Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Laying the Ground Word

Ever since yesterday when the word Freedom rolled its way out of my brain, down the nerves of my arms and fingers where it was let loose and typed, it has been rattling around in my brain settling in then waking itself up as I think off the top of my head how many ways in which the word Freedom is actually used.

I live in the United States, so right there, Freedom is an important word to Americans.  I looked online this morning for quotes with Freedom in them and found some interesting expressions by some unexpected individuals.

But, for me, it all really starts first in one place:  God's Word.  So.. are you ready?

First, I looked in my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and found that the word Free and its six variations, including freed, freedman, freedmen, freedom, freeing, and freely were all used for a total of 111 times in the NIV (New International Version).  Of those words, Free was the word used to translate twenty-five
 Hebrew words and fifteen Greek words!

Very, very interesting, don't you think?  One English word to sum up a total of forty other words.

The word Freedom is used in the Bible (NIV translation) to translate three Hebrew words and six Greek words.

To backtrack just a little, the English definition of free according to Merriam-Webster is a long, long list of various definitions.  It may be easier to just use synonyms to give a broader definition.

Free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decision - "you're free to do as you like".

Independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies - "the colony's struggle to become independent".

Sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere - "separate and sovereign armed services".

Autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government - "in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous."

And that is just Free as an adjective!

Some synonyms of Free used as a transitive verb:

Free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses - "freed the animals from their cages".

Release suggests a setting loose from  confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation - "released his anger on a punching bag".

Liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty - "liberated their country from the tyrant".

Emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination - "labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery".

Manumit implies emancipation from slavery - "the document manumitted the slaves." 

When it comes to Free used as an adverb, it's much simpler:  "without charge, in a free manner."

Jesus himself used a word in Greek to describe himself, fulfilling a prophesy Isaiah spoke hundreds of years before the little baby boy was born in Bethlehem.

Isaiah 61:1 says "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners...."

Luke 4:18, when Jesus sat in the synagogue of his youth, he rolled out the scroll and read to the people he had known since his childhood:  "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed...."

The Hebrew word in Isaiah deror which means freedom, liberty.

The Greek word Jesus used is Aphesis - to release, send away, remit, forgive.

I'll be looking for Aphesis and Deror  in 2013.  I'll be looking for Freedom.

The synagogue in Nazareth that sits on the original floor that Jesus would have walked on.
Photo courtesy of Rhonda Piper Photography


  1. A wonderful word! I had to click over here from Melanie's because God led me to choose "freedom" too. This is a great post. I look forward to reading about the freedom He brings you in 2013! Blessings.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I'm really excited about this One Word journey. Blessings to you.