By Rhonda Maydwell
Rhonda Maydwell works at Veterans United and is part of the Home Buying Concierge team. She currently lives in Columbia, MO. Rhonda studied English and Religious Studies at Mizzou and is using her talents as a staff writer for GotQuestions.org. She’s also a wife, mother, and friend to many.
I spent last weekend in Kansas City with my mom and sister. We spent a lot of time at Kansas City’s River Market Saturday morning and especially loved exploring the eclectic Farmers Market. Stalls with offerings reaped from well-tended gardens, hand crafted, home cooked, beautifully cultivated and arranged. It was a feast for the senses! One artisan crafted greeting cards with quippy sayings overlaying various icons. My favorite was a card with a houseplant painted in watercolor. So pretty. And strips of paper were decoupaged to the front that read: “I like to use big words because they make me sound photosynthesis.” I laughed out loud, for real!
I don’t know how photosynthesis I am, but I do know I have always loved words. Big words, short ones, unusual words, common words used in unusual ways… I love them. No. I adore them. One might say I cherish language and the astonishingly varied vocables at our disposal and the immense variety of expressions we can craft by combining words and phrases along with grammatical tools to express richly satisfying utterances fraught with meaning and exactitude.
An artist is astounded at the never ending colors and shades that can be combined to create and depict beauty. The musician is wonderstruck at the myriad of combinations of notes, tone, rhythm, time, melody and chords that can evoke any emotion when played just so. The writer, however, is gobsmacked by syllables. A three letter prefix can change the intention of a word, while a two letter suffix alters the past. Words can start a war or bring forgiveness and healing. A well-constructed sentence is a wonderment to behold.
Readers of the Bible are warned countless times at the deadliness of the tongue. God knows the arsenal of syllables at our disposal have wounded and claimed far more souls than any manmade weapon of war ever could. We are told in Proverbs that evil words destroy one’s friends (11:9), yet kind and gentle words bring healing and life (15:9). Words are awesome. They have the power to kill or to give life. We must carry them like liquid nitrogen—respecting the volatile nature of a substance that can bring healing when handled well and combust when treated carelessly.
Words also tell a story. As a guide words are truer than a compass and plot a path surer than an atlas. Maybe that’s why God chose over forty authors to write sixty-six books utilizing countless genres and literary devices for those who want to know and follow the Guy. God’s nature never changes yet He tells us in a myriad of ways who He is. Through the romance of Ruth, the faithfulness of Joseph, the irony of Jonah, and the intrigue of Esther. History, narrative, poetry, wisdom, parables, law, prayer, instruction, humor, prophecy and song—all are literary elements found within the pages of the Bible. Words, thoughts, cries, utterances, and phrases divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit to give readers a glimpse into the world created by God in its intended form and the path that will lead us back to that glorious garden.
The book of John refers to Jesus as the Word in its opening lines.
“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:1-4).
The Word of God is associated with the personification of the revelation of God. When the idea of God is too big, too far for us to grasp, the Word serves as a bridge from the transcendent God to the material world. Who is God? What is He like? What is His plan? Look to Jesus. Jesus is the perfect revelation of God. God is holy, perfect, loving, patient, teaching, and willing to sacrifice everything for you and me. Jesus is the perfect Word.
Does this justify my logophilia? Maybe, maybe not. But God loves words. God is the Word. God exhorts us to use words wisely and kindly. So…I think it’s ok.
Dang! I’m pretty photosynthesis after all! Sweet!