by Elliot Ritzema
I remember reading a description of a political meeting from the seventeenth century. In it, one speech was described as “pathetic.” That was jarring to me, since calling something or someone “pathetic” is an insult today. But back then, it merely meant that the speech was intended to move the listeners to compassion.
If word meanings change over time, even in the same language, imagine translating an ancient concept from one language to another! We often have to do this when we study the Bible, so it is always worthwhile to research the words’ ancient meanings. One example is the concept of oaths in James 5:12.