Have you ever wondered why some people like to flaunt their education? Well, I am not sure why, but I see a lot of it these days. I am sure you have run into those folks who love to use great swelling words to impress you with. You know the kind of words that you never hear or understand after they are spoken. The kind that you have to look up in the dictionary. I suppose the good thing is that now with smartphones you can look it up on the spot where once upon a time you had to wait until you got home to look it up, that is of course if you know how to spell it!. Now, I am a church going southerner and I love the Lord and the study of the Bible; However, I am a little puzzled by the incessant use of Latin and Greek transliterations and great swelling Theological terminology. Well, you know a transliteration is taking a word from another language and using it in your own language, and those fellas that went to Seminary or Bible College love to use transliterations. There are more transliterations in the Bible than you probably realize. They also love to use big words like hermeneutics and exegesis. Sounds interesting. You know, you sit there and say: “Wow” what a big swelling word! What does it mean?”
Well, to help out I am going to add a couple of transliterations. One is the word “Christ.” Christ, when translated, means “Anointed King.” So when you hear someone say, Jesus Christ, what they are saying is Jesus the anointed king. And he is! Another one is Baptist. Baptist means “immerser.” So when you say John the Baptist you are saying John the Immerser.
Now lately I have been reading a lot about “hermeneutics.” A friend of mine told a joke in Sunday school a few weeks back using the word hermeneutics. I wasn’t there, but he told me that the joke fell flat when he told it because he assumed everyone in there knew what hermeneutics was. Sounds like a setting on a high-dollar keyboard or something like that. Nevertheless, next time you go to church and your pastor or Sunday school teacher pulls out the word “hermeneutics.” then you will know that it means: “The art of finding the meaning of an author’s words and phrases, and explaining it to others.” That is pretty much it. Really he could just say: ” Alright everyone, it is important to find the correct understanding of the words and phrases in the Bible!” You see, there is a big discussion these days in Christian circles about this because there are so many different interpretations of the Bible. I would say that the plainest and simple understanding is the best one. Too many people are trying to be clever these days and come up with some special revelation outside of what is written. I would say that you should take up the challenge and read your Bible. When you do, realize that most things are easy to understand. However, some things take a little more research, and some things are meant to be shrouded in mystery.
The next big word is “exegesis.” The first time I heard this word, I thought the guy was saying “Exi-Jesus!” In fact for a few months I thought that is what he was saying. What is worse, I couldn’t find it in any reference material I had. Google wasn’t very sophisticated at that time. So I finally asked the dude to explain to me what Exi-Jesus meant. He told me that it means explanation or interpretation. Then I said: “why don’t you just say interpretation or explanation?” He didn’t respond, but I figure that he didn’t like my idea.
My advice to you is to always ask questions and don’t be afraid to tell someone you don’t know something. Keep your smartphone handy or if you are old-school like me you can carry your old dictionary. But if you are one of those guys that like to use great swelling words to sound cool, please stop. Just speak plainly. However, if you just can’t help yourself, be sure to at least define the great swelling word for us common folk.