Thursday, December 10, 2015



 For those growing up in Scotland it is hard not to gain an interest in words and language. For me at school there was a clear disconnect between the language we spoke on the playground and what was being taught in the classroom! Some of our Scottish words had similar counterparts in English, e.g., hauns/hands, heid/head, windae/window, claes/clothes, baw/ball etc. However, glaikit, dreich, wabbit and such like words had a life of their own! Anyway, early on we got to operate in two languages. Those who had the Gaelic had the blessing of having three languages to play around with. And some Gaelic words such as stoor and oose were in common use. Therefore, three main languages are used by Scots, viz., Lallans (or versions thereof), Gaelic and ubiquitous English. Mind you, living in Australia I try hard to select only those words from my vocabulary that will be easily understood by the average Aussie!

Sixty six books make up the one Book called the Bible. It was written using two main languages, viz., Hebrew and Koine Greek. A third language called Aramaic, which is similar to Hebrew, is used sparingly. The King James’ Version of the Bible, depending on how counted, apparently has somewhere near 800,000 words in it! When I developed an interest in the Bible in my early thirties I had difficulty understanding the archaic language of the King James’ Version. With it in one hand and a dictionary in the other I soldiered on. Subsequently I got converted to Christianity through reading the Bible with the aid of a dictionary! However, ‘thy’, ‘thee’, ‘thou’ and ‘thine’ had been incomprehensible to me, as were words such as ‘sith’, ‘art’ and ‘gird’, not to mention ‘wherefore’. It was only afterwards that I discovered that there were contemporary translations of the Bible, such as the New King James Version and the New International Version! O well.

The Bible claims to be the written Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, as such it needs to be translated into the common language of the people so that everyone can read/hear it. My favourite book is the Bible, but King Jamesian English is not exactly a common language nowadays! Therefore, my favourite is the New King James Version which uses contemporary language and words. My favourite books of the Bible tend to be the ‘Wisdom Literature’ such as the Book of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. However, I also love the Psalms and the Book of Isaiah. I try to read the whole Bible cover to cover at least once a year, not forgetting to have a go at the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek!

Jesus is the key to understanding the Bible. He is the Word who became flesh. He is the language by which God speaks to us. Just as He is the filter through which our prayers ascend to God in Heaven so Jesus is the interpreter of what God says to us through Scripture. He is the Bible’s decoding mechanism! He is the great unscrambler of Scripture! The Bible did not make much sense to me before I was converted. However, after I encountered the Jesus revealed therein it began making complete sense!

God delights in speaking to you in your own language. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, why not avail yourself of a suitable version of the Bible? There are Lallans and Gaelic versions. There is even a Glaswegian as well as an Aussie version of the New Testament!      

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