Have you ever been listening to a sermon or some sort of Bible teaching and the speaker said something like, “This is where we get the English word _____ from…”?
Most of the time, the speaker will proceed to apply the contemporary word and its definition to the text as a way of explaining the text. Unfortunately, this is an example of the logical fallacy; False Analogy. That is:
A is similar to B
B has property P
Therefore, A has property P
Here are some highlights of the great ones that I have heard (in no particular order):
δυναμις (dunamis) – Ephesians 3:16 “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man”
English look-a-like: Dynamite – Preached as “We have been filled with DYNAMITE!”
ποιημα (poiema) – Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
English look-a-like: Poem – Preached as “We are God’s poems”
ζεστος (zestos) – Revelation 3:16 “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
English look-a-like: Zest – Preached as “The Church of Laodicea did not have any zest for Jesus! Do you have any zest for Jesus?”
αυτοματος (automatos) – Acts 12:10a “When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself;”
English look-a-like: Automatic – Preached as “God has an automatic door opener”
You see the problem is, that they are applying today’s definition of a word that does not appear in the text, to the text. Yes, it is true that we know these English words have an etymology in the Greek words, but the does not mean the Greek words have the same definition. So next time you hear someone say, “This is where we get the English word _____ from…” then buyer beware. It might sound clever and enjoyable, but it probably has little to do with what the text actually says.
Another interesting point is that these texts are excellent without the extra nonsense added.
Why do we feel the need to spice up the God’s Word?