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A Word for the Day by J.D. Watson

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A Word for the Day : Key Words From the New Testament
by J.D. Watson

Reviewed by Sheryl Root

"Part devotional, part commentary, Watson helps the reader dig into the richness of the Greek language used in the New Testament and mine the wealth, making it practical for daily life."

I've always found it fascinating to learn the original Greek or Hebrew meanings of words used in Scripture. Using a Strong's Concordance and Vines Expository Dictionary to unearth the original meaning behind the text can be fascinating, but also a bit intimidating, especially to those who may be new to the study of the Bible.

J.D. Watson's devotional, A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament, is a great place for a beginner to whet their appetite when it comes to word study. And, for those with more advanced study skills, it's a wonderful tool to refresh and rejuvenate a love for the Word.

Part devotional, part commentary, Watson helps the reader dig into the richness of the Greek language used in the New Testament and mine the wealth, making it practical for daily life.

There is a devotion for every day of the year; each focused on a specific word from the New Testament. After giving its Greek meaning (Strong's numbers are included), commentary gives practical application for that word—making it relevant to today. "Scriptures for Study" closes each day's devotion, giving the reader further opportunities for study of the day's word.

Here's an example of the November 14 devotional on the word Heart (kardia):

In Matthew 22:37-38, our Lord declares, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

Heart is kardia (2588), from which, of course, medical terms such as cardiac and cardiologist are derived. Its significance is enormous. It was used in secular Greek both in the literal and figurative sense, but the figurative was the most profound, picturing the heart as the seat of emotions and spirituality. In Homer's time (eighth century BC) and onward, however, it took on the even more significant meaning of both spiritual and intellectual life, including man's will and decision making.

These meanings flowed naturally into NT usage and provide us with striking applications. Kardia appears in Jesus' Beatitudes, for example: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt 5:8). Who is blessed (see Jan 12)? The one who is pure in feeling, thought, and will.

Here in our text, then, Jesus' words are pointed indeed. Most people, even Christians, equate the heart with only emotion, which in turn produces "up and down" emotional living and even a desire for emotionalism and entertainment in the church service. But the Christian life is a life not only of feeling, but a life of the mind and will. In fact, as one Greek authority points out, there is a closeness of meaning in the NT between heart (kardia) and mind (nous; see Apr. 2).

The principle, therefore, of our loving the Lord with all our heart is truly the "heart" of living the Christian life. If we really love him with our feelings, our thoughts, and our decisions, that will drive everything we do and say. If we really love him, we'll live holy, we'll desire His Word, we'll obey Him, we'll edify and serve others, and the list goes on.

Start today by asking yourself, "Do I really love the Lord?"

Scriptures for Study: In light of kardia, what does Romans 1:21 tell us about man's sinfulness? What does Romans 10:9-10 declare about salvation?

I'm someone who purchases quite a few devotionals, using most for a season, but keeping very few on a long-term basis to use over and over again. A Word for the Day is definitely going on my "keeper's" shelf.

Sheryl RootSheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.