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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coming to Terms

A few days ago I mentioned differences in the use of terms in arguments.  In any discussion about controversial issues if there is going to be any understanding at all the parties involved have to define and agree what the terms they are using mean.
Do you assume that people know what the words you use mean?  Thoughts at DTTB.
For instance, many will talk about free will.  Free will over what?  There are quite a few things over which we have no choice.  So the question becomes over what do we exercise free will?

The other side of the coin in this particular discussion may be God’s sovereignty.  So the same question supplies.  Sovereign over what?  What is the extent of God’s sovereignty?  How does He apply it in our lives if at all?

The challenge with many of these discussions is that we use terms and assume those in the conversation know what we mean.  That, in my experience, is rarely the case.  To make matters worse, most times the parties do not have the patience to take the time to explain what they mean.  The result?  The discussion escalates with neither side really understanding what the other is saying.

That might happen from time to time in our families as well.  Ya think?


  1. Coming to terms is also applicable and important when reading. This is well explained by Mortimer Adler in his wonderful book "How To Read a Book". A good writer, he says, carefully defines the terms used. And a good active reader seeks to come to terms with the author. Else they would be like digging the tunnel from the opposite sides of a mountain and risking to miss each other in the middle.

    1. Great observation. Great illustration. Really great book.