If you want to figure out the definition of a word you would check the dictionary, right? Ummm, usually that would be the correct answer. There may be a better way for some words… I figured this out when was enlightened with another reason the Old Testament is so important: First mentions lie within the OT.
I was studying to teach in one of my disciple groups when it was duly noted the first time a word is used in the Bible is the purest meaning of the word. Pretty cool! So lets check out “Peace, Love and Unity” – since that is one of my awesome theme/categories here at I’m Just Thinkin’
Peace – In Genesis 15:15 the Lord says to Abraham: And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
So check this out: Abraham was engaged in conversation with the Lord, who had also appeared to him in visions. Shortly after a thick and dreadful darkness came over Abraham in his sleep, the Lord offered reassurance to him… that his descendents would indeed make it to the promised land, and that Abraham will pass away in peace. How touching that we can see the use of the word “peace” through death since we all struggle with our own mortality. Indeed, it is through the promise of Jesus, the cross and His resurrection that we can find peace in passing from this life to the next when we believe that we will have eternal life.
On to the next…
Love – Once again, the Lord came to Abraham in a dream or vision to help comfort him…
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. Genesis 22:1-2
Interesting that it didn’t come up during the time of Adam and Eve. However, when we put “love” into its most powerful and meaningful context we get a taste of what is to come – what could be a more perfect definition of love than the verb in action… Abraham’s love for his son Isaac… and in God’s love for Jesus… and each of us too! As we have dived into the Old Testament at church I have grown to appreciate more and more how perfectly it is woven together.
Part III of the my trinity…
Unity – Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
This is a powerful passage. We could literally dwell on every word here. Behold – an expression encouraging us to take note, observe or witness… used here for emphasis. Likewise, the verse ends in an exclamation mark! Good and pleasant… these point to the common tagline for Psalm 133: A Song Of Ascents, or the Joy Of Harmonious Relationships. Holy wow, how more appropriate for David to start this verse than to share how special it is for us to live in a state of unity. So we can think of unity here as wholeness. Functioning and behaving as a united body of believers is pretty important. It also tells the rest of the world about us… who we are, what we believe, how we chose to roll with it.
Finally, you may have picked up on the fact I’ve used the King James Version in quoting scripture here. Why? Well as I went through this study I found different first uses of key words in different versions in the Bible. That’s significant for this exercise as we need to find the first use in its purest form… that is commonly accepted to be in the KJV.
Pick a word and have a go at this! Check out the search tool in many online Bibles – I used bible.com. Use the King James Version. What word did you research to identify the first use? Where is it found in the Bible?