St. Paul’s Cathedral, the second-largest church building in the world, has dominated the London skyline for more than four centuries. When it opened in 1708, King George 1 let its architect, Christopher Wren, know exactly what he thought about it. It was awful, the king said. And artificial.
And you thought you had a hard time wringing an encouraging word out of your supervisor.
Wren, however, couldn’t have been more delighted with the king’s response. That’s because the meaning of certain words can change from time to time. When George said the new cathedral was “awful,” he meant “awe-full.” It inspired a sense of awe. In the 17th century the English word “artificial” meant “full of great art.” Those were career-transforming compliments.
It’s one thing to hang onto the words of those who are evaluating your most recent project. It’s quite another thing to trust your life to the words of God whose book is almost 20 centuries old.
Has the meaning of God’s Word gradually gotten lost in translation? It’s the job of professional scholars, theologians and philologists to make sure we know exactly what Jeremiah, Malachi, Luke and Peter meant by the words they wrote so long ago. It’s God’s job to make sure we can actually trust them. Having God’s word in print form is arguably a miracle on par with His own Son coming to Earth to save us from the effects of sin!
Knowing that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible gives us confidence to embrace God’s word…2 Peter 1:21 “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
The prophet Isaiah wrote: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (40:8). Seasons will come and go. Everything around us will change. But the assurances we will find in God’s Word – His bedrock promises of mercy, grace and life-changing power – will never become null and void.
You have to admit, that’s a perfectly awe-full thing to hear.
-Rev Dr William Lewis