In Defense of Words
This month’s issue of Tabletalk magazine seeks to unpack the biblical-theological meaning of certain words commonly used in Scripture that, nonetheless, remain either largely misunderstood or not fully understood among laymen. Here is how Burk Parsons begins his editorial introduction:
What is a pastor? I was asked this question not too long ago by a teenage girl who apparently didn’t know the meaning of the word pastor and was curious to learn. I must admit that I was somewhat shocked and quite saddened that she didn’t know what a pastor is, but I quickly sought to offer her an explanation of the word and how I serve as a pastor of God’s people by preaching, teaching, praying, evangelizing, discipling, counseling, and so on. And just as these words were coming out of my mouth, I realized that if she didn’t know the meaning of the word pastor, she likely didn’t know the meanings of any of these other words either— and she’s not alone. Over the years, I have found that people of every age, in the church and world, do not know the meanings of many of the most basic biblical and theological words. This isn’t primarily the fault of the people, it is the fault of us pastors. We have not been faithful in our calling to equip God’s people in the theology of His Word and in the theological terms of His Word.