I love The Princess Bride. (Like everyone, right?) This 1987 film is a near-perfect blend of fantasy, romance, and our universal desire for justice framed with sarcasm and a constant flow of quotable lines.
One of the petty villains, Vizinni, is a hyperbolically confident know-it-all, unendingly enamored of his diabolical plans. At every turn the hero, Wesley, overcomes the obstacles thrown at him. Each time, Vizinni screeches out, “Inconceivable!”
After several of these moments of frustration, another character, Inigo Montoya, quips that perfectly quotable retort: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
He was right.
Vizinni declared something inconceivable when it violated his plans. In his self-confidence-drunk imagination, it was inconceivable that someone could be more clever, stronger or even luckier than he had accounted for. The word “inconceivable” was his protest when reality challenged his view of himself and the world.
There is a word with this same sort of problem used all the time in the modern Christian church. This word seems innocent enough, yet most every time it’s used it is a distraction, a cover-up, sometimes even an intentional manipulation.
It’s a word that seems simple enough, with a self-evident definition, and yet that assumption is the problem. Most of the time when the word is used, the word does not mean what we think it means.
The word? “Biblical.”