Bringing the Text to Life
“That’s just words.”
No doubt you’ve heard people say this, usually with a sneer and a dismissive wave of the hand. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. When Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet is asked a question about what he’s reading, he responds, “Words, words, words” — implying that the words in front of him are meaningless. And we’ve all been told at one time or another that what’s important are deeds, not words. The Latin expression is facta, non verba.
But watch out. When we give priority to action, we miss the creativity of expression. Fact is, words have real power.
We Christians should get this. From beginning to end, the Bible gives testimony to the power of what God accomplishes through a word. “In the beginning was the Word,” says the gospel of John — in the beginning was the Word, not the Deed. And “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1).
Genesis reports that “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (1:3). God didn’t build a light-generating apparatus but...