I knew it was coming…
It was that time in the school year. Time to teach conjunctions to my students (for those who aren’t quite sure–a conjunction puts two parts of a sentence together). I wrote this on the board:
FANBOYS is an acronym used to teach conjunctions. Each letter stands for a conjunction. I started writing words in to accompany each letter: F-For, A-And, N-Nor. And then, I had to write the word. I prepped my brain and my response as I wrote: B-But.
Now to elementary students, the word “but” is just funny. It brings about snickers pretty much every time it is used in this kind of context.
This time was no exception.
I turned to my class after I wrote “but” and said, “OK, let’s all giggle because of this word. It isn’t spelled like what you are sitting on, but (smile, smile) I understand that it’s a funny word. Let’s get those laughs out so we can move on.”
After a few more chuckles and some sideways glances as they snickered, we finally went through the rest of the list (in case you are curious: O-Or, Y-Yet, S-So.) We discussed how each word could be used to join two parts of a sentence.
Since my sweethearts so loved the word, I decided to spend a bit more time on “but” (did you grin?). We talked about when we see “but” in a sentence, it means that whatever comes after it will be a contrasting idea: for example–The little boy wanted ice cream, but he was just too sleepy to eat it. I then let them come up with “but” sentences to share with a partner, and on we went with the rest of the day…
(And so concludes your grammar lesson for today!!)
It’s funny how things like that stick in my head. Recently I have been quite attuned to the “but’s” in the Bible. I have even found myself grinning like a child when I read the word at times. But (hehe), when that word is found in the Bible, what follows could be a good thing or a not-so-good thing.
Take a look at these examples:
Genesis 50:20–“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Numbers 22:12– “But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”
Deuteronomy 18:14–“The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.”
Judges 6:10–“I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
1 Samuel 23:14–“David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.”
Psalm 20:7–“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Mark 10:27–“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Luke 18:16–“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Acts 12:5–“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
Romans 5:8–“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I’ll just insert a, “Thank you, Jesus!!” right here!!
I could go on and on. When I did a search on Biblegateway.com, I came up with six-hundred, twelve references for “but God” alone! Please feel free to look up these verses in context to dive deeper into their meanings.
Our Lord used conjunctions in His divine inspiration of the Word. We should pay attention to what’s before and behind them, specifically the “B” in our FANBOYS.
So what should we do with all the times we find the word “but” when we are reading our Bible? Some scholars suggest boxing it in, so your eyes will pay more attention to it. That’s great, but unless you are attuned with really studying why that word is there, you may lose some of its rich and important meaning.
In our word today, a lot of people read the Bible on an app–think about highlighting “but”, and also highlighting the contrasting ideas. You will be amazed I hope, as I have been, to see just how much God draws our attention to an action and then contrasts it with another. “But” is a tiny word, but (haha) its meaning is huge–we see it especially as we search the Scriptures for answers on how to live our lives as modern Christians.
So today, as you read your Bible (and I hope you have a plan to do that–if not, biblegateway.com has reading plans available), keep your eyes open for our tiny, yet powerful word of the day. You may want to hurry through your reading, but… if you’ll slow down just a bit and remember what we’ve discussed today, you may find the Scriptures much more meaningful.
Be a Scripture Searcher–and discover the many, many ways God has used a three-letter word to convey some of His most dramatic truths.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorites:
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