Five Words

“I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.” [1 Corinthians 14:19 NIV]

Photo by Sanja Gjenero

This Scripture and indeed, the whole passage surrounding it, is talking about the speaking of tongues. However, this one line struck me in another way — especially as a purveyor of words.

We know from James, that words have great power. The strength that flows from our mouths is likened to fire, or the rudder of a ship (see James 3:1-11). Our words are capable of great damage, or great reparation. Basically it comes down to our control of our words — how we choose to use them.

In this verse, I think, it seems that we can waffle on for hours, not doing harm, and yet not conveying anything of worth. If you think about it, we can be quite adept at beating around the bush, or hinting at what we really mean without actually coming out and saying it. Or, we can just speak for the sake of it — to enjoy the sound of our prattling tongues.

I daresay it would be better if we didn’t waste our words on meaningless waffle. If we need to say something, we should just say it, choosing our words with care and wisdom. Not blurting. Not with insensitivity. But to the point, in a way that might bring change for the better.

Because in the end, wouldn’t all of us rather speak five intelligible words to build someone up, than then thousand words that in the end, mean very little?

Published in: on 19th November, 2012 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Adverbally Speaking

The first time I heard that you should minimise your use of adverbs–correction, the first few times I heard it–I pretty much ignored it. I like adverbs, I thought to myself. Why should I stop using them?

Eventually of course, as you would expect, I am told to cut my lys by my publisher. I let my bottom lip drop to the floor for a bit before I sighed in resignation and began the hunt for adverbs in my manuscript.

It didn’t take long before I realised I was being sentimental about nothing. Those who suggest adverbs are not always necessary are completely right. They aren’t. My eyes were opened.

I discovered that I used phrases like “walked quickly”, which can be replaced by “hurried” and has a better effect in the end. So simple. In other places I had used an adverb which really just doubled up on the verb. For instance, “softly whispered”. Everyone knows a whisper is soft, so it is unnecessary to use it at all. It was one of those “duh” moments for me.

So, if there is anyone else out there who loves their ly words, like me, you might have to let them go to make your writing tighter and faster paced.

By the way, I have use a couple of very unnecessary adverbs in this blog post. Can you find them and tell me what they are? 🙂


Published in: on 28th January, 2011 at 10:54 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: ,

What is good?

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” [Mark 10:18 NIV]

It’s funny the way words seem to change their meaning over time. These days if you say something is good, you might really be saying it is average. If, on the other hand, you said something was really good, then you might mean it was above average. (Then again, if you said something was sick, or wicked, you would be saying it was excellent–which makes our modern English confusing to say the least!)

But, when Jesus used the word good, he meant it about someone who was exceptional–full of virtue–above reproach–admirable–someone to look up to–definitely more than above average. And, He said that only God was truly good. Yet, we throw this word around so carelessly, just like we do with the word love–but that is for another blog…

Only God is good. He epitomises the true meaning of what good is. Everything and everyone else pales in comparison. Let us honour Him for the good that He is, the good that He says and the good that He does.

Published in: on 28th December, 2010 at 1:50 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,