Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Musings:11/25/09,Unspeakable Words, by John

Unspeakable Words?

Are there unspeakable words? Isn't that a contradictory idea? Words express ideas so that others can understand what we are thinking, right? Samuel Morse invented a code used for many years to express written words by wire and radio. Juan Pablo de Bonet invented a sign language signifying words rather than going directly to ideas. Anne Sullivan developed and taught Helen Keller her own sort of sign language, and she even taught Helen to speak though Helen could not hear at all. Others have created ways to communicate. American Indians communicated with sign language from one tribe to another. They also used the sound of drums and signals made with smoke to communicate at a distance. People do communicate when it is required for numbers of reasons.

All of the above could be called "unspeakable words, couldn't they? But I am thinking of statements in the Bible. Paul said, "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift." in II Corinthians 9:15, King James Version. The New International Version translates the Greek word as "indescribable." Strong's first definition was "not expounded in full." In II Corinthians 12:2-4 the NIV says, "I know a man...caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." He used a different word, but the KJV translators gave it the same translation. Strong's first translation was "unsaid" and by implication indescribable.

In the first reference, I believe Paul spoke of Christ and all of the wonderful gifts included in His grace. In the second, Paul was talking about being in heaven and hearing these things God would not allow him to share with others.

Peter also used a word closely related to the one used in II Corinthians 9:15. It's in I Peter 1:8, and it was translated by the KJV translators as "unspeakable." The NIV again translates this one as inexpressible. Peter spoke of Christians as being filled with an "inexpressible and glorious joy!" These three words would seem to be talking about ideas for which there are no words sufficiently powerful to express them with human vocabulary.

Oh, yes, there is another reference, we can't leave out. Romans 8:26,27 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." The word translated "groanings" in the KJV and "groans" in the NIV is far different to those in the other references. Perhaps to our minds, these prayers of the Spirit are unspeakable words.

Personally, I frequently discover that I can't find just the right word for the thought I want to communicate. I'm so thankful that our Wonderful Father knows how to communicate with us in myriads of ways. He has exactly the right word, prick of the Spirit, comment from a stranger or friend to convey to us His love and His will. Our problem is not lack of understanding. It is lack of listening! It's not that God doesn't speak to us. It's that we turn deaf ears to Him!

I've tried rather unsuccessfully to learn other people's languages so that I can communicate God's love to them. I've been successful with some by the help of God's Spirit, but wouldn't it be wonderful to have a 100% record? With the millions of Christians now alive and who have gone to be with the Lord, our witness would have filled heaven, and Jesus would have already come the second time!

I depend on the Spirit's groans to make up for my poor attempts at prayer. That doesn't relieve me of my responsibility to pray, and I pray sentence prayers all day for people as they come into my mind. Right now, I'm praying for you who read this, and my prayer is that you will come to know and love our Heavenly Father as I do.


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