47,000 ways to say, “Jesus is Lord.”

As we progress through October our Lead Pastor, Dihan Lee, will be continuing to unfold Renew's core values. This week he’ll be teaching on Diversity. Check out his blog below for a sneak peak on what’s to come this Sunday, October 19th. In preparation for this Sunday, as we focus on the core value of Diversity, I spent some time reflecting on Phil 2:11. In this verse, Paul gives us a glimpse of heaven when he writes that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and "every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m familiar with the passage, but I never really thought through the full implication of what that means.

“Tongue” here doesn’t just refer to a person’s mouth but a language or dialect. Paul is saying that at some point, a confession of Jesus will be made in every spoken language on the planet. In other words, every culture, every language, every tongue will bear forth worshippers, some more than others; but every people group will have at least somebody confessing “JESUS IS LORD” in their language.

There are around 7,000 main languages, and about 40,000 dialects. That means in heaven, there will be at least 47,000 ways to say, "Jesus is Lord.”


Why would God develop humanity along 47,000 different paths so he can hear 47,000 different ways of worshipping? My humble guess it that it's because God and His Gospel is way too big, amazing and beautiful to be fully expressed in one language. Think of how many songs have been devoted to love in human history? And we’re still finding new ways to sing about it. The subject is almost inexhaustible, right?

Well, God who is the source of all love (and that’s just one of His attributes) knew that one people group and one tongue couldn’t possibly communicate who He fully is. So He splits humanity 47,000 different ways so that we can each contribute our unique contextualized confession of  “Jesus is Lord”.  The chorus we will hear in heaven one day of at least 47,000 languages, the incredible stories of redemption we will hear coming from the culture and history of all those people groups; it will be an incredible time of worship that will help finite beings understand a little better the infinite richness of the amazing love of God.

If this diversity is part of our eternal destiny, than I want my church to start looking and sounding like this today. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Come and hear more about Renew’s heart for diversity this Sunday at 10am at the Actor’s Gang Theater.