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By Curtis Pugh

When people cease understanding the meaning of words truth is lost. It is imperative that we understand the meaning of the words used in the Bible. God used words to reveal Himself. He used men to write down what He revealed. To be assured that we know the truth we must know what the writers meant by what they wrote down. The first step in knowing what they meant is knowing the meaning of the words they used.

Today the meaning of some words has been changed so as to be misleading. Consider a word that appears in the New Testament 61 times: the word “saints.” On his travels Paul “came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda,” (Acts 9:32). These people called “saints” were not dead, they were not perfect, they had not worked a miracle and no official body had proclaimed them to be a saint. A saint in the New Testament is a person who is saved, baptized and a member of a New Testament kind of church. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 Paul addressed his letter to one church this way: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints...” New Testament church members are called with a call that makes them saints.

Consider the word “baptize.” In Mark 3:16 we read: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water...” Logically if He went up out of the water He must have first gone down into the water! For what purpose? - that He might be plunged or dipped by John the Baptist into the water. And guess what: the meaning of “baptize” is “to dip.” There is no sound basis for saying that “baptize” means pouring or sprinkling with water instead of dipping or plunging in water.

One more: the Greek word translated “church” means a group of people called together: an assembly. There can be no assembly that does not assemble. No gathering that does not gather. The Bible does not teach the existence of a “universal invisible church.” It is an invention of men based on the idea that salvation is in a church. The Bible speaks of “...the church which was in Jerusalem...” (Acts 11:22). This was the only church then in existence. It was a local church: the only kind that there is. The definition of the word proves this.

Be diligent to make sure that you know the precise meaning of the words used in your Bible. Knowing the truth makes you free (see John 8:32). Study these words: those “saved” are delivered or rescued – not that an attempt at saving them has been made or that they are temporarily saved. Being “born again” means regenerated by the Holy Spirit, not something that sinners do in order to go to Heaven. “Jesus” means deliverer or savior. It does not mean one who attempts to save or deliver, but one who actually does.

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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