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"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

Definitions with Meaning

My friend Kelly mentioned to me the other day, "I wonder what Noah Webster's dictionary would say if it had the word homeschool in it. It probably has an awesome definition for the word educate or education or school, and I bet it includes parents teaching their children." She's right! Read the following definitions from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:

ED'UCATE, v.t. [L. educo, educare; e and duco, to lead.] To bring up, as a child; to instruct; to inform and enlighten the understanding; to instill into the mind principles of arts, science, morals, religion and behavior. To educate children well is one of the most important duties of parents and guardians.

EDUCA'TION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

SCHOOL, n. [L. schola.]
1. A place or house in which persons are instructed in arts, science, languages or any species of learning; or the pupils assembled for instruction. In American usage, school more generally denotes the collective body of pupils in any place of instruction, and under the direction and discipline of one or more teachers. Thus we say, a school consists of fifty pupils. The preceptor has a large school, or a small school. His discipline keeps the school well regulated and quiet.

2. The instruction or exercises of a collection of pupils or students, or the collective body of pupils while engaged in their studies. Thus we say, the school begins or opens at eight o'clock, that is, the pupils at that hour begin their studies. so we say, the teacher is now in school, the school hours are from nine to twelve, and from two to five.

3. The state of instruction. Set him betimes to school.

4. A place of education, or collection of pupils, of any kind; as the schools of the prophets. In modern usage, the word school comprehends every place of education, as university, college, academy, common or primary schools, dancing schools, riding schools, &c.; but ordinarily the word is applied to seminaries inferior to universities and colleges.

What is the great community of Christians, but one of the innumerable schools in the vast plan, which God has instituted for the education of various intelligences?

SCHOOL, v.t.
1. To instruct; to train; to educate.
He's gentle, never school'd, yet learn'd.

2. To teach with superiority; to tutor; to chide and admonish; to reprove.
School your child, and ask why God's anointed he revil'd.

Think about it... a dictionary is a tool that shapes one's reasoning and knowledge as new words are learned. The worldview of a dictionary's authors are reflected in their definitions. Does your dictionary reinforce and verify Biblical truths for your family, or does it introduce conflicting values?

Webster's 1821 American Dictionary of the English Language contains the worldview and vocabulary of the founding generation. This generation practiced Biblical reasoning, and they prized Christian character and virtue above all else.

Noah Webster was a Christian whose Biblical knowledge and research is clearly seen in his definitions. He is quoted as saying "Education is useless without the Bible" and is considered to be the "Father of American Christian Education."

Noah Webster laid the foundation for the American usage of English words. He established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. He researched every word in their original languages to provide the root meanings. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage.

Furthermore, Noah Webster defined each word according to its meanings and usage in the Bible. Webster's 1828 Dictionary contains the greatest number of Biblical definitions given in any reference volume. When words are defined in light of how they are used in the Bible, the Biblical principles of the subject are emphasized. Thus, a Biblical foundation of logical thinking and just reasoning is established.

Compare Webster’s definition of "Marriage" from his original 1828 dictionary to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition:

"Marriage" (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary)-
1. The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

"Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled." Heb 13.

2. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage. "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son." Mat 22.

3. In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his church by the covenant of grace. Rev 19.

"Marriage" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition)-
1 a: The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. The state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b: the mutual relation of married persons: wedlock c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage 2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected ; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities 3: an intimate or close union

As you can see, modern dictionaries tend to reflect current cultural corruptions, political correctness, and erosion of vocabulary. Newer dictionaries are necessary, of course, for looking up definitions of things that were not around during Noah Webster's time. But for such important words as education, marriage, sin, law, government, etc. turn to Webster's 1828 Dictionary first.

* * * - Look up a word in Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary online for free. - Purchase a searchable copy of Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and additional resources on CD.

Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 Facsimile Edition) - Purchase at Amazon.

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