When we see the word “conversation”, we automatically know what it means, right? Speech, talking to each other, verbal exchange of thoughts and ideas.
But the twenty times the King James Version Bible uses this word, it encompasses a whole lot more than mere speech.
Welcome to my KJV Bible Word Study Series!
In this series, I will take words that we may be unfamiliar with outside the Bible setting or that may be confusing to our modern-day English sensibilities, and expound upon their original meaning within the context of the verse.
By using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, it is my hope to bring clarity to and broaden our understanding of many beloved (and obscure) KJV Bible passages.
Conversation—#H1870: ” a road (as trodden), a course of life or mode of action:—along, away, custom, journey, manner, through, toward, way, highway, pathway, withersoever.”
#G390: “to busy oneself; to remain, live–abide, behave self, overthrow, pass, return, be used, to overturn, to return.” Taken from #G4762: “turn quite around, reverse, convert, turn (back again).”
#G4176: “to behave as a citizen, let conversation be, live.”
#G4175: “a community, citizenship.”
#G5158: “a turn, a mode of life, deportment [the manner of CONDUCTING or bearing oneself, demeanor], character, like manner, means or way.”
[Underlining and words in bold are added for emphasis in Bible verses throughout this study.]
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23
Psalm 50:23 and Psalm 37:14 are the only times in the Old Testament that conversation (#H1870) is used.
Imagine traversing a long road and every day is another step forward in your journey of life. This is what conversation means here.
There are side trails and lookout points, and even places to stop and rest, but you get to choose what manner or custom or way you want to go through this course.
There are consequences for the steps you take; not all paths are right and true. Herein lies our choice. We must “order our conversation aright”, meaning we must choose rightly the correct path and walk in it. Not allowing our fear or laziness or inner defiance to cause us to deviate from it.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Ephesians 2:2-3
Here, as well as 2 Corinthians 1:12, Galatians 1:13, and Ephesians 4:22, Paul praises God in his letters to the churches that brethren no longer continue to live in the old way.
Remember when our whole life was consumed with selfish pursuits? When we busied ourselves with what pleased us. This was our “conversation in times past”.
But thanks be to God, who is rich in mercy; He has turned us around from this destructive path. Because we reversed our course, and overturned the reign of self by the power of His Spirit, we are no longer called the children of His wrath.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Here, Paul is speaking to Timothy about how he is to conduct himself as a minister of God. Be an example “…in word, in conversation…” (#G390)
This is our responsibility as well. To be an example to our fellow believers in what we say and what we do, in how we speak and how we live.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Hebrews 13:7
The above verse ties into 1 Timothy 4:12, as those faithful ministers and pastors who oversee the flock of God, who use their life for the benefit of others. It can also be understood as faithful husbands guiding their families, and the many sacrifices they make.
“The end of their conversation” (#G390)—the result of the way they live, the fruit of abiding in Christ.
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. 1 Peter 1:15
There are nine verses where the use of conversation (#G391) strictly means behavior, and all but one are located in 1 and 2 Peter.
Unbelieving husbands can see the behavior of their wives, living clean, pure lives in Christ, and be swayed to consider the truth of God’s word.
Unbelievers (Gentiles) may speak against us maliciously, but cannot deny our good works which they witness in us through our behavior, and shall glorify God upon His return.
And speaking of Christ’s return, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,.. 2 Peter 3:10-11
How we conduct our behavior now is of utmost importance. The world is watching, our spouses are watching, our children are watching and learning. And all that we see now in this world will be gone. The only thing left, the only thing to show for our time here, will be our Christian character.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Philippians 3:20
I used to struggle with this verse until I began regularly doing word studies. Researching the word conversation in this context revealed so much about our life, our future, and God’s love for us.
Conversation (#G4175) translates as “citizenship”! Our citizenship or community is at the throne of God! He has made us a part of His family. And when Christ returns, He is bringing us our citizenship papers, and we will be ushered into His glorious kingdom in the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:10)
I find it hard to fathom the great love the Father has towards us! How about you?
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
This is one of my favorite verses. Yet, one I’ve wrestled with all my life.
Let your conversation (#G5158)—the way you live, your demeanor, your manner of conducting and bearing yourself—be without a constant desire for more, More, MORE.
The world says we need to be:
Prettier, thinner, more talented.
The world says we need more: stuff in our home, money in the bank, clothes in our closet.
But God knows our TRUE needs. And He will never leave our side. He has said it, and cannot lie. Trust in this promise, my dear sisters.
Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ:..that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27
Behave as a citizen of the gospel, live as a representative of the gospel of Christ. This is what is meant by conversation (#G4176) in this last verse. As ambassadors of Christ, we show, by our words and deeds, the hope and love that dwells in Him.
I love a good word study, don’t you? I hope you’ve gleaned, along with me, some additional insight into the rich words used in the KJV Bible.
Join me next time as I showcase another word we can learn the in-depth meaning behind together.
(If you missed the last post in this series, you can read it here.)
Abiding in the Vine,
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The post “Conversation: KJV Bible Word Study Series” was first published on Desert Rain.