Let’s wrap up some loose ends from this week’s topic…
There are a variety of ways to determine the specific definitions of key words. The first and best way is to take the definition given by the Bible. We did this with faith. Paul wrote a specific definition. We found faith was two things.
Faith is a belief in something that: 1) We can’t see and/or 2) Hasn’t happened yet.
When the Bible doesn’t give a specific definition, the next best way to determine the specific definition is through a concordance. A concordance gives the definition of the word in its original language. We did this with grace. We found out the word used for grace was “charis”.
Charis is the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life.
We saw how we can give charis to others. Ephesians 4:29 says we can influence the heart of others and it can come out in their actions. It is a beautiful example of how we can be like God to others.
We saw Galatians 2:21 says we can frustrate the grace of God by looking to the Law for the influence that is reflected in our actions.
We can prove this definition of grace is non-contradictory by showing that it fits EVERY verse in the Bible that uses the word “charis”. Unmerited favor DOES NOT fit every verse in the Bible that uses the word “charis”. What is sad is how people fight for this definition even though it has never fully made sense in the 500 years that it has become the accepted definition.
It would be nice if these two techniques gave us the specific definition of every key word in the Bible. Unfortunately, they don’t. There are words that aren’t defined by the author of the Bible. The definitions of these words according to a concordance are abstract. What do we do?
The third technique is to determine the definition that makes all the verses non-contradictory. (The first two techniques should also give non-contradictory definitions.) A simple example is “holy”. A concordance says holy means “pure, clean, set apart”. There are verses where pure fits the definition of holy better than set apart. Then there are verses where set apart fits the definition of holy better than clean. What is the specific definition?
It appears the specific definition would be the cause that would result in the effects given in the abstract definition. There is a specific definition of holy and it results in things being pure, clean, and set apart. My favorite example is love.
We saw with the Henderson 4000 that the specific definition is NOT simply a list of the effects. The same could be said for “love”. People like to say I Corinthians 13 gives the definition of love. It doesn’t. It gives 16 EFFECTS (or RESULTS) of love…and 9 are what love IS NOT!
That would be like me explaining "car" to you by saying, “It has wheels, it doesn’t have wings, it doesn’t have a horse pulling it,…” Can you really explain what “car” is to someone based on my listing of what “car” is and is not?
However, when you determine the specific definition, it is proven by its ability to give the “why” behind the effects listed by the Bible. When you understand the specific definition of love, you instantly see WHY it is patient, kind, not keeping record of wrongs, etc. You can see why it is possible to love someone even when you don’t feel like it. In fact, it will show you HOW to intentionally love someone when you don’t feel like it.
Last week I went on a blog and discussed our ability to know what we are talking about. One person in the ministry (!) said we COULDN’T know the definition of love. Jesus said they will know us by our love for one another. Love is HUGELY important and this minister didn’t believe we could know what we are talking about…YET we should continue to act as if we do? I responded this way:
Not only can we know what "love" means, we can also know what we mean when we say, "I love you."
It may sound simple, but think about it for a second...If love is an emotion, then it is not something we can control.
Love is something we are supposed to be able do EVEN WHEN WE DON'T FEEL LIKE IT.If love is something we do, then isn't telling somebody "I love you" bragging or drawing attention to something we do...which isn't love according to I Cor 13.
We use that word everyday...it is hugely important...and you don't think we can know what it means?
I got no response…