Power. I have heard and read multiple times that our current English word ‘dynamite’ comes from the biblical word translated as power. Often times for convenience sake, the teacher makes that statement and in the same breath, jogs off to another point, leaving the listener to paint their own mental pictures. Pictures of high explosive scenes with Arnold Schwarzenegger running and yelling ‘Get down!” as the building behind him blows up. Sadly we take that scene and apply it to the saving power of Christ.
Yes, etymology-wise, (historical meaning of a word) this is where we get dynamite (from the Greek word ‘dynamis’) BUT the ‘power’ as translated into English and how we associate it, is not quite the same. Dynamite, in the description; is explosive, destructive in nature, having a starting point and goes forth shattering violently and bursting apart.
This is not our biblical dynamis. Yes, power, but ‘achieving power.’ Achieving power paints the picture, not of destruction as to blow apart, but the gathering of the qualities of God coming into one place, known as the manifestation of God. In the context of Paul using it in Romans 1:16 “For it is the power of God to salvation…” It (the gospel) is the appeased manifestation of God working on behalf of the believer with the sole purpose, making things right – extending HIS righteousness! THAT is not explosive, destructive, shattering or bursting. That is God in action! The gospel is Jesus coming in the form of man; living, dying, resurrecting, being the payment for a debt owed, freeing the believer – enabling them to be in right standing before a holy God. BOOM! (Just kidding)
It is unfortunate that we associate all this good God stuff with modern dynamite. Because God’s power is so-much-more! Dynamis is constructive, the power that creates with just a divine word. Within the manifestation of God, He puts life where death was, strength over weakness and light where there was darkness. An example is in Mark 5:30, the story of the woman with the bleeding issue, she reached out and touched Jesus’ robe. “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power (dynamis) had gone out of Him…” His power did not cause the women to explode, but be healed, the power that makes life.
Peter learned of this, he writes: “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3) And Paul says, “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (dynamis) that worketh in us.’ (Ephesians 3:20, emphasis mine) The same power that creates, heals, and restores life… is in us, is in YOU!
The next time we see power in the scriptures, may the picture in our mind not be of a stick of dynamite, but of all the good God stuff divinely commissioned on behalf of the believer. Go God!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Interesting Side Note: I appreciate something my pastor friend told me, she said, “The force of the dynamite is out of proportion to the size of the stick.” There is a lot packed in that small bundle. With that being said: Dynamite was invented by Swedish engineer and inventor Alfred Nobel in the 1860’s. Initially working alongside his father and brother, after multiple attempts, he invented a way to safely detonate highly volatile ingredients, only after his brother and others were killed. He mixed the two ingredients (nitroglycerine and kieselguhr) turning the liquid nitroglycerine into a paste that he then molded into rods and cylinders. He called his new invention along with his patented detonator cap, dynamite, after the Greek word dynamis, or power. Upon his death in 1896, Noble devoted his wealth to be given “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Prizes are given in 6 categories: (Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Peace, Economics, and Literature) Thus we know it as The Nobel Prize. Although Alfred Nobel never gave a public explanation for why he decided to create the awards, many have speculated that it emerged from his remorse over inventing a slew of agents used to such lethal effect in the wars and various national aggressions of his age. [Excerpt from the Article: The Story Behind Alfred Nobles Spirit of Discovery’ – by Dr. Howard Markel / PBS.org] A destructive element called dynamite. Hm…