Words Matter

Posted by Melissa

Do you know what it means to hit on all sixes? To beat one’s gums? Would you know a piker or a palooka if you saw one? If you had lived in the 1920s, you’d know all of those words, but to most of us, they mean nothing. Likewise, many of the words we use at church and with our Christian friends mean nothing to the unbelievers around us. It’s going to be pretty hard to share your faith with them if they can’t understand you!

Read Acts 21:40–22:2. Pay attention to verse 2.

What are some barriers between you and the unbelievers around you?

What do you have in common with them? How can you use these commonalities to talk about what you believe?

What happened when Paul chose to speak to the angry people in their own language?

Think of an unbeliever you know. What “language” will he or she best understand?

Are you prepared to speak to him or her in this “language”? If not, what will it take to be able to do that?

What are some words you might want to avoid using?

What did Paul get before he started to speak to the people? (See v. 40.)

What difference does it make to get someone’s permission before talking about your faith?

Keep a journal of words you hear Christians use that wouldn’t make much sense to non-believers. Think of some alternative words that would make more sense to unbelievers, and try using these words next time you talk to someone about your faith.

When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even quieter.
—Acts 22:2

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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