Freedom of Speech


     There is a most breathtaking word used in the Book of Hebrews in its discussion of each Christian’s access to and privileges in the presence of God.  It is parrhesia.

     According to Strong’s, this noun is a compound word.  Literally, it means “all speech”.  It was coined by the ancient Greeks to encapsulate the freedom of speech every citizen had.  If you were a rightful citizen of one of the Greek city-states, you had the freedom to publicly state anything you thought without repercussions from any who may dislike your point of view.

     The inspired writer of Hebrews uses this dynamic word when he wrote: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need… Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God…” (4:14-16, 10:19-21).

     Though he lived prior to these provisions of the new covenant, David clearly and repeatedly demonstrates that God allows the citizens of His kingdom freedom of speech in His august presence.  Consider this example from Psalm 144: “Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.  Flash forth lightning and scatter them; shoot out Your arrows and destroy them.  Stretch out Your hand from above; rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of foreigners whose mouth speaks lying words and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood” (vv. 5-8).

     Political freedom of speech is an immense blessing that is sparsely enjoyed in our world today.  However, it pales in comparison when placed beside the extraordinary blessing of spiritual freedom of speech in the presence of God.

     Don’t just read and comprehend Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 10:19-21, exercise your freedom of speech in God’s presence.

     Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5: 17).

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Author: jchowning

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