Five Love Languages For Singles

Sermon Edition

If you try to please everybody, somebody won't like it.----Murphy's Law

I'm not sure if I'd ever heard of Gary Chapman's book Five Love Languages For Singles before a preacher mentioned it in his sermon, but it seems to me he is right that different people communicate and relate to life differently. He gave an earlier example about himself that though he is a preacher he likes to relate as "one of the guys." Not every preacher is on that same page, and it helps us to understand his edition to have been told that about him.

Me, though I am pretty ordinary, I have been trained as an engineer which colors my thoughts and approach to life. Some people can get very offended when not understanding this about me.

A good example might be from a bus trip I was on the other week. The bus was about to depart from the Springfield station when three more people got on. One of the men sat across the aisle from me. He was in the window seat and I in the aisle seat on the other side.

It was time to go and the woman bus driver was about to pull away when he told her there was one more coming. And, yes, there was a woman off in the distance, but the bus driver said she had to go. He told her she should wait, but she told him there would be another bus in fifteen minutes. Then he told her, "She's running," so the bus driver decided to wait.

But it was a fat woman who couldn't run very well, and when she saw the bus waiting for her, she slowed to a waddle. Eventually she got on and the bus was away. She sat down with the man across the aisle from me. Maybe they were married.

The bus driver told her there would have been another bus in fifteen minutes, and she replied cynically that, sorry, she had to use the bathroom, excuse me.

Anyway, as the bus crossed the bridge, she was discussing directions to somewhere off to the side so she started waving her arms up near my head, as I was sitting across the aisle from her. I scootched over to the window to put some distance from her hands. Her husband remarked that I must have been worried that she was going to touch me, and they went on with their animated conversation.

Now, I am thinking that the friendly preacher reading this account would think in terms of a party getting on the bus and encouraging the driver to hold a minute for the tardy one. After she arrived, she entered into an animated discussion with her husband during which she waved her arm to point in a direction past me, but I was so shy that I moved across the seat to avoid being touched. Isn't that more or less how such a one would picture the story?

Now, from my point of view as an engineer, I don't think in terms of the bus--that had to be encouraged to wait--but of a whole transportation system in which those buses leave the station every fifteen minutes. People who are on a critical schedule might plan better than to have to use the bathroom en route, so I suppose a fifteen minute delay would have been tolerable to someone not in a hurry. If she couldn't make it in time, then she could have caught the next one.

But she didn't; she made the bus wait on her and get a late start. Probably it would arrive on time at its destination, but the driver wouldn't want any more delays and might be trying to make up time. In that context her hand waving acquired a whole new dimension. She was so fat that her rear end--next to her fat husband--wouldn't fit all on the seat but half of it hung over into the aisle. Those fingers were being waved in the vicinity of my eyes. Should the hurrying bus have had to swerve in an emergency, she would have been propelled off her seat and her fingers into my eyes. Rather than try to explain to her the bus trying to make up time and her improper load distribution on the seat, I simply moved over some. People don't understand engineers when we talk. They tend to get offended.

edition for sermons I think the same can be said about Bible versions. The "I want to be just like one of the guys" type preacher will want to use a version that sounds like day to day speech, or is at least consistent with it, so that he will be fitting his message in with people as they would understand it. That is his orientation.

But, me the engineer, I don't think in terms of our one day-to-day language that we have to relate to people in, but in a broader system of languages. When mankind tried to unify his languages into one, God confounded them at the Tower of Babel and now we have not one but many languages, which is how God wants it in order to restrain the unified action of rebellious man. Am I not right?

Within this system we have dialects which are close enough to our day to day English that we can go to one instead and not lose any sleep over it.

Within the territory of a language, wide deviations of dialect may be found ... Such deviations disturb communications, they do not completely disrupt it. And they are, in all known languages, past and present, a constant feature, like archaisms (e.g. in religious or legal terminology)...
--Joshua Whatmough, Language A Modern Synthesis571
It's like that bus that comes every fifteen minutes, we can use a King James Bible easy enough and get to where we are going.

