It seems like everything has it owns language. Computers have their own language. According to a computer all I write is series of 0’s and 1’s. Music has its own language, and please do not ask me to explain because I have the musically talent of a pot (all I do is make noise). There are the five love languages, which is a great series of books to read. The Bible was originally written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I have studied two, and completely forgotten one of them. Social media has its own language with all of its hash-tag glory. One of my favorites is the language of text messages. I am sure many of you are having a great lol right now, or you are exclaiming omg.
I was thinking about this today while I was filling out student take home reports today (pictured above). During summer school I am required to send these home every week in order to show parents the progress they are making in school. It is a handy way to keep parents informed, and an easy document to fill out on a weekly bases. I realized as a teacher I speak at least four languages.
- Students: I have to explain things to them using vocabulary they understand, while taking opportunities to expand it. I have had to be more aware of this in summer school because the students I have are ones who did not do well in fourth grade.
- Parents: Yes, they are adults, but they are not educators. While many teachers dread talking to parents, I actually enjoy it because it gives me an opportunity to collaborate in the education of their children. I have to make sure I speak at their level in order for them understand the goal I have for their child. I have to avoid education vocabulary, and make sure I remain positive about their child.
- Teachers: I remember my first year as a teacher, and I had no clue what those people were talking about in meetings. Terms like guided reading, running records, and mathematical precision were thrown around, and I was clueless. I took the opportunity to explore the educational vocabulary, and I was quickly able to keep up.
- Outsiders: Everyone in America has an opinion on how to fix the education system in the United States. Some ideas are good, but many come from a lack of knowledge from what happens in the classroom.
When I talking to someone I have to make sure I speak the right language. If I talk to another adult like a child the message will be lost. I know I do not appreciate it when another adult talks to me like a child because when they do I usually tune them out. If I talk to a child like an adult, then they will not have a clue what I am saying or I damage the relationship. My goal as a teacher is for all my students to learn. I have to adapt my language in order for them to be ready for the next grade and life.
The Apostle Paul discussed the same thing in I Corinthians. Often when we change how we say the Gospel people think that the gospel is being corrupted. The same truth goes for Bible translations. Some believe that if we do not speak and read the old King James we are corrupting the Bible. Paul write these words to help us understand the reason why we adapt the message.
Although I am a free man and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law — though I myself am not under the law — to win those under the law. To those who are without that law, like one without the law — not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law — to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so I may become a partner in its benefits. – I Corinthians 9:19-23
If we want to reach more with the gospel we have to be willing to adapt how we say. We do not present the gospel of Jesus Christ to a 10 year old the same way we would to a 23 year old downtown professional. We keep the message the same, focused on the same Savior, with the goal of reaching more with the gospel. Be willing to be flexible with the message while not compromising what the Bible says. Being all things to all people means relating to those whom you want to reach.
We want others to hear the message, while not having it get drowned out from our vocabulary. I remember in college I learned about the term Christainiese. When sharing our faith is wise to avoid words like sanctification, justification, and pretty much any other word out there that ends in “ication”. There is nothing wrong with using these words if you have the time to share them, but most times we do not have that kind of time or attention span. Paul did this when sharing the gospel with others. We see it many times in Scripture. He would adopt the message in order for his hearers to have a clear message to respond to. If we use the Holy Spirit as our guide, He will help us knowing what to share with others. Focus on the message showing people the amazing grace of our Savior, and showing a God who loves them unconditionally.