Goodness and Faithfulness

A linguistics professor explained to a group of students the development of the English language, which finds its roots in old English. It looks very different from modern English as it is essentially the result of Germanic tribes (Angles and Saxons) moving to or invading parts of England and combining their language with the native tongue of the Britons, which itself is a combination of Celtic and Latin. All of that was pretty boring until he launched into the connection between our word for God and the word “good.” At this point, my ears perked up!

I guess it’s not a problematic connection, as they are separated by a single letter, but I never knew if that was an accidental similarity or something more significant. When these Germanic people began to worship the God of the Bible, they needed a word to describe him. They had proper names for their pantheon of Germanic gods, as in Odin, Thor, and Freya, but they didn’t have a word that would ultimately work as a way of describing the God of the Old and New Testaments.

However, as these people began to learn about the God of scripture, his inherent goodness, and his faithfulness to his creation they decided to take a form of the word “good” and make it their word for God. The words are recognizable in both the early Germanic languages and the modern languages of German, Dutch, and English from which they came.

Isn’t it amazing that when a group of people came to believe in the God of the Bible, the word that made the most sense for them to use was the word “good?” We have a good and faithful Father who has called us to exhibit the same characteristics in our lives; they are indicators or fruits that His spirit is working within us.




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