Blog Archive

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day Nine: Word (spoken)

“The Twelve Days of Christ” series looks at Psalm 119's twelve Hebrew words for God’s Word, and a connection to the church for each one.

"Words that do not give the light of Christ
increase the darkness."
~ Mother Theresa

Day Nine: Word (spoken)
'emrah: fem noun, "word, poetic form; used with teaching, covenant, voice"
From 'amar: verb, "to say"

This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life...
I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure...
~ Psalms 119:50,162 (NKJV)

"Because nothing is impossible with God's every word."
~ Luke 1:37 (author)

Gabriel's words to Mary are usually quoted as simply, "Nothing is impossible with God." The original Greek includes the phrase pan rhema—"every word." Rhema emphasizes personal speech more than logos does, though both mean "word."

Two Hebrew nouns also mean "word." Yesterday's dabar appears in the Old Testament 1438 times. Today's 'emrah appears just 37 times, 19 of them in Psalm 119. Determined (obsessed?) to distinguish these two words, I studied their etymology and uses at length. Here, I present some imperfect, contrasting metaphors.

Dabar or 'emrah. Masculine or feminine. Official declaration or spoken personally. Prose or poetry. Formal or intimate. Head talk or heart talk. Speaking to someone or speaking with someone.

A distinction I particularly like about the root verb 'amar is: "also refers to what is being communicated by a person's actions" (from The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Zodhiates). I'm reminded that we generally communicate 55% with our facial expression and body language, 38% with tone of voice, and 7% with our words. I also think of the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk; of the disparity between internet relationships (however precious), and relationships with people we contact personally.

I'll be thinking of 'emrah as God's full communication by His Holy Spirit, His intimate whispers to the heart and personal touch on our lives, and the power His words carry when put into action.

Oh Lord, how I love Your every Word! Thank You for sending Jesus, the Logos made flesh, by Whom we obtain eternal life. Thank You for breathing into us Your Rhema to sustain that life. I pray you'll pass to those who read these words as much as possible of the blessing I obtain in writing them.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Artwork: "Annunciation" by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898, from


  1. You're a gift Anne! Bless you and thank you for this wonderful work you do. I hear Him again. So clear and sweet, the most perfect song.

    I'm lifting our friend Denise in my prayers. May God heal her family and put them at peace.

  2. T. Anne, thank you for your beauty of soul and words. He is indeed my Strength and Song! Thanks for praying for Denise and Eddie.


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)