Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 2, 1967

Four Kinds Of Words

Owen McGee

Admittedly, one of the chief reasons for the confusion among those who confess that "Jesus is the Christ", is the inability of people to communicate and understand each other. This treatise is offered as an attempt to apply certain widely accepted principles; and in so doing, improve our claim to "speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent."

The first group of words under discussion is found in the King James version of the New Testament. Example #1-Bottle-Mark 2:22--which later translators have accurately rendered wineskin. Without this latter rendition or some other help, many would think of a glass bottle. Example #2-Prevent-1 Thess. 4:15- -understood by both the context and a study of the Greek to mean "no wise precede". There are many other words in this category. Words that can be properly used, if we understand their meaning and make others understand. Words found in the Scriptures which have a different meaning today than when translated in 1611. (words without a religious meaning).

The second group of words is considered to be religious because of their meaning today and their Bible background. Example #1-Saints-misused in the vernacular, but having a Bible definition. It is proper to use this word if we use it with its Bible connotation and those we are addressing recognize its proper meaning. Example #2-pastor, bishop, reverend, priest and many others could be offered. These are religious words with Bible definitions and when we use them, we must apply that definition.

The third group of words is recognized to be religious because of their meanings in the vernacular, although they have no Biblical background. Example #1- christening- -"to name at baptism" #2-sacraments --"5 or 7 solemn ceremonies of the 'Christian Church"' #3 -Easter- -"Teutonic Goddess - -Annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ" # 4 -darn - -"perversion of damn" #5 - -gosh - "oath from God" #6-Christmas--"annual Christian festival celebrating the birth of Christ.

This kind of word has no part in the vocabulary of the Christian. Often we read articles (by brethren) which try to convey the idea that one may celebrate Christmas and leave all religious significance out of that celebration. Let us consider candidly what they are claiming for themselves--the word is not a Bible word, therefore we cannot use it with a Bible definition. The word is a word found in the standard works (dictionary) used to apprise us of the meaning in the vernacular. Because of the changes in our language, the dictionary must be updated almost every year. If we are going to claim that we can celebrate Easter or Christmas or even to use the words without applying the dictionary definition, we are claiming that we are a language unto ourselves. Let us be honest, brethren, on no other subject would we allow anyone to fail to recognize and apply this principle. Yet brethren are so tied to this Ashdodic language and these Roman holidays that they will fly right in the face of the standards with impunity.

The fourth group of words has a Bible root but no particularly religious meaning in the vernacular. Example #1-Corpus Christi--admittedly this is the name for another Catholic celebration, but it has another meaning, and usually it simply means "a town in Texas."

Example #2-Saint Petersburg--the same is true with reference to this as applied to the name of a town.

My hope is that these thoughts and their application may cause many to think farther along these lines. We need to make application of many principles that we claim to accept so readily until they touch some of our pets.