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Friday, July 06, 2007

Locution Confusion--Part 3

Lest someone misunderstand a previous post, I do not believe the church should preach and teach in Greek/Hebrew. Obviously, pastors should be working in the original languages, but we should always communicate that work in clear and attainable ways. Preaching to a German/English/Spanish/Chinese congregation in Latin was ludicrous, we should not seek to return to that form.

I am not suggesting you literally say, "hamartolos" when speaking of John Piper's condition.

However, if we only used the word "bad," we would be missing the boat. There are words that the church uses, which may seem obscure to others, but those words say precisely what we mean. Some words the world may not use, but the church sure should (a very incomplete list):


Someone may protest: But won't such language seem pretentious? Couldn't we miss our entire audience? Won't such language make the church seem stiff and rigid? Won't the new person be confused, or worse yet, offended?

Not if done properly. I'll admit it, I occasionally consult a thesaurus when writing blog articles (you didn't really think I say "locution," did you?). But I don't advocate using a thesaurus for preaching. The glory is not in our oratory, but in the Savior, revealed in the gospel. However, there are some words which have retained the purity almost because of their obscurity. The pastor should not hesitate to use biblical language, understanding he may need to define it for the listener. And the listener should not hesitate to reuse the word, for it is not pastoral language, but biblical language.


  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger Darby Livingston said…

    Your propositions in this breviloquent disquisition are quite pertinent to those in our vocation. Furthermore, you are quite erudite, and should be at a locutionary colloquium. I come to your blog often for ubiquitous coruscations. Peace, out.

  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger fisher said…

    "Obviously, pastors should be working in the original languages"

    hmmm, i'll have to chew on this one, two of my favorite dead guys (Bunyan and Spurgeon) did not often (if ever) do this.

    were they inferior?

  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Darby Livingston said…

    Bunyan and Spurgeon were able to have tremendous, lasting impact on the world - maybe as much as anyone outside of Christ and his apostles. There's no refuting that. However, they were able to do such a thing because someone else translated the Bible out of the original languages into one usable by them. I don't think this makes them inferior, just blessed by God in enormous ways. Though I don't work with original languages (yet), I see some advantage in doing so.

  • At 2:17 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    if you've ever picked up a strong's concordance or any other reference tool, you're working in the original languages.

    anyone who has heard me try to pronounce a hebrew or greek word knows that i am functional in the language, but not proficient.

    shoot, i'm still trying to capture english.


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