Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Proper View of Language

Language is an old art.

From the time Adam stood in the Garden of Eden six thousand years ago and said "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" man has spoken. From dramatic, such as Shakespeare's "For God's sake let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings" to illiterate men who can barely say the word "cool."

Language is the currency with which we trade at the exchanging table of ideas.

Occasionally throughout history nations have been conquered by other nations, and it is not uncommon for the conquering nation to force the vanquished to use its language, why would this be? Because language is powerful, and social planers know it.

In modern America, good language is a lost art. Rather than saying "how art thou?" it is more common to say "what’s up?" Such phrases as "hey man" "neato" "ya know" and others that are equally illustrative of the speakers ignorance have come to be common currency at the trading table of ideas. Not only does this sound highly uneducated, but it also is irreverent to God to be loose and careless with our language. When speaking before a king one would never say “when man, you know like, I was like going to tell you, if you know what I’m saying that your arch enemy, you know like King William, well man, he like you know is like coming dude to like take you out.” And yet we speak before the Almighty King every moment, let us not show earthly sovereigns more respect than the One who created us.

Anyone who has read the writings of the founding fathers knows that to read their writings, unless you have a vocabulary that is astounding for the man of the modern era, you will need a dictionary to simply read a love letter.

However, the ultimate goal of language is not to astound people is our social circles, move audiences, of write plays that will be remembered long after we are dead. The ultimate purpose of language is to glorify God

I Corinthians 10:31 says: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

It is not acceptable to be slovenly or lazy in our speech. As we are to do all things decently and in order, we are to speak decently and in order. (Such things as single negatives, proper verb usage, as well as the use of only contractions that truly exist, not spur of the moment ones, would perhaps be in order here.)

As we attempt to reform all of life for the glory of Christ, we must also reform this area of language, which has been to long neglected. So long in fact that Christians have adopted the vocabulary of the heathen.

He who defines the words wins the argument, and not only are our words changing so are the meaning of our words. There was a time when the word cool meant not hot and gay meant happy.

If the Chinese were conquered by the country of India, and were kept in subjection for one thousand years, and at the end of that time a leader rose who wanted to bring back the national identity of China, he would begin by bringing back their flag, their religion, and their language. Christianity has lost much ground the heathenism, we must bring back our true religion, not its forms. We must bring back our true standard, the Scriptures. And we must bring back our language.

We are not seeking to speak as if we were all King James I, we are attempting to speak like Christians. We are not trying to be imitators of Shakespeare, we are striving to be children of the King.

Language is a dying art, but it is not yet dead. Christians who self-consciously attempt to speak in such a way as to glorify God in a grammatically correct form, with proper use of words and phrases that evince respect for God and their elders may be laughed at if they do not adopt the modern language, yet the modern language is not God honoring, and honor is what we are to show to God is it not?

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,

Andrew C. Abbott

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow. This is truly amazing. Language is a subject dear to my heart; though (as you can see) I am no better than most.
    King James english is the most fun. It is rather difficult to refrain from using it at times.
    I believe the "thee's and thou's" should still be in use, as they are more specific to the person you are speaking with. Whereas "you" is much too general a term for most occasions.

    Very true. Very well said. Our language is meant to honor the Creator of all the universe; and to use slovenly speech is to dishonor, and disrespect our Heavenly Father.

    Thank you for making that point so clearly. :)

    Thank you ever so much, for this very encouraging, and uplifting post. :)