Precious values

The cumbersome phrase ‘appreciation of an appraisal of the price of prized and precious praise’ contains four nouns and two adjectives belonging to the same family group. They, in fact, all derive from a related group of Latin words: pretium (noun = price), pretiosius (adjective = precious), and pretiare (verb = value highly).

Valued

[] Praise, for instance, can be used as a noun for ‘warm approval and admiration’, or as a verb, ‘to applaud or worship’. We praise whatever/whoever we value, and invite others to appreciate them and praise them too. And, as John Piper wrote: ‘We honour [because we value] whatever we respond to gladly and gratefully.’

[] The price of a commodity indicates ‘how much it costs, what it’s worth.’

[] If ‘costly, much loved or rare’, a treasured article merits the adjective ‘precious’.

[] When something ‘goes up in value’, we say it has appreciated.

[] Depreciation devalues an object, and also occurs when it is ‘neglected or belittled’.

[] An appraisal occurs when ‘experts judge the official value of one’s work’.

[] And a prize is an award given to the winner in a competitive event. One such event is the Grand Prix, French for ‘the Big Prize’ in international car races.

Three precious matters we must value highly

  1. Acquired for us in the past – our costly redemption

In biblical Greek too the words precious (time) and price (timios) are also linked. In fact, the related verb tio means ‘to pay a price (usually a penalty)’. Interestingly, the name Timothy (timotheos) literally translates as ‘dear to God’. The noun timios (price) refers to the financial value of land in Acts 4:34; 5:2-3; 7:16) and of the collection of books on magic publicly burnt in Acts 19:19. (Matthew 27:6, 9) used it about Judas’s fee for betraying Jesus, ‘the thirty pieces of silver’, quoting Zechariah 11:13 about ‘the wages’ with which ‘some of the sons of Israel’ mockingly undervalued their Shepherd’s three years of public ministry. However, Paul and Peter recorded how this criminal act also secured our redemption: we ‘were bought with a price’ (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23 that none of us could ever have paid, see Psalm 49:5-9), ‘with the precious blood of Christ’ like an unblemished lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19). 

  1. Available to us in the present – God’s precious promises

God ‘has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature’. So, ‘make every effort to supplement your [basic saving] faith with virtue, … self-control, … steadfastness, … godliness,…  and …love. … For if [you practise] these qualities … there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord … Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 1:4-11). And we can exclaim, ‘How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand [and I dose off counting the grains!]. I awake, and I am still with you’ (Psalm 139:17-18). 

  1. An aim for us in the future – prized achievements

…if…various trials… tested [the] genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold … tested by fire – [they] may … result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 1:6-7). And ‘if anyone builds on the foundation … which is Christ Jesus… with gold, silver, precious stones … it will be revealed by fire [that] will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work …survives, he will receive a reward’ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

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