2 Timothy 1:13
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
Words make a difference. What you say can absolutely destroy you or validate you. One word can change the whole meaning of what you are trying to say. Lawyers use words to defend their clients because they know the power of one word. One word that is not said can make or break someone’s innocence or guilt.
Likewise, how you say something also defines who you are and where you live. You can tell that a person is from the South because of their southern draw. You can tell someone is from the Northeast because of their pronunciation of words with the letter “r” sounds more like the letter “w.”
Likewise, what you say and how you say it is important in the Christian walk. Paul commands Timothy to hold fast or to secure the “form of sound words.” What did he mean by this terminology? He was talking about not changing the language or the terminology of the faith. In other words, the terminology used by those of the past is just as important to use that same terminology today.
The reason this is so important is because your terminology identifies the group with whom you associate. It was the Apostle Peter who couldn’t keep his identity hidden because of how he talked. The people whom he warmed himself with at the fire could hear that Peter had been with Jesus – what he said sounded more like Jesus than it did those who were crucifying Jesus. Let me give you a few thoughts concerning the terminology you use.
First, you reveal who you read and spend time with by the words you choose to use to define the Christian walk. An independent Baptist doesn’t use certain words that the moderate and progressive religious crowd uses. You may think that changing your terminology doesn’t matter, but it does because it defines from whom you have been getting your information.
Second, let the Scriptures be the basis of all terminology. You will notice that Paul told Timothy to hold fast the sound words “in faith.” You will always be safe when you let scriptural terminology define sin. You would also be wise to let scriptural terminology define what you believe and who you are.
Third, what those from the past used to define who we are is as important as to use today. Paul told Timothy, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me…” Those from the past knew that what they said defined them, and it would be wise to use the same words to keep your identity clear.
Fourth, changing terminology to try to draw the world only reveals that you have been listening to the world instead of God. It saddens me to hear so many believers use worldly or liberal terminology to define the Christian walk. The believer’s terminology should be as separated from the world as their walk.
My friend, you can’t run with the world, and worldly religious leaders without using their terminology. What you say reveals what crowd warms your “religious” fire. If you don’t want to be marked as a liberal, use scriptural terminology and the world will never make the mistake of placing you with the wrong crowd.