Keeping the Words (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila


Researchers have deduced that every 14 days another language dies. By the next century it is estimated that about one-half of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken on Earth today will likely disappear [1]. One by one, regional tongues will die out with the remaining people who speak them as the world moves toward a common parlance.

Linguists wonder who, then, will tell “the local news”? Who will sing the love songs, anthems, and requiems nuanced with meaning layered through generations? Who will impart the narratives that color a culture?

Eventually, of course, thought will of necessity adapt to new form and expression, but what linguistic riches are lost in the interim? Forever?


This brings to mind God’s Word and the importance of its own color, meaning—and love songs. It also brings to mind those who attempt to replace or destroy it. Not merely those who casually dismiss the Bible as just another religious book, but those who understand that there is something different in its pages, something of value.

In this group are false christs, opportunists, and despots who pick and choose among the scriptures for gain, insert their own words, or seek to banish the book altogether because they see not only the allure of it but also the power. They watch those who read it “with eyes to see” emerge from darkness to light, from silence to declaration, from slavery to freedom. They see a devotion to God inspired in the pages of the ancient text that sustains believers through fire, flood and fray, and they want that kind of influence and control over people, too. With a kind of respect born of fear, they nevertheless despise the competition.

But in spite of the threat to the existence of the literal Bible, the Word of God is not, in fact bound literally–or figuratively. Consider:


“Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities –his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20, NIV).

Truth is not confined to ink on page, to the language of some locale, or to only those who claim some special right to understand it.

The lingua franca of the kingdom of God offers hints the first time we look up and wonder what’s on the other side of the sky or when we look in and consider the depth of depravity to which mankind can sink—to which we can sink—and wonder why.

The suggestion of an Invisible Power generating the visible may occur the first time we perceive the wisdom of, say, the ant that stores up food in the summer or the locusts who have no king and yet advance in ranks (Proverbs 30: 25, 27). Or perhaps when we observe, over time,  the restoration of one who was lost. Maybe it’s our own restoration.

In short, even if it comes to the last Bible on earth reduced to ashes on the burn pile of some havoc wreaking humanity God will continue to make Himself known to those who choose seeing eyes and hearing ears and who look upward with honest hearts. He designed it that way, knowing the extent to which evil will go in an attempt to kill, steal, and destroy.

But there’s more.


Even as I write this, no doubt one person here, another there, two more elsewhere are responding to God not necessarily because of the Word in Text, though that inspires and clarifies, but because of the Word made Flesh, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, “through Whom all things were made” (John 1:3), Who has made Himself known again today through the changed life of a loved one, the testimony of a sinner saved, or perhaps because of those diligent little ants. Or maybe even because the eye just happened to catch these actual words on a page: “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

And they made an impression on an open heart.

(To whomever you are: “Welcome!”)

To others, having lost faith in the Word, indeed, in most words, I encourage you to “look up.”  Just once more. Maybe there is something “out there” and it’s good news for you, too. Really.

And to my faithful brothers and sister in the Lord, may I remind you that the time may be short to share this good news, the Word of God, in whatever form, fashion, or format He inspires.

And above all, to rejoice in its transforming power.

Who knew?!


[1] Rymer, Russ. “Vanishing Voices.” National Geographic. July, 2012.

Photos and images from the public domain

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1 Response to Keeping the Words (Devotional)

  1. Carl Gordon says:

    amid my tears of refreshed joy, this song came to mind…”what made that litty bitty ant think he could move that rubber tree plant?..” LOL!  Loved this!


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