“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.” (Psalm 139:1-2)
“And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.” (Luke 6:19)
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?” (James 2:14)
When trying to understand passages in the Bible, it’s helpful to consider what type of literature you’re reading. Psalms are like poetry. The Gospels are their own genre, but include history, miracle stories, parables, etc. Many books in the New Testament are letters. We know that the way we write letters is different from the way we write poems, right? So historical context and literary genre matter for how we interpret the words on the page. Let alone how we let the words on the page guide us in our daily lives. Words matter and the language used varies throughout the Bible.
This week I saw that dictionary.com has added more than 300 new words to their website. Words like:
- JOMO (joy of missing out): “a feeling of contentment with one’s own pursuits and activities, without worrying over the possibility of missing out on what others may be doing”
- crybully: “a person who self-righteously harasses or intimidates others while playing the victim, especially of a perceived social injustice”
- welp: “an informal variant of ‘well’ used to indicate disappointment, resignation, or acceptance”
- colorism: “differential treatment based on skin color, especially favoritism toward those with a lighter skin tone and mistreatment or exclusion of those with a darker skin tone, typically among those of the same racial group or ethnicity”
Upon scanning the list of new words (as covered by various news sources) there were definitely words that were familiar. Though there were also words that I couldn’t define off the top of my head. It was a reminder that language evolves, and it’s supposed to evolve. The way we see the world and understand one another and our place in the world changes. We come up with language to explain new phenomena. We find new ways to express ourselves. Language is supposed to adapt to the needs of its users. Words take on new meanings and meanings of old words change. It’s hard to keep up at times!
Though what a fascinating occurrence. We won’t find “JOMO” in the Bible, but we can certainly find instructions to be content with what we have. We won’t find “welp” in the Bible. But I can certainly imagine Job uttering it a time or two (among other words!) It’s a good thing that new words get added to the dictionary because it’s a reminder that things change, and we can, too. Just a thought, for this week.