As the story goes, we get our word dynamite from the Greek word dunamis. Dunamis means power. This can be a powerful illustration in a sermon where we read about the power of God in the Bible.
We can actually see the dynamite of God! Powerful! Right? If you’re tracking with me I have some illustrations to offer using the power/dynamite replacement method. Just take the places where the Greek word dunamis is used and replace it with dynamite. Voila!
There are more verses, but I’m just taking a few from the NASB. This would make JJ Walker proud!
- Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the dynamite of God.
- Matthew 24:30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with dynamite and great glory.
- Mark 5:30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the dynamite proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?”
- Mark 6:14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous dynamites are at work in Him.”
- Mark 9:1 And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with dynamite.”
- Acts 1:8 but you will receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
- Acts 3:12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own dynamite or piety we had made him walk?
- Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and dynamite, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
- Romans 15:19 in the dynamite of signs and wonders, in the dynamite of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 2:4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of dynamite,
- 1 Corinthians 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and dynamite.
- 1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the dynamite of sin is the law;
- Ephesians 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His dynamite toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
- Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with dynamite by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
- Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal dynamite and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
- Revelation 3:8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little dynamite, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
- Revelation 19:1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and dynamite belong to our God;
Awesome, huh? Now I will let D.A. Carson tell you why you shouldn’t use them.
Our word dynamite is etymologically derived from the Greek word dunamis (dynamis, power, or even miracle.) I do not know how many times I have heard preachers offer some such rendering of Romans 1:16 as this: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the dynamite of God unto salvation for every who believes”- often with a knowing tilt of the head, as if something profound or even esoteric has been uttered. This is not just the old root fallacy revisited. It is worse: it is an appeal to a kind of reverse etymology, the root fallacy compounded by anachronism. Did Paul think of dynamite when he penned this word? And in any case, even to mention dynamite as a kind of analogy is singularly inappropriate. Dynamite blows things up, tears things down, rips out rock, gouges holes, destroys things. The power of God concerning which Paul speaks he often identifies with the power that raised Jesus from the dead (e.g. , Eph. 1:18-20); and as it operates in us, its goal is (eis soterian, “unto salvation,” Rom. 1:16 KJV), aiming for the wholeness and perfection implicit in the consummation of our salvation. Quite apart from the semantic anachronism, therefore dynamite appears inadequate as a means of raising Jesus from the dead or as a means of conforming us to the likeness of Christ. Of course, what preachers are trying to do when they talk about dynamite is give some indication of the greatness of the power involved. Even so, Paul’s measure is not dynamite, but the empty tomb. Carson, D.A .. Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed.. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002. 33-34.
So the next time you hear this illustration used kindly email them this blog post. This is actually the second option. First, go talk to them with grace and understanding as a brother in Christ.
Carson offers one more illustration which I’m dying to hear someone use.
In exactly the same way, it is sheer semantic anachronism to note that in the text “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7) the Greek word behind “cheerful” is hilaron and conclude that what God really loves is a hilarious giver. Perhaps we should play a laugh-track record while the offering plate is being circulated. Ibid. 34.
Enjoy your weekend!