I’ve been WORKing hard on the meanings and workings of the word work, trying to work up a post on it for “Wordsday”… Maybe I’ll finally have it all worked out by next week? Working my way through the dictionary entries and Bible concordances and lexicons, I’ve just about worked my fingers to the nub and my brain to numb, and my major conclusion is: This is hard work!

And now, I just tried to work in some typographical emphasis by having my word editor place all occurrences of the word in bold face, but it didn’t work!

Do you see the problem?

Every above use of that 4-letter configuration has a different definition and use!

My unabridged English dictionary gives 54 definitions for this word in its four-letter state alone, and that’s not counting all the info on synonyms! Then, in addition to all that, one and a half of this dictionary’s big pages are occupied with definitions of related words and phrases, in the same family (like working, works, worker, etc.)

So when you read the word “work” in the Bible, what are you to take it to mean?

Well, looking in concordances and lexicons, I find the New Testament Greek is a little more helpful. It provides at least three different words for our English “work,” and that helps differentiate meanings, somewhat.

But we don’t read the Bible in Greek, most of us anyway. What to do? Methinks a little employment (i.e., use, putting to work) of said concordances and lexicons can be an indispensible help when the meaning of what we see as the English word work isn’t clear and obvious from its context.

However, I have a long way to go in this part of the work.

So, hopefully, next week we’ll be able to better work out the conundrums in verses like Philippians 2:12-13.

Until then…

4 thoughts on “The Wordsday Word: a WORK in Progress

  1. Hah! Exactly!

    Not only do the original Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldean have multiple meanings and nuances, depending on context, but so do the English words chosen by the translators.

    I used to think understanding the Bible was …just take it as face value…

    But it’s a bit more complicated than that. And, sometimes, we must work past the bias of the translators to get to the real intent of the original text.

    Good for you, putting in the extra effort!

  2. Sylvia- I for one appreciate the work you are putting in, so that I can enjoy the fruits of your labor…I am in rest and leisure mode…aka doing nothing, being lazy in a good way, wasting and whiling away time with the intention of re-creation and refreshment.

    1. Thank you, Kel. I must confess I used a bit of hyperbole above, for dramatic and humorous effect. I have been working on and thinking about this word study, but not frantically or slavishly… Instead, well, at that leisure we’ve been talking about. It’s interesting to discover how much can get done “in leisure mode”!

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