“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses….” “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:16,21).
I’ve been reading books again.
That explains a lot of things. It explains where my mind is these days, what’s been bugging me, and where I’ve been searching the Word.
I’ve been reading “The Story of Ain’t.” This is mostly the story of struggles to decide what goes into dictionaries, culminating in Webster’s Third Edition. Author David Skinner brings us into the inner offices of G. and C. Merriam Company and tells how decisions are made concerning the English language. If you like that, you’d love watching sausage being made. (It’s a difficult book to read and only the wordsmiths among us should “rush out and buy this book.”)
I’ve been reading “The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844.” Author John L. Brooke takes us back into the context of the birth of this American-made religion to show that almost everything about it was the product, not of revelation, but of ideas floating around when Joseph Smith was a young man.
I’ve been reading the Bible.
The contrast in these three is enlightening. Reflecting on them resulted in the following observations….
1) Some things we make up as we go. Language is that way.
I’m the product of an educational system (1946-1973) that taught students to turn to the dictionary for “the real meaning of that word.” English teachers assured us that “will” and “shall” are used in different ways, and that educated people knew the difference. Infinitives should not be split and prepositions should not end sentences. Nouns must not be used as verbs, otherwise they might (ahem) impact us wrongly.
We were left with the impression that these things were set in stone, that somehow somewhere a high council handed down iron-clad rules on proper English usage.
And then we learned otherwise.