godly grammar

The other evening around nine o’clock, I came to my desk and was preparing to head out of the teacher’s office and go back to my room. Two of the English teachers stopped me and asked for help with an English test book question. The problem was whether to use “the least” or “the fewest” in a certain sentence. I thought about it for a minute, and then another minute, and still wasn’t sure.

The teachers chuckled because I am a native English speaker and even I wasn’t sure of the answer. I said the sentence out loud a few times plugging in either option, and was leaning toward “the least” as the more familiar sounding sentence structure. Then Chen Laoshi (Teacher Chen) explained why “the fewest” should be grammatically correct, even though both Todd (the Canadian) and I had said “at least” sounded better to us. I was thoroughly confused. They jokingly said, “You should just call your mom.” I looked at the clock: 9:12am, that meant mom was probably up and getting ready for the day.

Sure enough! Within seconds I had my own personal grammar-expert on the phone, iPad in hand. She told us the grammatical rules, and thus sided with the English teachers. They were very happy, and thanked my mom profusely. And as we were hanging up, I said, “But it just doesn’t sound right…”

Mom answered, “Sometimes we say things wrong for so long that we start to think they’re right.”

We both paused.

Then she said, “Ha, maybe you could write a blog post about that!”

So here it is. Indeed, the truth behind that concept is crucial and easily missed. In regards to spiritual things, spiritual principles, spiritual life (which is everyday life), etc., we can become blind to truth because we’ve just done it a certain way for so long. I’m sure many of you, like me, have wondered what it would be like if we picked up the Bible and drew our conclusions based solely on its words, not on preconceived ideas or cultural standards. I’ve become aware of some things in my life that differed from Scripture and from Jesus’ example, both through reading the Bible, reading other Christian non-fiction, personal prayer, and godly counsel. But I can’t help but wonder… what else are we ignoring as something that “just doesn’t sound right?”

Perhaps you and I can come at the Word of God differently today than we did yesterday. We can enter the presence of God today with an open mind, ready for God to show us the specks and/or planks in our eyes. I imagine that once we decide to do things His way, we’ll realize that His rules and principles make the most sense and lead to the best outcomes. Kind of like good, consistent grammar.


  1. Hmm, you make a good point, Shelby. It's so easy to become comfortable with how we do things, or how our parents do things, or how our church does things. But just because it's comfortable doesn't make it right. I want to follow what God truly says, not just what I think He says. You've got me thinking now. Thanks, Shelby! :)


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