I’m a word person.
I used to tell my college roommate, Abbey, that phrase all the time. What I meant by that is that I’m not exactly the most creative person in the world… I’ve tried my hand at painting and drawing, scrapbooking and photography, but somehow I’m the type of person that ends up with words “doodled” all over my class notes. I try to put them in different fonts, but that’s about as creative as I can get in that sense. However, I do enjoy writing (obviously). I like reading stories and seeing the way that the same words we use everyday can be strung together to create meaning and come alive to the reader within their own imaginations. There’s a kind of joy in seeing a story unfold through words on a page that can be so profoundly connected to our own stories.
I was also a Communication Studies major at Biola, which has allowed me to see the power of words in many different contexts. We took classes on small group communication, organizational communication (communication in and about work), public speaking, and rhetoric. Words are used and abused, spoken well and left unspoken. Words are everywhere, and they matter! This also means that one of my love languages is Words of Affirmation, naturally.
I say all of this to tell you a little bit more about who I am and where I come from but also to make a first point in this blog series. We are all “Word People” so to speak because we are made in the image of THE “Word Person,” namely, the Logos. Because God spoke the world into existence through the Logos and imprinted His image on us, we are now able to identify as a Word person. And that is only the beginning! The embodied Word, Jesus, was born into the world. He lived among us, spoke to us, and listened to the stories of those around Him. He lived and died to to offer us a part in the story of eternal life. The Word breathes life and brings life. Powerful and yet also poetic, isn’t it?
A major take away that I’ve had from my first semester of Divinity School at Duke is the concept of authorship within the Bible. While there is a lot of nuance in answering the question who wrote the Bible, ultimately we are invited to view the whole narrative as a composite of many narratives and perspectives – a way that treasures diversity within the Word and through the inspiration of the Word. We see this on a large scale when it comes to separate books of the Bible, such as the 4 perspectives given in the Gospels, but we also see this on a much smaller scale when we look closely at the several authors who contributed to the Pentateuch. Though the Pentateuch presents Moses as its author – or perhaps written with a Mosaic tradition – it is widely accepted that there were several other authors involved in the process. The way, then, that the Bible is written is perspectival. It is embodied Truth, inviting the reader to come alongside it and to live in the tensions of life itself, rather than making Truth binary or simply a philosophical concept or idea.
Stories matter. Your story matters. The words that you would string together to describe your life is an ability that springs from the Word Himself to create meaning and offer life to those around you as He has given and offered us eternal life.
I hope to keep exploring what it means to communicate about God and even with God through the course of this blog, and I hope you will continue to carefully consider your own position as made in the image of the “Word Person” Himself.