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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Weight of Glory

Greek has not received much application from me yet. I have only been learning the language for one semester and you should know that I'm not re-translating my own version of the Bible yet. However, one application that has been very helpful is the understanding of individual words. A lot of it has been understanding the different roots of words and their connections to other words (etymology). It turns out that many of the religious words that we use today were taken from everyday words in the Greek or Hebrew languages. Now I'm not at all saying that we shouldn't keep using them. I believe that words matter and some words that we use are so packed with meaning and particular connotations in the Bible that we should keep using them. I'm just suggesting that we work a little harder at explaining them.

Some examples that don't really have much significance are words like Bible (βιβλίον), which is the Greek word for book, and scripture (γραφή), which was just the Greek word for writing. Another example of something that sheds a little more light is the name Deuteronomy. The word δεύτερος (transliterated deuteros) is the Greek word for second, while νόμος (or nomos) is the general word for law. Therefore it helps to know that the title of Deuteronomy literally means second law. It gives you a better idea of what the book is trying to accomplish. (And it turns out that the book really is a repeat of most of what has been said in the Law up to that point.)

The most useful thing I have learned when it comes to this study of etymology is the meaning of the word "glory". Glory has taken on a lot of meanings and carries a lot of connotations now days. We flippantly say things like, "My goal in life is to glorify God." I do not think that is a bad goal. In fact, that is the goal of my life. But when we say important statements like that, I believe we should have some understanding of what we are saying. And at its most basic level, understanding comes in individual words. So knowing what it means to glorify would have a large impact on how this goal plays out in someone's life. So glory, in its original everyday use, meant weightiness or significance. Think about that for just a minute. When Paul says in Colossians 3 that we should do everything, whether in word or deed, to the glory of God the Father, he is talking about showing God's significance, showing His importance.

Now obviously glory does not mean that everywhere it shows up in the Bible. When we talk about our glorified bodies we do not mean our significant bodies. That is talking about renewed bodies and honestly I don't know where the connection between the two words. I'd have to study further to get that. But this understanding of what I am talking about should not be taken lightly. When we talk about glorifying God with our lives and with everything that we do, we are talking about showing, in every action, how significant and important He is. That makes sense to me. So by reading my Bible instead of watching TV, I am showing that God is important to me. By talking about Jesus regularly in conversation, I am showing that He is important. This isn't just something I say sometimes. He is legitimately significant in my life and much more important in the grand scheme of things than other things that I could be doing with my time, money, energy, and efforts. Think about all the applications of this that show up in everyday decisions.

I was just thinking about this and thought I would share it with you. I also have a resource that I want to share with you and it is a good one at that. It is Mark Driscoll's sermon series called Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. In this series, Driscoll walks through the basic doctrine that we hold to as Christians. It is one of the most helpful series that I have ever listened to. A lot of what he says in here is foundational to my worldview. I listened to it last year so this is my second time through and it is rocking me again and also hammering home a lot of essential truths. Please, if you have any desire to listen to this, do it. He says a lot of things that are essential Christian beliefs that I had never heard before. Meaning I did not understand some things about Christianity that are basic and I should have known a long time ago. There are thirteen sermons, each of them being about an hour long. You can listen to these in two weeks without even changing anything about your day. Don't watch the 11 pm Sportscenter for the next two weeks and watch one of these each night instead. You may not know how well Kobe Bryant is playing, but you will know more about who God is and why we need salvation. Skip your daily watching of One Tree Hill and watch one of these. In two weeks you won't know what Chad Michael Murray has been up to, but honestly who the heck cares? I'm series, these truths will shape your life. Don't let what's on TBS tonight shape your worldview, let that be the function of the Word of God.

Well, I got on a little tangent there I guess. But oh well. Also, I have some things to say about Passion 2011, but I will leave those for later today. I love you all. I hope these things challenge you and that they somehow increase your hunger for Jesus.

Soli Deo gloria


Terry said...

You made a very important point about the definiton of "glory". Thanks for sharing it.

Mitchell Carter said...

Just a note about this: I don't think I was clear about the glory thing. Glory isn't always used in the way that is mentioned here. Apparently a lot of times it is talking about like a visible glory, like light or something. Think like what Stephen looked up and saw at his stoning (Acts 7) or Jesus's face at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17). Sorry for the confusion.