The power of words—In the translator’s obvious preoccupation with language, it is inevitable that he will one day pause to ask himself if this thing called language is worth all the fuss and bother. If—as some claim—the most worthwhile and deepest things in life cannot be expressed in words, why are words important enough that it becomes the goal of a life to understand what a Book means and to transmit its message into a language not yet the vehicle of that message?

If God thought it worthwhile to give us a Book revealing his nature and purposes, then it is certainly worth our time to pass it on to others. This is a good—perhaps a final—answer. Of further interest in this regard are the attitudes towards language expressed or implied in Scripture itself.

Thus, without doubt the focal point of the New Testament is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is it not this great event which speaks to us, rather than words? If this sounds plausible to us, we need to recollect how things appeared to the women and the disciples the first moments when they confronted the empty tomb. Were they gladdened at finding the sepulchre vacant? Quite the contrary. They were depressed, anxious, even appalled to find Christ’s body gone. But Christ had repeatedly foretold the Resurrection, and when he met them as the Risen Lord he met them as a talking and teaching Christ who “beginning at Moses and all the prophets expounded to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.” Thus the Resurrection is imbedded in a verbal context. It is as an interpreted event that it has significance for us.

Job in the Old Testament desired a personal encounter with God. In the black days of his trial he cried out, “O that I knew where I might find him.” Is ...

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