What’s in a Word?

I love words and language.

I was asked recently why I write. That was one of the reasons I gave. I love both the beauty and the power of words. You can paint an entire scene before someone, just with your words. You can build up – or crush someone, with your words.

But what are words? Words are the paint on the brush of the artist. The tone of a person’s voice is like the stroke of the brush the dabs it on thick and heavy or slides it in a gentle curve over the canvas. Words are the expression of thoughts and feelings. They are the outward flow of what is inside a person. They are used to express every aspect of a person’s being, from the simple, to the silly, to the profound; from the beautiful and sweet, to the ugly and base, and the ongoing questions that meander through our minds.

In the Gospel of John, the Apostle refers to Jesus as the Logos; a Greek word that is translated in most English translations as the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” John says. Those ‘words’ can become so familiar that we read over them without thinking about what they really mean.

Logos, as with many Greek words, is rich with meaning. To translate it simply as word, seems an injustice. For logos doesn’t refer to a simple portion of language. It is not the paint on the end of the brush. It is defined as “the inward thought or reason itself”coming forth in outward expression. It is the creativity of the painter coming forth in colors and texture and dimension. It is not just the lyrics of the song, but the music and voice and pitch, all combined together. When John calls Jesus the Logos, he speaks of the full outward expression of who God is. Jesus is the creativity and life-being of God flowing forth in expression.

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God…by Him all things were created…and in Him all things hold together.” He is the expression, the creativity and the glue that holds all things together. He is the Logos.

In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah we read: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying:…” For years, I have read over that without thought and translated it in my mind as ‘the words of the Lord came to me’, but that is not what it says. It is THE word of the Lord – the Word of the Lord came to me, saying:… It wasn’t simply that ‘words’ came into Jeremiah’s mind from God, but God’s outward expression, or manifestation, the Logos, came to Jeremiah and spoke to him saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

Jesus is not ‘the word’, he is the logos, the full expression of the inner depths of God, come to man. “The Logos became flesh and lived for a while among us,” John says. And further on he says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son…has made him known.”

May you dwell in and with the Logos, today; the full and complete, creative expression of God. May He paint your life with vivid hues of living color that burst forth into songs of adoration to the great Creator of all things.

Live Loved, my friend.

2 Comments What’s in a Word?

  1. revivor

    Hey, I’ve finally caught up with my stumbles!! and at an appropriate time – Christmas (The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…)


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