Sunday, February 21, 2010

#123-Beginning a Message with the Amount of Times a Word is Mentioned in the Bible

I dedicate this post to all those who will pass the mantle of word-counting down to our future generations.

I've never preached a message in my life, (well, I did "talk" during a youth service once, and it was at the pulpit and contained scriptures . . . does that count? Is preaching only preaching if you yell and if it's during Big Church? Or did that event just retroactively un-exist since I'm supposed to be "silent" and ask my nonexistent husband at home?) so this is just my imagined rendering of the preacherly thought process.

Preacher (in his mind)
I've gotta come up with something good. Something that will bust the altar area wide open with the weight of convicted souls. I want those altar tissues used up, son! What's a good topic? Hmmm . . . "The Love of God"? Nah, too mamby pamby. Oh, I know! "The Omnipotence, Omniscience and Infallibility of the 'Man of God.'" Rats, that was preached last Sunday. Hmm . . . gotta think of something good. What about a one word title? "Faith"? Overrated. "Consecration"? Yeah . . . that sounds like an altar filler. Let me hit up Blue Letter Bible and see how many times it's mentioned. "Mentioned 9 times in 9 verses in the KJV." That's not enough! I've got to be able to start my message off with a more impressive word count than that. Let's see here . . . what about "Sacrifice"? "Mentioned 218 times in 205 verses in the KJV." Bingo! (He begins to write.) People in this world want things instantly. Like microwave popcorn, 2 minutes and it's done! But some things in this life require waiting, tarrying, fighting, walking through the snow to school like they used to do in the good old days, and backbone. There's a simple word to describe what this world today is missing. It's mentioned 218 times in 205 verses in the Word of God. Sacrifice!

Out of the preacher's mind and back to me
And there you have it, ladies and gents, inst-a-matic message intro a la holy word count. Another word count tactic gainfully employed is to compare the instances of one word as opposed to another word. Words become football teams, and whichever word has the most occurrences is declared the winner and therefore more important and special than the losing word. You can create your own fantasy football league of words and start plugging them into Blue Letter Bible.

Word count stats can give you that non-scriptural support you need to put you at ease:

Holy = 611, Grace = 170. God's grace isn't enough, you've got to be hoollaaay!

King = 2540, New = 150. The King James Version is better than any new translations, bless God!

Fat = 130, Thin = 9. Being overweight is biblical! Can I get an Amen?

But sometimes things can get problematic if the word count results go against conventional wisdom. For example:

Beard = 16, Shave = 14. Uh, oh . . . paging The Platform committee . . .

Talk = 24, Yell = 1. But, but, how will I able to deliver the Word? Lord have mercy!

World = 288, Church = 80. I rebuke you word count, in JAY-sus name!

So, if you're going to employ word count for homiletic proof, make sure you pick your words carefully.


  1. I'm keeping this post in the back of my wallet next time someone uses this argument....

    (in earnest, I have caught myself using this once before....SHAME SHAME)

  2. I have heard it used well; in an enlightening meaner a few times. I could cont the number of enlightening times and to count the unenlightening times I would need to use a computer.

  3. Thanks Chantell for providing excellent commentary! I had an experience that shows the clash between facial hair and gluttony. I didn't shave one day for a mid-week service. Imagine the horror this wreaked on innocent by standers and the souls that would be lost by a few whiskers. Fortunately I was quickly reprimanded by a gentleman w/ 350lbs of fluff about the dangerous ground I was on, and how studies have shown that people who don't shave die early. I quickly concluded that given his girth he believed obesity was a way to extend life. I did not remind him to the contrary, perhaps I should have.
    I believe this may actually be a result of your word counting theory. Thanks for helping me understand!