The Importance of Little Words
There are no words in the Bible that are there by accident. When the Bible speaks of inspiration, it is not in vague terms as though God gave His thoughts to His prophets and they did their best to put heavenly thoughts into human words.
Think of how “inspired” the words were on the tablets of stone Moses received from God. Every word was specifically given by God. Paul shows the same is true of the New Testament. The American Standard expresses it best. After affirming that it had not entered the heart of any man as to what God’s plan was for the redemption of man, Paul said, “But unto us God revealed them…which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth…combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:10-13). God gave the truth by giving those truths in the very words selected by the Holy Spirit.
The importance of the word “to.” There are those who believe that when Jesus returns from heaven in the clouds he will at that moment establish the kingdom for the next thousand years. They think this is what Daniel said in Daniel chapter seven. “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom.” At first glance it might seem as though when Daniel saw Jesus coming in the clouds at the end of time, that God would then establish the kingdom. However, read it again carefully. This is not a picture of Jesus coming from heaven. Look at one word in the text. He was not descending from heaven, but He was ascending into heaven! He came not from God but Daniel saw a vision of Jesus ascending to God. One small word chosen by God! Daniel’s vision was of Jesus’ ascension and the establishment of that kingdom on Pentecost. One word makes the difference.
The importance of the word “and.” Here is a three letter word chosen by God which so powerfully expresses eternal truth. It is a coordinating conjunction. By definition, “coordinating conjunctions are used to join two parts of a sentence that are grammatically equal.” Both parts are equal in importance. Look at two passages. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). In reference to salvation, by definition, baptism is equal in importance to faith. Look also at Acts 2:38. “Repent and be baptized every one of you…for the remission of sins.” In reference to the remission of sins, baptism is equal in importance to repentance.
There’s more that we will say about this next week. Just remember to look at every word when you study!