Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 3 March 2018
Page 6

Holy and Reverend Is Thy Name

Dennis Gulledge

Dennis GulledgeThe religious title “Reverend” is typically used by well-meaning people as a designation of honor and dignity for a minister or preacher. In the urgency of people to append a title of honor to those of a sacerdotal caste in the sectarian world, they have gone far beyond the Bible in so doing. No preacher should allow himself to be called “Reverend” or by any other title. The word “holy” is also misused as a title of religious significance as in “Holy See.” Some even use “Brother” as a title. The reason such titles are wrong is because there is no “clergy and laity” distinction in the church of Christ. Jesus condemned all titles of honor in religion (Matthew 23:8-9).

In their refusal to apply the title of “Reverend” to men, well-intended brethren often cite Psalm 111:9 and say that this is the only time the word is used in the Bible, and further, that it is used here only in reference to God, not man. The problem is that this argument is true only after a fashion. The word “Reverend” appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible. The Hebrew word from which “Reverend” is translated appears over three hundred times in the Old Testament.

It is true that the word “Reverend” comes from the Hebrew word yare. This word occurs 373 times in the Old Testament. It is translated in the King James Version by “be afraid” (76 times), “dread” (1 time), “fear” (242 times), “reverence” (2 times), “afraid” (3 times), “be feared” (4 times), “be had in reverence” (1 time), “dreadful” (5 times), “fearful” (2 times), “fearfull” (1 time), “reverend” (1 time), “terrible” (24 times), “terrible acts” (1 time), “terribleness” (1 time), “terrible things” (4 times), “affright” (1 time), “make afraid” (2 times) and “put in fear” (2 times).

In Genesis 19:30, Lot “feared [yare] to dwell in Zoar.” The word is used two times in Deuteronomy 28:58, “…that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the LORD thy God.” A form of yare is used in Isaiah 18:2 to describe the Ethiopians as “terrible.” David employed a form of yare in Psalm 139:14 to say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The words “Holy” and “Reverend” are not used as titles for God, but as terms descriptive of His character. Psalm 111:9 is a text exalting the name of God. The name of God is deserving of respect, godly fear and awe. Where is the deep veneration that we ought to feel toward the name of God Almighty? Is it evident among us when we speak His name, when we approach Him in worship and when we live before Him?

The Golden Rule

Mark N. Posey

Mark N. PoseyIn this short verse of Matthew 7:12, Jesus gave us the essence of His Father’s ethical commandments concerning our treatment of others. These words are customarily referred to as “The Golden Rule.” This rule is golden because of at least two reasons. First, a “rule” is an authoritative standard or principle given to regulate conduct. It is called “golden” because it is understood to be above all others in greatness and purity. It is certainly a “rule” because it is meant to guide our conduct toward what is best and most holy. Second, a “rule” is also a standard of measurement. It measures and establishes absolute truth to be authentic and accurate. We can measure ourselves and see how far we have fallen and how we need to realign with what is right and good.

The Context of the Rule

The word “therefore” draws us back to the words that precede this verse. As we look back, we see that Jesus taught through prayer about His Father’s care for us (7:7-11). Our Father is very good to us, not giving us what is bad. That’s how we want Him to treat us. Jesus, therefore, called us to imitate the goodness that God shows to us. We see this same goodness commanded in other verses (Matthew 7:1-5; 5:17-20, 27-37). Everything in Jesus’ sermon basically constitutes a call to heed and obey what He said in 7:12; it is a summary statement of the Sermon on the Mount.

The Measure of the Rule

It’s given in the phrase, “whatever you want men to do to you…” The word “men” (anthropos) doesn’t mean strictly “males only,” rather, it is “people.” Therefore, we are to consider what we would want “people” in general to do to us. A literal way to translate this would be, “all things therefore, as much as it ever occurs, that you may wish that people may do to you…” Jesus called us to stop and ask this simple question of ourselves when in a situation with others: “What would I want people to do to me in a similar situation?” We must simply measure the situation with Jesus’ standard and act appropriately.

The Practice of the Rule

Jesus said, “do also to them.” The Golden Rule has a long history in a wide range of world cultures, prominent religious figures and philosophers. Simon Blackburn stated that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition.” For example, others said, “What you avoid suffering yourself, seek not to inflict upon others” (Epictetus). “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” (Confucius). “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another” (Ancient Egypt). However, these ancient sayings are put in negative form (i.e., “What you DON’T want done to you, DON’T do to others”). However, Jesus stated His rule in a positive form that focuses on positive action. Think about it! If all I wanted to do was passively not do to someone else what I don’t want done to me, then all I would have to do is nothing at all! I could keep this commandment just by staying home and sitting on my hands. Yet, if I seek to actively do to others want I want done to me, I must think, evaluate, measure, love and take life seriously (Philippians 2:3)!

The Scope of the Rule

Jesus said, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, this rule—in positive form—is the essence of what was commanded in the Old Testament regarding human relations (Leviticus 19:18). The key to all of it is love! It is sacrificially putting the needs of the person loved on an equal level with your own. That’s the kind of love that fulfills the requirement of the law of God with respect to our treatment of others (Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; Matthew 22:37-40). The Golden Rule is the summation and essence of the Law of God.

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