Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I remember when I was in elementary school and asked my teacher how to spell something. Invariably she'd tell me to "look it up" in the dictionary. Now for a word like hospital, that was an easy find. But a word like gnat or seemed impossible!

I would reply, "Well I can't find it in the dictionary, it must not be a real word!"

These days dictionary publishers are always adding and subtracting words to their heavy tomes. An interesting editing job came to light the other day as I was reading my Discipleship Journal regarding the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

It read,
"Citing space constraints and the need to reflect Britain's modern, multicultural, and multi-faith society, the editorial team cut a number of religious and historical words and added others deemed more culturally relevant. Bishop, coronation, empire, monarch, nun and sin disappeared, replaced by words such as blog, broadband, celebrity, MP3 player, and voicemail."
Now isn't that interesting? I can see some young Brit sitting in their classroom realizing one of these words was gone from their dictionary and piping up, "If I can't find it in the dictionary, it must not be a real word!" Blimey.

Let's look at those edited words from the Webster's American Family Dictionary.

Bishop: a person who supervises a number of local churches or a diocese, being in the Greek, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other churches a member of the highest order of the ministry.

Coronation: the act or ceremony of crowning a king, queen, or other sovereign.

Empire: a group of nations, states, or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress or other powerful sovereign, as the former British Empire.

Monarch: a hereditary sovereign, as a king, queen, or emperor.

Nun: a woman who is a member of a religious order, esp. one bound by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Sin: transgression of divine law, any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful violation of some religious or moral principle.

Isn't it interesting what words were chosen as obsolete? (If I were the Queen of England, I would be a tad nervous.)

Could it be that those children from my era had a plan all along? Do they think that if they removed a few words from the dictionary, they could remove it from society?

Did you know that snake of a devil has a way with words? He is ready to question what God really said at every moment.

Remember he was in the garden with Eve, asking her if God really said she'd die if she ate that apple. (Genesis 3:1)

He loves to work doubt into our brain and twist scripture. He did that with Jesus in the dessert. (Matthew 4:1-11)

So why not remove a few words from a dictionary?

Take a closer look at the smallest word that was removed: sin.

Why not reduce the vocabulary a bit by taking out a three letter word? It's a very narrow word...narrow in size and narrow in it's meaning. It's an electric fence, a scarlet letter, a chasm between man and God. It's such a negative word, heavy with guilt and judgment.

Who even uses that word outside of church anyway? Sadly, even churches are removing that intolerant word from their speech.

Be assured, sin will always be with us. You can take it out of every dictionary, thesaurus and sermon, but you cannot remove it from man's heart. There is only one way to do that.

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
1 John 3:5

Jesus is the only One who can really remove sin from our lives. No dictionary editor has that power. Jesus is the "white out" and "delete" button for our sin. All we have to do is ask Him to edit our heart. And He will do it gladly, because that tiny three letter word is the only thing that separates us from God.

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Do you realize how much you ROCK!?! :) Great piece.