Have you ever done a Mad-Lib? It’s a story where all the nouns, verbs and adjectives are replaced by a bunch of blanks. One person spouts out random words, while the other person writes them in the blanks – often accompanied by a giggle or a chuckle. Then after all the blanks are filled out, the writer reads the story back to the “spouter.” It’s hilarious, if not a little embarrassing at times.
But what would happen if the blanks in the Mad-Lib were the prepositions, instead of the nouns, verbs and adjectives? You know, those little words like “by,” “to,” “with,” “in,” “through,” and “for.” The result probably wouldn’t be as funny, but it could dramatically alter the meaning of the writing.
We don’t think about prepositions, but they reveal so much; especially in light of how we are to grow spiritually and biblically.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to gloss over those little words. Sometimes phrases like “through Christ” or “in Christ” or “by Christ” sound like the same thing. But there are reasons why the Biblical writers chose specific prepositions in their phraseology. Prepositions determine direction and flow. It’s important to know whether something is coming “from” someone or something is going “to” something else. Prepositions also inform us the nature of relationship – being “with” someone is different than doing something “for” someone or being “in” something. And prepositions can tell us the nature of a particular action: there’s a difference between something that is “by” someone or “through” someone or “for” someone.
I’m not going to get technical about grammar (I can hear those sighs of relief – you know that just ain’t my style!), but over the next few days I want to look closely at some of these little words and how they help us in understanding the dynamic of transformation that happens through Whole Life Worship.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)