“Teach her as many of the 700,000 words of the English language as you have time to but be sure she knows that the greatest word is God; the longest word eternity; the swiftest word time; the nearest word now; the darkest word sin; the meanest word hypocrisy; and the deepest word soul.”

To Lt. Cdr. J. P. Carr, from his father, on the birth of the younger Carr’s daughter.

God. Eternity. Time. Now. Sin. Hypocrisy. Soul. 

These are more than words, they’re realities. They attempt to encapsulate the most profound and important concepts that we humans face during our earthly existence. They’re small words that describe great ideas.

The infinite God has communicated with finite humanity through the medium of language, by means of words. Jesus himself was “THE WORD”: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1.1). He was God’s ultimate communication to us. 

In a similar way, the Bible is God’s word to man. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17.17). By means of these words, God has conveyed what’s truly important and valuable. Wrap your head around that. Eternal truth expressed in finite, human language. 

I’d like to challenge you to do two things. First, think about the seven words from our starting quotation: God, eternity, time, now, sin, hypocrisy, and soul. How have these words shaped your life? How do you use them as motivation for spiritual living? 

Second, make out a list of seven other words that challenge you, define you, inspire you, or even terrify you. What are the significant words in your life? Make your list and for the next week, think about one word each day. Consider how this word affects you. Look at how the Bible treats the word or concept. Think about what you can do with that word to change your life for the better.

George Herbert said, “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” For today, and every day, take time to think about the important words that shape your life.