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"Go ye and learn what that meaneth"
(Matt. 9: 13)
(A series of studies on the importance of, and the comprehension of, "meaning")
Words---the material of the unashamed workman.
Every word has a meaning.
pp. 14 - 17
Rule #2. A word is the medium whereby the thoughts and ideas
of one person may be made intelligible to another. Words are
therefore the current coin, the material of the unashamed workman.
The principle of `right division' which we considered in the preceding article, cannot
of course be put into use apart from `the Word of truth'. Timothy was not exhorted to
`rightly divide', merely, for that does not make sense; he was exhorted to `rightly divide
the Word of truth'. A well set saw, a well grounded chisel are valuable tools but, without
timber to work upon they are as useless as the dullest implement. The exposition deals
with `words', words of truth, inspired words, living words, words that are spirit and life,
but nevertheless words.
"The examination of the Scriptures", says Dr. Chalmers, "is a pure work of
grammatical analysis; it is an unmixed question of language. We must admit of no other
instrument than the vocabulary and the lexicon" (which includes as we shall see the
concordance in order to discover the usage as well as the original meaning of a word).
"The mind or meaning of an author who is translated is purely a question of language,
and should be decided on no other principle than that of grammar and philosophy" (By
philosophy here is meant the axioms and bases of all legitimate thought).
"But this principle has been most glaringly departed from in the case of the Bible.
The meaning of the Author instead of being made simply and entirely a question of
grammar has been made a question of metaphysics or of sentiment. It has been `such
must be the rendering by the analogy of faith, the reason of the thing, the character of the
Divine mind, etc.'."
When the Most High condescended to speak to man, He chose the Hebrew and the
Greek languages as His instruments. When He chose those languages, He of necessity
chose to use their grammar, their modes of expression, their syntax and their vocabulary.
From the Divine standpoint and from the human standpoint the language remains
unchanged. In His Sovereignty and in His Providence, however, the Lord exercised
wondrous wisdom in selecting or rejecting items of these languages so that His Will
should be clearly made known. This is taught in Psa. 12::
"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified
seven times" (Psa. 12: 6).
The Companion Bible gives reasons, grammatical and otherwise for rendering this
verse as follows: