Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Lesson in Grammar

“And they glorified God in me.” (Gal.1:24)

The King James Bible not only provides us with the Words of Life, but it is also the definitive textbook for the English language, at least to my way of thinking. It is where to go to find “the King’s language!” When I read the last verse of the first chapter of Galatians this morning, the Holy Spirit gave me a refresher course in priorities, by means of a lesson in grammar.

The subject of this six-word sentence is “they,” a pronoun referring to the churches of Judea (v.22). The verb—in this case an action verb—telling us what the churches did, is “glorified.” In the case of action verbs, the complement following them, if one is needed, will be a direct object, a word that receives the action of the verb or shows its result. We have been given three little words to pick from to fulfill that role; but we can narrow it down further because the direct object must a noun, which leaves the preposition “in” out of the running. Now we’re left with only two candidates to receive the action of the verb “glorified.” To put it simply, who is to receive the glory? God or me? Lest we find even that to be too hard a decision (and don’t act as though you haven’t wavered between the two), the before mentioned preposition “in” has already tapped “me” to be its object, thereby leaving only one Person left to receive the glory—God.

This is an important lesson, however you learn it. As a lively, if not yet master, grammarian, the Holy Spirit reminds me that as well as being the supreme Object of my affections, God should be the Direct Object of any glory that might otherwise come to me. And isn’t it humbling to realize that God would give us an opportunity to make Him look good? We cannot do this, however, as long as we’re jockeying for the position of “direct object.”

We should remember, when the verb is “glorify,” the only truly acceptable direct object is God.

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