From the December, 2006 issue of Touchstone
Signs of Love by Patrick Henry Reardon

Signs of Love

Among the many parts of Holy Scripture that merit closer regard respecting grammar, I would include St. John’s simple admonition, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

In John’s combination “word and tongue,” we readily recognize what grammarians call a hendiadys, which means that John conveys a single idea by a double expression. That is to say, in John’s “in word or in tongue,” there is no real difference between “word” and “tongue”; both are metaphors for speech. John means simply, “Let not our love be just a lot of talk.”

Now respecting “word and tongue,&# . . .

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