Words are Known by the Company they Keep

The wide spectrum of usage that a single word may display in several different contexts can be illustrated by the word board. A Board is a sawed piece of timber. It is also a table on which food is placed, and the people who eat from it often must pay their room and board. But when people gather around that table for business, they become a board of trustees. Use that lumber on the deck of a ship and one will step on Board; he may even fall overboard.

It is plain to see that words, like people, are known by the company they keep. It is essential that we always be aware of the surrounding words (i.e., the company) as they were intended by the author who wrote them. He is the final court of appeal as to the use of his own words when it comes to determining meaning. Walter Kaiser, Jr., Toward an Exegetical Theology, p. 106.

I came across this good word about words while working my way through Kaiser's helpful work.
April 25, 2007


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