Break Is a Hard Word to Decode

Five-Minute Friday – What does “break” mean?

This is another interesting word. You cannot tell what it means until you see it in context. It can mean serious emotional pain, as in “I am brokenhearted.” Sometimes it means to destroy, as in when you break the glass on a car in an attempt to steal the car. It can mean to have a shared relationship at a meal in the breaking of bread. Break sometimes means to bring something to an end, like breaking a tie in a vote that is gridlocked. It can mean you can decode something obscured, as in breaking your enemy’s code. You can break out in chicken pox or break out of prison. Solomon talks about breaking and his focus is in communication.

Solomon’s Wisdom and Communication

There are four times in the Old Testament book of Proverbs where the word “break” appears in the English Standard Version. In three of the four, the emphasis is on the harm done by communication or lack thereof. You can break someone’s spirit with your words. You can create strife by breaking into a quarrel. You can isolate yourself and that breaks sound judgment.

However, sometimes the way the tongue is used can be very effective when it is soft and patient. It can “break a bone” or cause a radical change in the thinking of someone you are to obey.

The four verses from Proverbs

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” 15:4

“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” 17:14

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” 18:1

“With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.” 25:15

How to Identify a Follower of Jesus

They also break. The break out in joyful song. One example is: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” Psalm 98:4

How is this possible? Because “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 That is what he came to do and something we remember on Resurrection Sunday.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five-Minute Friday link-up.

All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.