Several weeks ago I posted a question on my twitter/facebook feeds. “what is the "dullest" 3 letter word in the English language? It’s used all the time….” It merited a few responses. and many questions. It is good to have the power to define what is the dullest 3 letter word. Some of you even as you read this are wondering what the word is that merits this title. Let me help I have used the word 7 times to this point in my blog already.
It is a word that if I would try not to use it my writing would suffer from form more than just typos, and a total lack of proper grammar. It is a word that contains great power if it is used properly. Ok I know you can’t stand it any more. The word is the. Now that is one odd little sentence.
This little word, a definite article with it’s roots in the old English word “the” (I love that line). It’s very definition from Webster online is longer than most of my blog posts. It is posted below. Check out the bold and underlined section, I added the emphasis myself.
1 a —used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance <put the cat out> b —used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is a unique or a particular member of its class <the President> <the Lord> c —used as a function word before nouns that designate natural phenomena or points of the compass <the night is cold> d —used as a function word before a noun denoting time to indicate reference to what is present or immediate or is under consideration <in the future> e —used as a function word before names of some parts of the body or of the clothing as an equivalent of a possessive adjective <how’s the arm today> f —used as a function word before the name of a branch of human endeavor or proficiency <the law> g —used as a function word in prepositional phrases to indicate that the noun in the phrase serves as a basis for computation <sold by the dozen> h —used as a function word before a proper name (as of a ship or a well-known building) <the Mayflower> i —used as a function word before a proper name to indicate the distinctive characteristics of a person or thing <the John Doe that we know wouldn’t lie> j —used as a function word before the plural form of a surname to indicate all the members of a family <the Johnsons> k —used as a function word before the plural form of a numeral that is a multiple of ten to denote a particular decade of a century or of a person’s life <life in the twenties> l —used as a function word before the name of a commodity or any familiar appurtenance of daily life to indicate reference to the individual thing, part, or supply thought of as at hand <talked on the telephone> m —used as a function word to designate one of a class as the best, most typical, best known, or most worth singling out <this is the life> <the pill> ; sometimes used before a personal name to denote the most prominent bearer of that name
Jesus while teaching one day used this little three letter word with all the power and authority of the cosmos. He is answering the question of His disciple Thomas who is confused at Jesus recent statements.
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:5-6 (NIV)
Three times Jesus uses our little “wonder word” and forever clearly defines who he is. He is THE way, THE Truth and THE Life. In an age of “tolerance” and political correctness we so often hear Jesus referred to as “A way, A truth and A life” but Jesus is not just one among many. Jesus is one with no equals In a world of confusion and darkness we must clearly hold up this little three letter word as one of the most powerful and freeing words in the English language.
While at first glace to the definition above I gravitated to the last definition, as underlined. The reality it that in our case the first definition is the best: “used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance” Jesus certainly in all of Scripture and in his very life built the context and circumstance for his powerful declaration.
May we never look at this little three letter word the same again!