The book, “The Ten Most Misunderstood Words in the Bible” by Robert Wilkin is an excellent orientation to proper interpretation in Scripture. It is an exposure of the simpleton approach to Scripture. Too many people want to take a particular definition of a word and impose that definition on every usage. The problem is that the context is more important to the meaning of a word than its simple definition. The word “trunk” is an example. When referring to a car, it refers to the place where luggage might be stored. When referring to a tree, it refers to the part of the tree from the roots up to the branches. When referring to an elephant, it refers to the long proboscis of the beast. When referring to luggage, it can refer to the older style box compartment in which a person stored his personal items when traveling. The context determines the meaning of the word “trunk.”
Wilkin demonstrates the same is true in Scripture. He chose ten words: Faith, Everlasting, Saved, Lost, Heaven, Hell, Repentance, Grace, Gospel and Judgment. He demonstrates the different ways each word is used in particular contexts and how those contexts can reveal a different meaning for the word.
Wilkin uses many examples for each of the ten words. For example, the word “saved” is forced to mean salvation. The basic meaning of the word is “deliverance.” When looking at the context of the word with the basic idea of “deliverance,” then a more clear meaning can be understood. For example, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Eph. 2:8 NKJ) Here it is clear, Paul the author writing to the church of Ephesus is using the word “saved” to refer to “salvation.” Here is another example, “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved.” (Pro. 28:18 NKJ) Here the word “saved” has the meaning of deliverance from the temptations of sin and not to salvation!
This is a must read for serious students of Scripture. He has excellent study guides at the end of the book for each chapter which would make this a good study guide as a small group tool. Additionally, he has three appendices. The first appendix gives a short synopsis of eleven additional words that cause confusion for people. The second appendix explains the importance of “The Analogy of Faith,” which must be understood. Basically it states that when a truth is clearly stated in a specific passage, then that “Analogy of Faith” can be used to understand other passages and no other passage will teach something opposing what was clearly taught. The third appendix explains the blessings and curses in Scripture. Some people will impose salvation or an “eternal” meaning on passages that are addressing rewards and blessings, rather than eternal standing. For example, it explains why James 2:14 describes a message of life for blessing rather than eternal destiny.
The content of this book must be understood and can eliminate a great deal of confusion in Christendom.