The English Language

By Ron Walters 

English: the language of King James, Shakespeare and Webster; the first language to declare, “All men are created equal;” the only language spoken on the moon. English: the most bazaar and confusing language in the world. 

It’s a wonder anyone can understand it. For example: 

* The plural of moose is moose while the plural of goose is geese. But the plural of mongoose is mongooses. 
* Ewe and you are pronounced the same but share no common letters.
* The longest word with non-duplicated letters is uncopyrightable.
* Dismayed, disrupt and inept are negative words that have no positive form.
* Are, came, gape, and lien are one syllable words. But add one letter each and they become three syllables: area, cameo, agape, and alien. 
* Rugged is two syllables. But add a couple of letters-shrugged-and it becomes one syllable.
* At times redundancy is completely acceptable-Rio Grande River, and Sierra Mountains, among others.
* The most commonly written word is the, but the most often spoken word is “I.” 

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! 

And if that’s not enough, certain wordsmiths play mindboggling games to confuse us even more-as with palindromes. 

Palindromes are words that read the same forward and backwards, as in Bob, radar, kayak, and racecar. A palindrome can also be a sentence-spelled the same from either direction, as in: A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. 

I keep wondering, “Who thinks up these dizzy verbal switchbacks? Who has that much time on their hands?” Here’s some of their handiwork: 

– Yo, banana boy!
– Do geese see God? 
– Madam, I’m Adam. 
– Desserts, I stressed.
– Ma is a nun, as I am.
– Was it a car or a cat I saw? 
– Lived on decaf; faced no devil.
– Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog.
– A Toyota; race fast, safe car. A Toyota. 

But modern-day scribes weren’t the first to write forward and backwards-palindromes date back 2,000 years. In fact, cryptic forms of palindromes were used by the early Church as coded messages during times of persecution. Whereas Nero hoped to silence Christians, the first century believers were determined to spread the word, teach the saints, and hold tightly to biblical doctrines even if done through puzzles. 

We’ve come a long way during those two millennia. Today we have protected freedoms allowing us to gather for worship and to study God’s word. And pastors have the same freedom to teach. We do not hide our message or veil its truth. 

Or do we? 

In an effort to be relevant and unique, there’s a temptation to sacrifice content for creativity, the permanent for the immediate, doctrine for easy-listening. But nothing on God’s green earth could be more relevant than His God-breathed word. The further our teaching strays from scripture, the less its power, and the more veiled it becomes to those who are perishing. 

That’s why our commission was made so simple. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” And, “speak the truth in love.” 

Proclaiming God’s word is not rocket science, it’s even headier than that. After all, its affects are eternal. His word provides light in a darkened world. It defines life and death. It has no equal, no limitations, and no end. It’s absolute and matchless in content. It’s infinite in scope, complete in knowledge, and entirely dependable. And unlike any other, His word is alive and active. 

The literal translation of Acts 20.27 says, “I did not keep back from declaring to you all the counsel of God.” Or, you could say, “A half truth is a whole lie.” Now that sounds more like English!

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