As a writer, I’m intrigued with word usage. Since the written word can but silently communicate feeling and conviction, the ability to paint with words becomes more significant.
Consider the EMPHATIC–saying something in the negative to emphasize the positive. Modern slang has made effective use of the emphatic. “I am so NOT into him.” Translation–I loath and dispise him. She could have easily said she hated him, but the emphatic NOT into him is much more effective.
Then there is the Chandler method, made famous on the sitcom Friends. “Could I BE any more stupid?” It’s all in where the emphasis is placed. And don’t we love him for it…
The emphatic method can cause confusion when we aren’t looking for it. I encountered an intriguing question regarding the Bible verse in Revelation 3:5. The interpretation hinged on recognizing the presence of emphatic language, making all the theological difference in the world. I don’t raise this spiritual example to start a debate. Rather, it is an example of how emphatic language, when correctly understood, can mean the opposite of the obvious…
No less than God in the passage, makes the emphatic statement that “…I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life…” A common incorrect interpretation of His statement is that names CAN be blotted out of the Book of Life because God says in this case He decides not to… This view is not supported by other scripture.
Take another look at the verse. It is written to a church in a town called Sardis. In order to interpret the verse, the ancient location to which it was written must be understood. God is placing the emphasis on Himself–that He will NOT do something the Sardis city officials did on a regular basis, namely, blotting names out of the city registers for infractions of the law. If we read the verse with emphasis on the “I,” the verse comes alive: “I will not blot out his name…” He emphatically states He will not. Names once placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life stay there. They are written before the foundations of the earth were laid and they are written in blood–His blood. God’s justification through His sacrifice on the cross can NOT be erased.
God emphatically says NO!