I was thinking recently (I do that sometimes). I was thinking about the words we speak. You know, the English language is intriguing. It is one of the few existing languages today that have more words spoken with no thought to the meaning.
For example, if you study the Hebrew language, not one word is spoken without a meaning behind it. You may think, ‘I speak English, I never say anything I don’t really mean.’ But do you?
For example, take the word ‘incredible’. I was praying a few years back and was telling God how incredible He was and how incredible His works are and He questioned me on it. I heard Him question into my spirit, “So you think I’m not credible? That what I do is not credible?”
It made me think of a quote from my all-time favorite movie: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”[i]
That got me to thinking…again. We often use the word ‘incredible’ to reference things that we believe are amazing. But exactly what IS the definition of the word ‘incredible?’ Just look at the dictionary definition:
Incredible [in-kred–uh-buh l][ii]
- So extraordinary as to seem impossible.
- Not credible; hard to believe; unbelievable.
When we tell God that He is incredible, that His ways are incredible, then we are saying He is unbelievable. That brings a whole new meaning to what we are saying. God is amazing! And, it would behoove (there’s another strange word) us to believe in Him and consider His Word believable.
You see, God IS credible! His works are credible! And His Word is credible! Just for fun, look at the dictionary definition of the word ‘credible:’
Credible [kred–uh-buh l] [iii]
- Capable of being believed; believable.
- Worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy.
Now, that sounds more like our God!
The fact is His works are awesome! Well, I’m not just ‘somewhat’ in awe of His works; I’m fully in awe of His works. And, yet, I can’t say that His works are ‘awful’ because that would mean the opposite of what I meant for it to mean. Do you know what I mean?
In fact, just to confuse things more, the King James Version of the Bible tells us that God’s works are ‘terrible.’ Well, now, wait a minute…doesn’t ‘terrible’ mean bad? His works aren’t bad.
Actually, the meaning of that word has changed over the years. Its original use did mean ‘to cause terror,’ but it was meant to evoke reverence. (Wait, is it evoke or invoke? Uggh, where’s my dictionary?).
This word was meant to speak of something, or someone, who would cause one to be full of awe (here we go again). God’s Word tells us to ‘fear the Lord.’ This doesn’t mean we should be afraid of Him. It means we should reverence Him, but with a holy reverence (understanding the ramifications if we don’t). Psalm 111:10 says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”[iv] The English word ‘fear’ there is translated from the original Hebrew word ‘yirah’ meaning ‘respect, reverence, piety, to stand in awe of.’
Incidentally, we should look at the word ‘terrific’ while we’re at it. The word ‘terrific’ doesn’t actually mean something great or good. It actually means ‘to cause terror; terrifying.’
And then there are all of those grammatical errors we all see, every day in social media. Words that are mixed up like:
- They’re and their
- Your and you’re
- Who’s and whose
- Principal and principle
- Precede and proceed
- Insure, ensure and assure
- Farther and further
- Elicit and illicit
- Affect and effect
- Adverse and averse
And my absolute biggest pet peeve – frustrated, flustered, flustrated and the often used (non-word) fustrated.
I heard someone say ‘conversate’ the other day. Yeah…. That’s not a word either. Just because, here are few other made up words that aren’t real:
- Sherbert (it’s actually sherbet, who knew?)
- Intensive purposes (no. It’s for all intense and purposes)
- Expresso (would that be espresso without the espresso?)
But, I digress, as I egress.
[i] Inigo Montoya, ‘The Princess Bride’
[ii] Source: Dictionary.com
[iii] Source: Dictionary.com
[iv] King James Version