Taking the Challenge
I share this being retired and reflecting on the challenges that I have gone through. Perhaps someone reading this may wonder what they might do in retirement--maybe my discussion here may challenge them into thinking of other possibilities that would bring meaning to themselves and others.
When I was in college, it was recommended for me to study Greek. I was considering pursuing a course of study that could lead to Seminary. It was a logical suggestion. I enrolled in Greek, and found I needed to learn the Alphabet in 3 days. Ouch! That is like trying to learn the Periodic Table of elements in its entirety in a week. It can be done, but to develop a working knowledge of it where you can use it takes time. I dropped the course. A new alphabet to me takes time to learn and understand. I moved into another area that eventually became the foundation for my work in food. That area was Biology.
Now in retirement, I have found more time to learn about languages, at a pace where I can absorb aspects of language which are not possible in a number of courses of study. It has actually been interesting. The one I choose to study was Hebrew due to my interest that has developed in Biblical studies. I decided to look at Hebrew at the time when the letters were represented by pictures, called pictographs and their use in the development of words.
This study of pictographs is called Pictographic Etymology, which is a study in the case of Hebrew, which is a Semitic language, of the ancient Semitic letters in the Semitic alphabet and their meaning utilizing archeology and scholarly work of researchers of pictographic alphabets.
What got me started? Probably curiosity. As I studied these pictographs and used in words in Biblical scripture, I found myself digging into and looking at possible letter meanings of words and Names of God.
In my research I found extremes of interpretations on both ends of a spectrum giving a wide spectrum of meanings depending on what the researcher’s viewpoint of language meaning. At that point, I made the decision to look at the researcher’s integrity, and how they approached what is written in examining what we the Bible we have today. The ones that I found that seemed to make sense were those that happened to turn out those to be the middle of the road as when it comes to applying possible meanings to letters.
Through much study, and gathering/collecting information, it was possible to develop a dictionary of meanings of the different letters of Hebrew. I found that to do solid research there were some items that guided me in my research work that helped me be consistent. They are listed below. The first was what I call Axioms, those elements that are true and accepted.
There were 2 axioms that I used:
- God cannot change - there for a meaning to a word at the beginning of the Bible should be close to the meaning use later in the Bible
- The pictographic letters are pictures that represent something. Pictures are used to convey a thought or meaning.
Because some of the letters may have more than one meaning, great care must be use in determining a meaning of a word. Here are some steps I used in evaluation of applying various meanings of letters when looking at words and their usage in language.
- Assuming scripture as written is correct, (Many scholarly men have worked years on its translation) we can use that to evaluate which of the letter meanings found in research might best apply to the word examining the context. An examination of that nature/evaluation should help focus what the meaning the letters may convey.
- Since the Bible states that God cannot change, then the meaning should be relatively consistent throughout scripture. When you find a meaning that is consistent with scripture, that meaning is possibly the meaning that should be considered.
Working with these guidelines, a study of 31 of the Names of God was undertaken. It has taken 7 years to complete it. It was put into a study format to help people to take time to consider what is being shown about meanings of Names, especially Names of God.
This work has been compiled in the book, 31 Names of God. It is an interesting study. It has also reinforced solid mainline Biblical teaching about Names of God.
The book is available on Amazon. On Amazon, in the search block - put ‘Lewis Turner, 31 Names of God’.
This book, 31 Names of God, is not a book to read fast, but one to study and come back to for more study.
I can say that taking the time for a study like this has helped me understand that God is personally interested in who I am. He wants me to know what He has done for me on the Cross of Calvary. He wants me to be a part of His family. These are things I knew about when I was working in my career. However, today, those facts are even more important to me. We have a wonderful God who really cares for us. I trust that all who take the time to study this book covering the Names of God, will grow in their relationship with God.