To “nit pick” or not to “nit pick” – that is the question. Actually, maybe a better way to state it is: To “be Biblical” or not to “be Biblical”? Why is it that church members and preachers have started to call those of us who insist on being Biblical “nit picking”? I would expect that from the world. They are not as educated in the Scriptures as we are (or at least as we should be)!
I have heard preachers say “words don’t matter”. If you insist on calling something by a Biblical term, it is just nit picking. If this is the case, lets just throw out the entire Bible—it is made of words! And I would add, not just words, but specific words with specific meanings!
If “words don’t matter”, what difference does it make that every New Testament author used the word for immerse when talking about our baptism? “Words don’t matter”. If words don’t matter, what difference does it make that the New Testament authors chose the Greek word “agape” for God’s love for us? Maybe their intent was one of the other Greek words for love? Or maybe the authors used very specific words, as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Sometimes when I try to use a “Bible word” for a “Bible thing”, I get accused of nit picking. So sometimes I have to wonder if I am simply being too nit picky or not.
If someone comes to me and wants to be sprinkled and I insist on them being immersed, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If someone asks why we don’t serve communion on Saturday night and I insist on partaking on the first day of the week (Sunday), am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a person comes to me claiming to be a Christian by repeating the “sinner’s prayer” and I insist that they show me in Scripture where that teaching is found, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a person comes to me and asks where the “altar call” is in our assembly and I insist that there is not altar in the New Testament church, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a person asks me what denomination is the Church of Christ and I insist that we are anti-denominational, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a Christian refers to the Lord’s Supper as a “sacrament” and I insist that the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance, not a means of grace, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a person comes to me and says that they were saved and later immersed and I insist that they be immersed for the forgiveness of sins, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
If a church member calls me “pastor” and I insist that the elders are the pastors of the church and I am an evangelist, am I being too nit picky, or am I being Biblical?
I could go on, but I want to allow myself a couple of lines for closing thoughts. I often wonder where we have failed. Are our new preachers not being taught right or are they simply reading the wrong book? Or maybe we have elders who have given in to the religious world jargon and don’t care anymore? But instead of dwelling where we have gone astray in our language, let me encourage you to grow in your faith and knowledge. My prayer is that our goal would return to the original goal: that is to restore the church back to the New Testament pattern And part of that restoration should be the words we use. But if you do, be ready. You can join the “nit picking” club like me, because people will be quick to call you that, instead of what you really are, and that is Biblical.
Jesus believed even the individual letters of the Bible were important: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). And some think words are not important?
Words convey our thoughts and meanings. Words are so vital to communicate the correct message. I pray we use the right words to share with the world. Jesus said very plainly, “everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).