Instead, my favorite word in the Bible is... (drum roll, please)...
That's right. The oft-maligned, under-appreciated, over-used little word "but" is my favorite word in the Bible. Why, you ask? Take a look at some of the places you find it in the Bible:
- Genesis 50:20 - Joseph, speaking to his guilty brothers, said, "You intended to harm me, BUT God intended it for good."
- Psalm 30:5 - Here's a double dose: "For [God's] anger lasts only a moment, BUT his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, BUT rejoicing comes in the morning."
- Psalm 73:26 - The psalmist Asaph wrote these words affirming the faithfulness of God: "My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
- Acts 3:15 - Peter, preaching on the streets of Jerusalem, proclaimed to the city, "You killed the author of life, BUT God raised him from the dead!"
- Romans 5:7-8 - There is hardly a better summary of the gospel than this one from the apostle Paul: "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. BUT God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
- Romans 8:32 - Paul went on to explain, "He who did not spare his own Son, BUT gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
- Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 - Doctor Paul first gives the diagosis, then he follows it up with the prescription: "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.... BUT because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
- Hebrews 2:9 - The writer of Hebrews asserted that at the present time we don't see humankind in their place of dominion over creation. "BUT we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor...."
As you can see from this little survey, the word "but" holds a place of great honor in the Scriptures! It is often the key to gospel hope. It is often the bridge between problem and solution, the pivot upon which the promise of forgiveness turns. May we never ignore or belittle the "buts" of the Bible.