This is the first article in a twelve-part series that develops a theology of language by examining what the Bible says about this topic. The Bible has much to say about how language has been used, should be used, and will be used. The Bible records the diversification of languages, the current state of human language, and the future unification of diverse languages for a common cause. In this series we will look at 11 characteristics of language that the Bible reveals to us.
Language is powerful. God used language to create the world. The phrase “God said” occurs ten times in Genesis 1. Jesus has power in language, as we see in this statement: “…he (Jesus) upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV). Language can also be used for deceptive purposes. In Genesis 3:1-5 Satan used carefully-chosen words to deceive Adam and Eve. Another example of the power of language is found in Revelation 12:11, which says that the saints will defeat Satan “…by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony…” The power of the testimony of believers is one of the factors (obviously in addition to the blood of Jesus) that will lead to Satan’s downfall. When I think about the power of language, I am prompted to evaluate how I use language. God uses language for good and Satan uses language for evil. I can use language for either of those two purposes. An awareness of the power of language should cause us to harness our language abilities for good, rather than evil, purposes.
In the remainder of this series we will see several more examples of the power of language, as well as some instructions regarding how we are to use language.