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  • Eric Kampmann

The Language of God

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,

shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

they do not know what makes them stumble.

—Proverbs 4:18–19

Solomon compares “righteousness” to the first light of morning, and in contrast, he compares the deeds of the “wicked” to deep darkness. The light and dark imagery point to our relationship with God in a language that speaks to our spiritual longing for holiness.

The language of Scripture has beauty and truth embedded within its very core, and it is through the power of its language that it reveals the presence and the power of God. The Bible opens with God saying, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Before there was light, the universe was void and without life and form.

And here is how John describes the second creation story, the birth of God’s one and only Son: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4–5).

And here is Jesus during His three-year ministry: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). John echoes this in his first letter: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

When reading Scripture, look for patterns of imagery within the written word, for within these patterns is revelation. The power of the language of Scripture is the presence of the Holy Spirit embedded in the language. This language transcends time and place, for the Holy Spirit speaks to the deepest longings of the human heart, which yearns to shuck the things that would harm and destroy and to recover the righteousness that comes from God.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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