We use words to try to convey messages, but the intended messages can, and do, get lost over time, simply because the meaning of words often change with the culture.
Here are a few examples given by Linguistics expert Anne Curzan.
Awful: used to be “worthy of awe.”
Wench: used to mean “female child,” then a female servant, today a wanton woman.
Naughty: used to mean had naught or nothing.
Spinster: used to be a woman, today an “unmarried woman.”
Bachelor: was a young knight, today the lowest rank at a university
Unfortunately, sometimes when words change the story they are trying to convey, get’s lost. For instance, words contain the story of God and the supernatural. Therefore it’s important that when we study the story of God, we use the tools at our disposal to understand the words that were used in the culture when they were written.
Here’s an example – in the ancient scroll of Luke in the book we call the Bible, we have a story of a man named John (The Baptist) whose father’s name was Zacharias and his mother’s Elizabeth. The ancient scroll used in the translation was Greek. But John, Zacharias, and Elizabeth all had Hebrew names. John means “Jehovah is Gracious,” Zacharias means “He remembered,” Elizabeth means “His covenant.” So the story God is trying to convey is that he (Jehovah) is gracious and has remembered his covenant through the birth of John.
Here is another example in the ancient scroll of Matthew, 1:21
“She (Mary) will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Once again we have a Hebrew person or persons being referred to in the Greek language. Jesus in Hebrew is Y’hoshua, and it meant Yahweh is salvation, deliverance, and restoration. The word “sin,” according to W. E. Vines expository dictionary of biblical words simply means to miss the mark. It was a term used by an archer when his arrow missed the target. And all humanity has missed the mark when it comes to Gods standard.
So now equipped with that knowledge, I believe it’s reasonable to interpret the story of God like this. He (God) created mankind in his image and likeness to walk in union with him, but Adam and Eve missed the mark. Therefore, He sent His son, Y’hoshua (Jesus), to come and save, deliver, and restore the human race to their original position and intent.
Another word that has lost its meaning through the centuries is “repent.” We’ve all heard the word Penthouse – Pent means “the top.” The top is where God wants us to live.
Did you ever read the ancient scroll of the prophet Hosea? He said, “God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” So let’s get the knowledge, and stop the destruction.