By Ronnie McCarty
In the previous article on this subject we dealt with the fact that when God designates a name for anything, He means for this name to be used. Now, let us examine some other names that are commonly misused and misapplied by the world and by Christians. The first term I would like for us to examine is “saint.” This name is misused and misapplied primarily because of the teaching of the Catholic church concerning one becoming a “saint.” According to their teaching, only a certain few are “saints”; for one to become a saint is extremely difficult. That this false teaching has spread into the world and even into the church is evidenced by the statements some Christians make-“Every man sins. After all, none of us are saints.” Or, “I know I’m not perfect; I’m not a saint.” It is true that all sin (Rom. 3:23), but we had all better be saints, because all Christians are saints (1 Cor. 1:2; 16:1; Eph. 1:1; 3:8; Phil. 1:1; Jude 3; Rev. 5:8). Saints are not just a group of men and women that have been deified by the Catholic Church.
Another term I would like for us to examine is reverend. Men apply or allow this term to be applied to themselves. But this designation is found only one time in the Bible, and it does not apply to any man. In Ps. 111:9, the Psalmist is speaking of Jehovah when he writes, “. . .Holy and reverend is His name.” No man has a right to wear this name. When man allows himself to be addressed by this term, or thinks of himself as reverend, he has taken the same attitude Herod displayed in Acts 12:20-23. From this passage we can also note the fate of Herod for his assumption.
The last name or designation we will consider in this article, is that of minister. This term is more misused than it is misapplied. The apostle Paul referred to himself as a minister (Rom. 15:16, Eph. 3:6-7). Paul described others as being ministers: Tychicus (Eph. 6:21), Epaphras (Col. 1:17), and Timothy (1 Tim. 4:6). From these passages and others, many (even Christians) think that the term minister is for use only by the preacher. This is erroneous thinking. It is true that preachers of the Gospel are ministers, but the fact is that all Christians are to be ministers (Heb. 6:10, 1 Pet. 4:10; 2 Cor. 9:1). Even some who are not necessarily Christians are called ministers of God (Rom. 13:6). Therefore, let us try not to call or make the preacher exclusively “the minister.”
There are other misused and misapplied Bible terms we could discuss. We could also mention the many unscriptural terms used in the realm of religion today, but I believe these few terms we have talked about will help us all to better appreciate the fact that when we speak that we must be “. . .speaking as it were the oracles of God . . . .”
Truth Magazine XXII: 16, p. 265
April 20, 1978