Changes in Meaning Today

In this day and age we generally consider the world to be exeriencing accelerated change, we almost universally accept that our cultures, religions and technological drivers are morphing faster than ever before. Sometimes our assumptions that most change is recent leads us to forget that the human world has been continuously changing for thousands of years. This is especially relevant to the language we use to communicate with each other and as a result our shared understanding of the written Word of God. Respected biblical Greek teacher Dr. William Mounce (2010) says, “Vocabulary also is in a constant state of flux. Words just move. Maybe not quickly; sometimes slowly, but they always move. The problem is when we assume that a word has the same meaning today that it had hundreds of years ago.”[1] Mounce’s comment illustrates why it so important for our studies of the Bible to be informed by an awareness of the morphological changes that occur in languages over the course of history. Perhaps most importantly though it demonstates a need for us as modern readers to be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit in our devotions. For us to be willing to let him come alongside us and lead us closer to God,[2] in the process helping to understand what God is saying to us, both as individuals and as the Christian church. Remembering that he inspired his followers to record the Words of the Bible for both our personal and corporate growth.


1. See:“new”

2. The Biblical Greek word for the Holy Spirit is παράκλητος (paraklētos) meaning one who comes alongside to encourage and comfort.

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