The Christian's Vocabulary

James 3:1-12 speaks to all of us, especially Christian teachers, about our speech; our word choice. He compares our speech to bits in the mouths of horses, rudders on the rear of a ship and the spark that ignites the forest fire. No matter what kind of vocabulary someone may have grown up with, God can change it for your better and His glory when you decide to work with Him.

Praying as often as possible whether it be in your mind, aloud or in a private place is a good start to developing The Christian Vocabulary. Reading the Word of God or Bible is another source of words that will inject His words into your prayer life and common speech. Then hanging around the same kind of people that promote good, clean, wholesome speech will bolster your vocabulary and resolve to continue with God's developing plan.

While the above steps are aimed at eliminating the negativity, the cussing and the cursing in one's speech - God would also love to develop actual word selection. Not only should the every-day-Joe know their grammar, which sadly I have observed is going by the wayside, but public speakers should know grammar and the proper word to use.

Concerning grammar, I've heard so many public speakers and hear one on a regular basis continue to get the "You and I" incorrect. In fact, this individual will never say, "You and me" whether it is right or not. This person always says, "You and I" and that is not right. The rule for this is to take the other person out of the sentence or equation and say how would you say the sentence. For example, "Susan was kind enough to bring you and me a donut." This is correct because if you take the other person out, "you", and state the sentence, then it would make sense. It would then read, "Susan was kind enough to bring me a donut." NOT - "Susan was kind enough to bring I a donut." The process is a matter of practice and thinking it through before using, but getting it right especially if you are in public speaking.

Another concern for all Christians, especially those who teach the Word of God is word selection. One form of this is picking a fancy, important sounding word when a commonly understood word would do just fine. 

A last encouragement to all believers in Christ, but especially Pastors and Teachers and those in the public eye concerning The Christian's Vocabulary is semantics. Lately, I have personally been challenged to use the word "Since" NOT "If" when speaking about the promises of God or God's character and so forth. For example, the phrase - "If God did....then...." leaves an air of doubt about God actually performing said act. But replace the word "If" with "Since" and the statement no longer calls into question God's action but delivers a comment of powerful fact that one can depend upon - "Since God did...then...".

Believers in Christ should be noticed or distinguished by several things, one of those things is our speech, our vocabulary. Before the words exit our mouths we should be taking care to filter them through prayer in the Holy Spirit and surround ourselves with a wholesome environment. Within our word choice, the words should be clean and honorable. And the believer's words should be as much on point grammatically, selectively and semantically as possible. God loves a compliant piece of clay to develop into a man or woman of excellence and one of those submissions and developments is The Christian's Vocabulary.