Saturday, June 29, 2024

Poikilos and Polka Dots (Is This for Real?)

I recently watched a sermon on James 1:2 in which the speaker claimed that the Greek word poikilos (usually translated as "various") is the origin of our English expression polka dot. (He pronounced it "pokie dot.") This in my opinion goes right down to the bottom of the barrel. It's as ridiculous as it gets. That right there is honestly a disqualifying statement all on its own. No one should be able to make outlandshiply false statements like that and still be taken seriously as an expositor of the word of God. The speaker, who holds not one but two seminary degrees (masters and doctorate), should have known better. If a fledgling seminary student had made that statement in his preaching class while delivering a practice sermon, his teacher would have immediately corrected him. Frankly, it reminds me of all the gimmicky clickbait fitness videos on social media as well as the books on the market that are full of misinformation that sounds nice but is flat-out wrong. 

The simple fact is that the mass of novice lifters as well as the general masses of church goers are just going to gravitate toward whatever is flashier and more attention-grabbing on the surface when what they are really getting is complete garbage information. My point is that the internet is not necessarily your ally as far as quality of information goes, which means that at the end of the day you're going to have to figure things out for yourself, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 when they examined the Scriptures to see whether the things said by Paul and Silas accorded with God's written word. They didn't do this out of unbelief but from an honest quest for the truth. How much more is this needed in a day like ours when we are inundated with misinformation and straight out falsehoods. I normally don't get worked up so much about things that, upon closer examination, aren't that big a deal. But this IS a fairly big deal, and in my opinion it happens much too often. The solution here is to catch yourself when you fall into the trap of using a Greek word in your sermon before really understanding what that word means. You may indeed be a very busy pastor, but remember that misinterpreting the Greek only exacerbates the problem. Don't waste any more of your precious time by later on regretting the exegetical fallacies you committed.