Words Are Useless

Words are useless.

That’s strange in light of the last post where I waxed poetic about how special they were (are). To now enter this post and rendering those same words useless might make you stop reading. Bear with me and grant me the benefit of the doubt: I must be making some sort of distinction.

Words, on their own, are like marbles precariously placed on a pointed peak of a mountain. They can roll downhill any hundred of ways but only upon being acted upon. Otherwise they remain on the top of the hill with extreme potential but no real use.

If a person were to merely say the word "hand" in an empty white room, it would mean nothing. It would stand in the emptiness, an unremarkable thing imbued with all the meaning we place on it but having no true connection between the speaker and the hearer. How utterly useless if the speaker is wanting to convey information!

A word only becomes exceedingly precious, a shining diamond, a rolling marble, when it is firstly given with Other Words.

So the phrase "Give the man a hand" has much more meaning than merely the single word "hand". From that phrase we know that there is a request of a hand to be given to a man.

And yet the word hasn’t really started rolling yet.  We see that there is a request but we don’t know the point of saying "Give the man a hand" until we’re provided with more information thus imbuing the useless with the useful.

If someone got injured and fell to the floor "Give the man a hand" means "help that male person up off the floor to which he has fallen" and yet if The Man has just left the stage after a comedy routine we would expect it to mean something completely different. And both those definitions are widely different from the context of an operating room while dealing with an amputee!

Words then find their maximum use when used with Other Words and in a Context.

The words of Scripture, on their own, without other words and without their context are useless, probably even dangerous. None of the words of Scripture are special on their own but they all derive their power, their beauty, and their force by their immediate context and intended purpose. Even if a later author within the Bible appropriates the same words, we mustn’t immediately attach new meaning via the new context. We must first acknowledge and understand the original context and then examine the way the subsequent author uses the same term and why.

Words are useless—on their own when void of context.

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