Acts 19:15 – And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
Over my 70 years of living, I have learned, and am continually reminded of the need to be very selective in the use of words. We Americans, in general, are far too lax in our use of many words and terms, often accepting as synonymous words that are not. I am often asked if I know a certain person. My answer is likely not what is expected. If I do not know the name, the answer is simple. “No.” But when I do have knowledge of who someone is, most of the time my answer will be one of two things. One, “I am familiar with the name,” or two, “I am acquainted with that person.” It is only when I have had the opportunity to build a relationship with someone that I will respond, “I know that person.”
To say you know someone when you’ve only heard or read of them is actually untrue. I don’t believe such a statement is generally intended as a lie, but that is still what it is. To say you know someone when you are, in truth, only acquainted with them is also untrue, and whether intended to be a lie to deceive, is still that; a lie. All that being said, perhaps we should determine to use our words more accurately and deliberately be speakers of truth. To say you know someone, you need to know more about them than their basic statistics and be able to recognize them in a crowd. You need to have a relationship with them.
In our Text for Today, we see a prime example of that. Twice we see the phrase, “I know.” Once it refers to Jesus, and the other refers to Paul the Apostle. In our Text for Today in the Greek language, two different words are used for “know.” To “know” Jesus implies having a deep understanding and having had direct interaction with Him. To “know” Paul refers to having heard of him, being familiar with his name. In the Greek language, the difference in words makes all the difference. But in English, there needs to be some explanation. This is not intended to be a lesson in the proper use of the English language. What is being attempted is to bring the reader to an awareness of the responsibility of the child of God to communicate accurately what is being said. Please understand, dear read, that accuracy in the use of our words, for the Christian, is a matter of life and death for those to whom we communicate. I urge you to follow Paul’s admonition. “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed.” For you and me, that requires study, diligent study, and thoughtfulness about how we use the words of our mouth. You see, in your tongue is the power of death and life.
Manna for Today – Acts 19:11-20; Matthew 12:34-37; Romans 3:4