Thursday, March 22, 2018

Words Change

Words are strange. Over time their meaning can change. Sometimes a good word can have stopped being used. The word “household” is an example. It is still used by statisticians, but in a very narrow way, as all the people living a dwelling (sharing meals together). They conduct household surveys and publish so-called household statistics. Most users would prefer family statistics, but family are a fluid concept and hard to measure, especially if members of a family live in different dwellings.

Despite this technical usage, the word household has gone out of normal usage, probably because we no longer have households with servants or extended family members in them. People talk about family, ie Mum (Dad) and children. In New Zealand, we have the Maori word “whanau” for the wider extended family. People speak of their “whanau”, but never talk about their household. Marketers used to address junk mail to “The Householder”, but they have stopped doing that because they realised the word is no longer has any meaning here.

I am not sure what Christians think when they read about the Household of God in the Ephesians, if they have not had teaching about the nature of ancient households.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph 2:17).
At least with the word “kingdom”, people have a residual idea from nursery stories and television shows like “Game of Thrones”.

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