Having been brought up in a Pentecostal church, I often ponder the relevancy and impact that the Word of God has had on my life. Sometimes the awesome power and life-changing force of the written Word seemed to overwhelm my spiritually immature mind. But the awesome thing is that God uses simple things to confound the smartest of men. We do not have to feel that as students, we are inadequate to let the precious Word of God shine in and through our lives. The psalmist wrote, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). His Word instructs us and shines light onto our pathway so that the people we come in contact with may see the true light. So, let’s talk about God’s Word!
To begin our discussion, I would first like to define the prefix “tele” and then talk about how it applies to our lives and to the Bible. The Oxford American Dictionary defines “tele” as “combining form.” The word “form” can be defined as “a type or variety of something.” So, we have a picture of “tele” as something merged with another entity to produce a result. In the Oxford American Dictionary, there are 207 entries with the prefix “tele.” Let’s analyze some of the more familiar combinations.
Telecommunication is defined as “communication over a distance by cable, telegraph, and telephone.” According to this definition, streams of words combined into sentences are transmitted by some form of cable, telegraph, or telephone. Speaking of that, don’t we love telemarketers!
Telegraph is “a system for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire.” A telegraph is the actual process by which we telecommunicate.
Teleology is “the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.” Ok, maybe we don’t use that word everyday, and I am not sure I can break down this definition, so we will move on.
Telephone is “a system that converts acoustic vibrations to electrical signals in order to transmit sound, typically voices, over a distance using wire or radio.” Once again, we encounter a definition that combines a message of some sort with a form of messenger. Many messages are passed across these wires: good ones, bad ones, and even maybe some gossip. But we all have the ability to help control the information process.
All of these examples of combined sources send messages, whether by wire to transcribe, by radio to hear, or by satellite to visually comprehend. Each one proclaims a message, whether it is good, bad, or simply entertaining. They all combine a message with a messenger. Remember that the definition for “tele” is “combining form.” This applies to us in that the form is the message, the message is God’s Word, and we become the combining force to reveal the Word.
Throughout history, God chose many ways to communicate with humanity. He spoke in an audible voice when He created the heavens and the earth. The Bible records apparent conversations between God and many Old Testament characters. In the New Testament, God became flesh and gave Himself a name that was above any other name. Jesus walked the dusty earth and the Word of God resided among His creation. Other forms by which God’s Word was transmitted were dreams, visions, and theophanies, which was God manifesting Himself in the likes of an angel or a burning bush. From dispensation to dispensation, God opted to connect with His creation in different ways. Some of the lines of communication have changed; it seems that He chooses not to manifest Himself as He did in times past. Now, that is not to say that God no longer speaks audibly to some and, undeniably, God can manifest Himself in any shape or form He wishes.
For our day and time, God’s Word has been captured and written in a book called the Bible. This is no ordinary book; it is God’s tangible, living Word, and it contains instruction about principles, prophecies, and real people. Everything you need to know is in the Bible. You will find good stories, some bad stories, and even some entertaining accounts of different people’s antics and adventures. It is all God’s Word. It does not change, and it is good news to a lost and dying world.
Because it is God’s Word, we can apply biblical principles and concepts to our lives today. The crazy thing is that we learn a lot of these principles from reading about people in the Bible who were just like us. God designed His Word to be visual and creative. Looking at Bible characters, we emulate the positive and evaluate the negative. This is the most powerful perception of the Word of God: it is not just a history book; it is alive in us today.
Though it was originally penned so many years ago, the Bible is still being transcribed today. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (II Corinthians 3:2-3). In today’s lingo, Paul might say, “Hey, dudes, you have the written Word of God, but He is going to combine that with your life to affect the world that surrounds you.” This is how the church in the Book of Acts turned their world upside down: they combined the message with the messenger.
Every morning when we wake up, we live as another creative Word of God. When we go to our schools and jobs, God’s Word is being transmitted to someone in need of a Word. Our lives are an open book, transmitting the transcribed Word of God that has been written in our hearts. Because we are God’s messengers, we must always look at and evaluate what we do with our lives.
God’s Word will not return empty or void. He never intended that His Word would just be jotted down on some paper, but He designed it to be combined with a messenger to bring a result. God is looking for some transmitting agents that will carry this great message. We are to be truth transmitters who get the Word out, whether it is a written declaration, a spoken expression, or a visual presentation. What kind of signal are you sending out?