Devotional Thoughts

May 2018

Consider this regarding “SEMANTICS”
Dr. Charles Ryrie put it this way…

A good choice of words is essential.  I have often heard the retort, “it is only a matter of semantics.”  In my experience it usually came from students using it as a defense mechanism to justify a poor answer to a question.  And usually the question involved defining or explaining carefully the meaning of a biblical doctrine or concept.”A matter of semantics” was supposed to excuse fuzzy thinking and a poor, if not wrong, choice of words.

IS SEMANTICS IMPORTANT?  Actually, semantics is not an excuse, nor is it incidental; it is the whole point.  Semantics involves the study of meanings of words; so if a person uses words that do not convey the meaning he or she is attempting to express, then a different meaning comes across.  If semantics is the study of meanings, then one has to be alert to semantics in all communication.  For example, when an attorney draws up a contract, he or she must pay careful attention to semantics.. The choice of words may determine whether or not the contract, if challenged, will remain in force or can be broken.  The meaning of the words – semantics – forms the basis for the validity and intention of that contract.

Likewise, Bible students and preachers must pay careful attention to semantics.  How careful they express the meanings of verses, passages, and doctrines will determine the effectiveness and accuracy of communicating God’s message to others.  (I am not speaking of the matter of differing interpretations.  One can hold a wrong interpretation of a passage and yet express it clearly; so too may one have a correct interpretation and express it badly.)

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