One would think that the written word, from a trusted source, would trump the spoken word every time.
The written word has been prepared, reviewed, fact-checked and edited, not just by the author, but often by a third party. But not so the spoken word, which is more readily swayed by emotion of the moment. The statements you later come to regret most often come through the spoken route.
Um…that really didn’t come out right. I didn’t mean to say it that way. Who hasn't said these words?
A speaker might be voicing a pet peeve. He might be promoting some personal view. He might be flat out wrong, repeating a view he thinks is true, or would like to be true, but isn’t.
So it’s unsettling when we think of all the folks who vividly remember what so-and-so said 20 years ago but cannot recall what was written one month ago on the same topic.
We’re people persons, of course. We like personalities, we like characters. They bring life to the dull printed word. It’s all understandable and fine, so long as we don’t lose track of the inherent weakness of the spoken word.
Even such awkward events as 1975 were much easier on the written word folks than those of the spoken word.
1975 was the end of 6000 years of human history, calculated from the Bible’s own internal chronology. But it’s complicated and obscure in a few places and mistakes are possible. Smart Isaac Newton took a stab at the EOW date and came up with 2060! At any rate, many of us figured that the end of this system of things would occur in 1975. It didn’t turn out that way. (as is easily proven by newspapers)
If you mostly relied on what is written, you had an easier time of it. To be sure, it was written. But it was written with restraint, in proportion to overall events, and always with a sense of tentativeness. The end of the system was possible in that year, even probable. But it wasn’t a sure thing. That was the written word.
But the spoken word…there were people who spoke of nothing else!
Yeah, yeah, yeah! The end of the system of things!! I can almost taste it!! There were many pumped like this.
Let’s go borrow some money! We won’t have to pay it back!!! There were a few who reasoned this way. You should have seen Tom Barfendogs tooling around in his new Maserati! He’d always driven AMC products. Alas, the Day of the Lord did not come as expected. The Day of the Bank, on the other hand, came right on time.
In hindsight, the whole episode left us with egg on the face. Of course, it’s understandable, for what Christian doesn’t look forward to the rule of God’s Kingdom?
Even Jesus’ disciples wanted to know when would the time come.
When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” He said to them: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction…." Acts 1:6-7
Here, as in all other areas, a Christian does better when he or she puts primary trust in the written word, not the spoken.
For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man, able to bridle also [his] whole body. James 1:2
“Do not go beyond the things that are written” 1 Cor 4:6 (note that written is the benchmark, not spoken)