Dr. Hiles is a native of St. Louis and Dean of the College of Theology at Grand Canyon University. He studied sculpture, completed an M.Div., and earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Southeastern Baptist Seminary before becoming a professor. His interests relate to the doctrines of salvation and the church as well as the intersection of theology and culture.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Many of us have heard and perhaps even made, this outrageous claim at one point or another during childhood. It’s hard to recall if I believed the claim when I was young but by now I’m confident that it is pure fiction.
Words bear incredible power for good or for evil. In fact, painful words can leave scars deep in our souls that don’t heal long after we’ve recovered from the bruises and cuts that “sticks and stones” may cause. But words can also build up, encourage and shape lives in ways that cultivate faith, hope and love. Carefully chosen words can be transformative.
Throughout Christian history, some of the most powerful ideas available to mankind have been encapsulated in big words that fell into obscurity and disuse at one point or another. The ideas these words convey are by no means irrelevant even if we rarely use them these days. Indeed, recovering the power of these words may bring much-needed healing and transformation to our souls. With a little effort, mining these archaic terms for truth and wisdom can prove even more profitable than finding hidden treasure as far as happiness, peace and joy are concerned (Matthew 13:44).
As Theology Thursday returns for the fourth year, it is my privilege to introduce this year’s theme: “Big Words, Bigger Ideas.” This year is dedicated to exploring some of the most transformative truths the Christian faith has to offer. Each Thursday for the next nine months a new installment in the series will appear courtesy of the College of Theology faculty. And each installment will amount to an expedition of sorts in which we will introduce and unpack words that capture the wonderful truths of the gospel.
We invite you to join us as we explore and unpack big words and the even bigger ideas they contain. It is our hope that this series will deepen your understanding of God, His love for you and His purposes for your life.
Want more? Check out all the articles from Theology Thursday and return each week for a new post. Learn more about the College of Theology by checking out our website or requesting more information with the button on this page.