Have you ever been called nice? At first glance, this feels great! Perhaps it puts a little extra bounce in your step, or a smile across your face. But, before you get sore cheeks or skip too far into your day, consider the 14th century’s usage of this word: nescius. This word nescius used to mean ignorant or even stupid! It was then borrowed by the French and repurposed to mean well-dressed. By the late 18th century, the English language had taken this word and adapted it from somebody who was stupid, to someone or something who was who was sweet or pleasant. Thankfully, for us today, the word “nice” is redeemed – a perfectly suitable description or compliment for someone. As we can see, words can shift from culture to culture over time. Often, they simply lose potency, or they might spin off into a new realm entirely, repurposed and charged with new meaning. The English word ‘repent’ is one such example. This word has an array of meanings ranging from; ‘go back and do something over’, or to ‘reorient yourself 180-degrees and proceed in this new direction’, right through to describing a change in nature. Another English word ‘transform’, can speak of modifications, metamorphosis, renewal, renovation; the list is endless. These are key biblical words and so you might ask how do we treat the words ‘repent’ or ‘transform’ when we encounter them within Scripture? The way we handle these words, as well as the culture in which they’re being used, has a tremendous impact on the way we engage with God’s word, as well the extent to which it can transform our lives.
Author: Ryan Kerrison
Ryan is currently working as the Academic and Online Dean for C3 College on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, having completed an Advanced Diploma, and a bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Leadership and Ministry and Theology respectively. Ryan is currently pursuing his Master of Theology through Alphacrucis College and has a passion for believers to encounter biblically-sound teaching that is practical and meaningful for the everyday person. Ryan is also the Deep Dive Co-ordinator for Trash Your Bible.