WFT- logomachy

03 July 2010

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 23rd was logomachy. (loh-GAH-muh-kee)

1 : a dispute over or about words 2 : a controversy marked by verbiage

They provided this background on the word:

It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of "logomachy." It comes from the Greek roots "logos," meaning "word" or "speech," and "machesthai," meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that "logos" is the root of many English words ("monologue," "neologism," "logic," and most words ending in "-logy," for example), but what about other derivatives of "machesthai"? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from "machesthai." Here are two of them: "heresimach" ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and "naumachia" ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").

Doing battle with words?  That almost never happens in Messianic circles does it? :)

  • Messianics disagree with mainstream Christianity regarding the relevance of the Torah in the lives of believers.
  • Messianics disagree with mainstream Judaism regarding the chalakah of how to walk out Torah.

They find themselves pressured between the two extremes of either denying the Word of G-d or denying Yeshua as the Messiah.

As a result there is a great deal of logomachy between Messianics and others.

"Does the Hebrew word 'alma' in Isaiah 7:14 mean 'virgin' or 'young woman'?" Messianics claim the first.  Judaism the second.

"Does the Greek word 'pleroo' in Matthew 5:17 mean 'to give the fullness' or 'to finish'?" Messianics claim the first.  Mainstream Christianity the second.

One point of encouragement in all of this is that the focus is once again on G-d's Word and not upon external matters.  As Messiah said:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock." - Matthew 7:24

We should, however, be cautious with our speech for the Master also said:

"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12:37

If we are unwilling to discuss and debate a matter then we will likely not grow.  If we do grow then we will likely be unable to defend a position from Scripture.  Although peace is desirable (especially during our Sabbath gatherings) we should remember that Messiah said

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." - Matthew 10:34

In our discussions and debates may we seek the truth and not just validation of our pet theories.  In our discussions may we be led by the Spirit bears the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

We should consider our speech and the words we choose.  Before we engage in logomachy and breach the peace of our Sabbath gatherings we should consider these words of Scripture:

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. - Providerbs 10:19

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