Then I hear this cry, "But the new version editions use older manuscripts, they've got better Greek." It's like that guy saying, "She's running!" Sure, Eugene is a town of athletes and runners, but a fat woman waddling down the sidewalk is not going to win any race. We have increased our knowledge some of the Greek since 1611, but the Westcott and Hort concoctions which virtually all the new versions use--and even the NKJV compromises with--are utterly horrible. Their Greek scholarship is like that fat woman waddling down the sidewalk, not a contender.

Getting down to the sermon material from the NIV, you know that version has substituted a word for the traditional, i.e.:

And after the reading of the law   After the reading from the Law
and the prophets the rulers of     and the Prophets, the synagogue
the synagogue sent unto them,      rulers sent word to them, saying,
saying, Ye men and brethren, if    "Brothers, if you have a message
ye have any word of exhortation    of encouragement for the people,
for the people, say on.            please speak." Acts 13:15 NIV
Acts 13:15 KJV

Well, what's the difference, exhort, encourage, don't they both say pretty much the same thing? Yes, but,

    Perfect synonyms are extremely rare.572
    A synonym is a word of nearly the same meaning as another. ... There are very few pairs of interchangeable words.573

According to my KJV, (Acts 20:2) "And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece," but the preacher's NIV has Paul encouraging the people, which he made a big deal of in his sermon.

In English we have friends offering encouragement in broader ways than exhorting. Teenagers encourage their friends to take risks, to act up, to be bad. I was encouraged by my friends in college to start drinking, to start smoking, to start cussing. A woman offering encouragement is trying to embolden a guy to make a move. Exhorting, though, is done more narrowly, and more in a biblical sense.

Okay, so we're not going to wait that fifteen minutes for the next bus, but to go with encouragement. The bus will probably still arrive on time. Yes, but we have started with a disadvantage, and we don't want anything else to go wrong. That's not how I see a restoration church approaching Bible study. (The one place where the preacher seems to have agreed with me was his sermon once on prayer where he went to the older versions.)

The NIV starts us off with a disadvantage, and then it improperly distributes the weight of the fat woman half off the seat. What I mean is that in order to avoid fornication, we are supposed to be allowed to enter into marriage. The NIV nixes entering marriage to unbelievers, so it has us off balance there. Furthermore, the NIV carries no prohibition against fornication but against "sexual immorality" which is a relative term. Lots of people fornicate and think they're moral because they love each other, or they use a rubber, or whatever. We don't want to risk fornication no more than we want to risk a jab in the eye.

I went to a dinner some Christians had the other week. Before dinner we stood for prayer. Then they started to hold hands around a circle. Hands are a vector for a lot of diseases, especially in a free come-all dinner where people show up of questionable hygiene. I kept my hands in my pockets. With everyone in a circle holding hands the people on either side of me seeing my hands in my pockets took hold of my arms. As I felt clammy hands on both sides of me, I was hoping my neighbors didn't have any communicable diseases and the prayer wouldn't be long winded. Sensing my discomfort my neighbors let go and I stepped forward out of reach.

That had really flummoxed me, and as a result I got my food down the wrong pipe and started choking on it. I didn't have any napkin to cough into, and I was unable to bring it up coughing into my hands, spraying food, too polite to really let loose. Someone went into the house and brought out some towels and napkins, and I was able to dislodge a kernel of corn.

Boy, I feel that way with our Bibles in modern English, so that we spread around all their problems from our translating hands to others, the things of man on one side and fornication on the other, and we don't have the clean napkin of the KJV to purify us. Has the preacher ever considered the following letter?

(Rev. 2:18-20) "And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."

At my church we have works, yes. We have charity, yes, and service, and faith, and patience, and we are growing, our last works being more than the first. Yes, but what about Jezebel? The one who calls herself a prophetess. At the time of its writing, I suppose, the word of God was to some extent still being given by prophets, yes, and now we have the Bible and the NIV calls itself a holy Bible. It's supposed to have the word of God. And yet it diverts to the things of man rather than of God on the one hand, and on the other it messes up male-female relations. And we just allow it. Isn't there something wrong with that picture?


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Earl Gosnell
1950 Franklin Bv., Box 15
Eugene, OR 97403


Copyright © 2005, Earl S. Gosnell III

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