Monday, February 4, 2013

Avoid Talking Lingo

I had phone coffee with a new Christian recently, and she asked me this: "What is Psa?" (I had written down some Psalms for her to read, not realizing that Psa. meant nothing to her eyes.)

When we've been saved for years, we tend to speak in shorthand that is only understood by those who read shorthand. It's better to spell things out, and to remember when we didn't know our way around in the Bible. (Turn in the Bible to Zech-a-WHO?)

This was her next question: "Romans 10:13...Does that mean chapter 10 and verse 13?" This baby Christian wanted to share the Gospel with her dying father in plain English, and when I reviewed that verse with her, I had abbreviated the reference, forgetting that "ten-thirteen" would be foreign to her ears.

Romans ten-thirteen. I know what that means, and you (probably) know what that means, but do you remember when you didn't know? I learned a good lesson from this new Christian. She taught me to slow down and ditch the lingo.

This reminds me of the story in the book of Acts where Philip was helping the man from Ethiopia to understand a passage from Isaiah. The Ethiopian man didn't understand what he was reading, and wanted to know more, so he asked Philip to help him:

"And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired that Philip would come up and sit with him." (Acts chapter 8, verses 30-31)

When working with a young Christian, speak plain English, and if something needs further explanation, take the time to break it down into bite-sized pieces. The Bible doesn't indicate how long these two men spent in study and discussion of this passage, but we do see that it ultimately led to the Ethiopian man getting saved and baptized (Acts 8:35-39).

The next time you catch yourself talking "lingo" to a new Christian, slow down and translate your words. "I'm going to sing a special today" may mean something to you, but if I were a brand new Christian, I'd think you didn't know how to finish your sentences! You're going to sing a special?

A special what?

"So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air." (First Corinthians: chapter 14, verse nine)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I needed this reminder!! I grew up in a Pastor's home, so "Christianeze" IS plain English to me, but twice now I have been made to realize how very difficult it is for new believers to "learn the lingo". It is so easy to forget. Thank you so much for the reminder today. Love your blog!!


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