Words and Interpretation
What Do They Really Mean?
by Jim Gordon
So often in Christianity we use words to describe spiritual things, yet what we say and what we mean are sometimes two different things.
Take for instance the word church. Most of us think of a building where Christians meet every Sunday for an organized, pre-planned service of music, prayer and a sermon by a pastor. In reality, true Church is better described by the word ekklesia. It is people who are following Christ and allowing Him to live and love through them. Church is not a place or a building, nor is it the house of God. It is not done on a specific day or at a set time. Church is the body of Christ, each of us equally functioning as parts of the body under Christ. We live each day by the power of the Spirit living within us, loving and accepting others.
How about the word Christian itself? We usually think of people who love God, go to a building each week and follow specific doctrines. Actually, Christian is a man-made word that originally was used to describe those who followed the teaching of Jesus and were doing the works of Jesus. Today, Christians are considered people who believe in God, go to church, follow specific rules, pray, read the bible and try to get more people to come to their church. Unfortunately, many times Christians seem to be known more by what they are against rather than sharing the love of Jesus. *
Christianity today is more widely known as a religion, an organization led by a man or woman. Even more so, currently it is becoming known as a political action organization. Most people outside of Christianity see this as just another religious organization that really makes no difference in helping and sharing the love of God to those outside their particularly group.
When we talk about prayer, we generally think of a pastor or godly person saying spiritual sounding words to God. Many times, prayers are written out and followed word for word to make it sound more spiritual. Actually, prayer is just talking. Like you would talk to a friend or relative, prayer is talking to God. Not only talking, but being quiet and listening for God to speak to you. It is talking to God like we talk to anyone else.
What about the bible. Of course, our first thought is a book that God inspired men to write. If we look closer at John 1:1, we find that the bible is not a book at all. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God”. We see that the Bible or Word of God, is Jesus. He is the inerrant, all powerful, living Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. The book we call the bible is God inspired and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. It tells us about human beings who were trying to find God and figure out how to relate to God. It tells of how God dealt with his creation and shows how much he loves us. The bible is a book about God and man’s quest to find God, and we can learn a lot about God and ourselves by reading it. What we do not want to do is make the bible equal to God. The bible is not part of the trinity, it is a book. Again, God inspired, but humans still had their views and opinions in writing it.
The word worship is generally thought of as a time during the religious service when people are led into song and outward praise to God. This is usually done by a leader or group who are chosen or paid to lead in this way. The style of worship also varies greatly from group to group. Many people think worship are songs, or lifting of hands or dancing. Worship is actually a deep sense of reverence and adoring praise of our Father. It is personal and does not need a professional leader to bring us to this point. It is a sincere and earnest thankfulness we have for God and can be done whether with others or privately.
I am sure there are many other words we could come up with that would fit here, but the main point is it is not so much the word we use, but the true meaning behind it. Jesus is the all in all. It does not boil down to our doctrines, beliefs and man-made efforts. It is following Christ, allowing Him to live through us and giving Him the throne of our lives. Jesus is the head of the body, the rest of us are equal parts with equal functions in his body.
Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org