will you have recourse.

Every man walketh in a vain show. Psalms 39:6.

Why do the people imagine a vain thing? Psalms 2:1.

2. Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain

VAIN is the force of man.

3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments; elated with a high opinion of one’s own accomplishments, or with things more showy than valuable; conceited.

The minstrels play’d on every side, vain of their art -.

I must admit I have trouble explaining this one.

So vain speech is the talking without a point, a waste of time, nothing to do with GOD or in the interest of anyone. It says in number 1 having no substance, you would not want to go to a restaurant and order a meal just for it to not fill your hunger whatsoever, the same with speech, not to say you should not just chat with someone about whatever, but you should not be talking just for the sake of talking, and waste someonelse’s time when it could be used for other useful means.

In number 3 it is referring to, do not brag about your achievements, or with things that are for show more than they are for the use of anything to anyone.

BABBLING – Websters defines the word

BAB’BLING, participle present tense Talking idly; telling secrets.

2. Uttering a succession of murmuring sounds; as a babbling stream.

3. In hunting, babbling is when the hounds are too busy after they have found a good scent.

BAB’BLING, noun Foolish talk. 1 Timothy 6:20.

we will only use the first definition because in context, Paul is talking about how you speak, not making noises or the actions of a animal.

But this is a pretty simple word that needs no further explaining, but the word idly does. We more than likely think of idly in the same context as idle (like you idle your car) because of the close spelling, but is actually referring to doing something lazily, or without attention. So babbling is talking inattentively. So now with this understanding let us go back to our text verse for this subject.

2 Timothy 2:16 says “But shun profane and vain babbling: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

Paul warns Timothy to “Shun/turn away from” “Profane – the mocking of GOD, despising of holy things” AND (notice the separation of the two things) “Vain – proud speech, useless speech, the speaking highly and proudly of things that have no value” “Babbling – speaking inattentively, not paying attention to what you are saying.” for they will increase (become more frequent) to more ungodliness in your speech.

Pay attention to what you are saying when you are speaking, do not be so careless as to let ungodly things come out of your mouth, when you are not paying attention, and will not notice.

But importantly we must also go back to the word “Profane”. There is more here than Paul warning Timothy to pay attention when he speaks.

Let me ask you, why would a Christian have to worry about the mocking of GOD coming out of his mouth when he is not paying attention?

Paul is also warning Timothy to watch his heart and to make sure he is thinking on the things of GOD lest he ruin his testimony for GOD.

There is a whole different subject to be taken out of this verse and the one preceding it but the first half is true as well. Proverbs 23:7

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee”.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. The real you is not what you do on the outside but what you do and think on the inside, and whatever we are on the inside will inevitablely wiggle its way outside of the heart for everyone to see.

Matthew 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man”.

Although its true that you can say something on the outside you can mean something different on the inside, and if you have a heart that is filled with contempt for the things of GOD, it is going to come out of your mouth at some point. So Paul is also warning Timothy to watch that he does not speak inattentively. He is also warning to watch his (Timothy’s) heart for ungodliness, so that if he does speak inattentively it will be about the things of GOD rather than the things of the world, which would hurt his testimony.

  1. Watching your heart, for it WILL come out of your mouth.

This is a shorter point but a important one nonetheless; watching your heart so that you do not have ungodly speech.

There is a term referred to as “Christian cussing” it refers generally to when someone (usually a Christian or someone who does not cuss) uses different words than the profanity that people of the world use.

Our text verses will be the same as the last subject, but we will focus more on the heart in this subject.

Our example will be the word D-A-N-G

(it does not have a Websters entry as it is a late 18th century word that was too new at the time to be included.)

It is used to put emphasis on anger or frustration.

The important part is this.

A 18th Century euphemism For The Word D-A-M-N.

Now think back to how that word is used, it is used in the same context and the same intention as the original.

Websters

Euphemism: a figure in which a harsh or indelicate word or expression is softened, or rather by which a delicate word or expression is substituted for one which is offensive to good manners or to delicate ears.

The word was created to be used as a alternative to the curse word,

but still used in the same spirit and intention.

It brings the question, if what a man thinks in his heart is what he is (Proverbs 23:7) and whatsoever is in the heart of man will inevitably come out of his mouth (Matthew 15:18), is using the word with the intent of cursing not the same as actually cursing? Words change over time.

It is the intent that is important when we speak (the biblical word for mule, or the female dog were once normal words and not a matter of cursing). As Paul warned Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:16, profanity will increase the more we use them, it will give a opening to more stronger profanity in our speech and ruin our testimony for GOD if we do not take care to watch our speech, and to watch our hearts for ungodliness.

  1. Watching your speech around others at their request even though it may not be wrong

In this short, and final subject we will look at the fact that there are some words that are not cursing (but not in the same sense as the previous subject), but if someone was to ask you not to say it around them for it will for whatever reason will hurt their walk with GOD.

In 1 Corinthians 8:12-13 Paul writes

“12 – But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 – Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

This verse mentions talking about eating meat, but it is referring to anything that would make a brother or sister in Christ to sin, it is better to not participate in it around them.

We can apply this to our speech as well.

In our example we will use the word potato as a filler.

If the brother or sister in Christ views the word potato as a word that would cause them or their children and family to have a softer view on profanity, we should not use the word potato around them unless we partake in causing them to use profanity unapologetically and sin against GOD.

In Conclusion: We should study the Bible, and use it as a guide as to how we should speak to others. We must watch that we do not become inattentive while speaking, lest the devil puts profanity in our speech and hurt our testimony. We should watch our heart as to not speak with evil intentions. And lastly we should respect the request of others and watch our speech lest we cause another to sin in their speech.

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