WORDS! KNOWLEDGE! POWER!
How many of us have heard the trite phrases “Knowledge has power”, or “the power of the written word”? Yet have you ever stopped to think where in history these phrases come from or if they actually mean something?
“Knowledge is power” is a quote by Sir Francis Bacon, from Religious Meditation of Heresies, 1597. This quote means to say that the more knowledge you have, the more you can do, which leads, in a sense, to having power. Said during the Age of Enlightenment, when many new theories and ideas were being formed, meaning if you had more knowledge, you were able to think for yourself, which was in itself a powerful thing to do because in those days, people just accepted what the ruler of the country said and would not challenge them. How far have we come?
“Power of the written word” The quote “The pen is mightier than the sword” is a famous line from the 1839 play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy. Though it’s well known today; its meaning is not new and there were many others who wrote of the power of the written word. Take Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) who said “he feared hostile newspapers more than he did a thousand bayonets”, as an example.
As I ponder on this day’s bible passages:
1 John 5:9-13
”9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.again”.
I am once again reminded how something seemingly so innocent, merely words, black marks on a white paper, can have such power. It constantly amazes me how what originally started out first as a way to pass on history to future generations, has now become almost a weapon in our modern times. Do I speak of weapons of mass destruction, do I speak of some unknown biological virus, do I speak of some new modern technology device? No, I speak of, and about, simple words. Whether spoken, as in biblical times, or flung out in cyberspace, via e-mail or the latest android app, mere words now have such unimaginable power.
Yet in our past, and in God’s time, words had more power than even today,
“13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. “
Words have the metamorphic ability to build up or to destroy. They can help transform those who are weak, discouraged and cowardly to become strong, encouraged and courageous. They can also tear down a person; causing a person to become weak, cowardly and discouraged.
Words have the ability to transport us in time. There are a few specific incidences in the past where I received a compliment for something I did. I can easily go back in the memory of my mind to those events. I can also just as easily remember words that I would much rather forget.
The power of words is limitless. Their ability to tell a story is only as limited as the persons ability to tell it. With words we can describe places, communities, creation, worlds and universes that have been, are yet to and perhaps never will be discovered; apart from the adventure that takes place within the imagination of our minds. As in the following biblical passage, this could not be clearer.
John 17:6-19 (NIV)
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
“Your word is truth”~what a powerful message, even for today. How many of us are lost, seeking an answer to our internal turmoil, or external political, societal struggles? And yet, though many reject the truth, the word, an answer to what truly ails us, ails society, has already been spoken, and written. All we have to do is seek, and read, His words.