In the jargon of computer language and word processing “word wrap” refers to a line of some pre–determined length which the machine will automatically be follow. We don’t have to worry about a “carriage return” as on a typewriter because the computer mechanically goes on to the next line. Of course if the switch for “word wrap” is off, the line just goes on and on. This is an interesting and useful feature but it is sometimes quite frightening for the keyboarder who is using the computer for the first time.

The meanings of words are something like word wrap. If we don’t set some limit to them they just go on and on, sprouting associated meanings and finding relatives that they know. Words, so to speak, have meanings that become “wrapped” around them and as they are wrapped new words share part of the original wrappings as well. Think of word relationship like the links in a chain where, instead of a series of links in one direction, we can take any one link and extend it in any direction.

As an example, let us look at the word power. This word has a number of close relatives, linked to it with many associated meanings, such as authority, strength, or might.

In a legal sense someone may ask by what power or authority they are asked to pay taxes. It turns out that the citizens of the country, state, township, county, or whatever area, are the ones who have voted to pay the taxes. They are the “authority”.

But what if the people in “power” have no authority to raise taxes? Their “strength” is then limited because such an action is not part of their mandate or right.

Sometimes groups of individuals gain their power by force or might. Drug cartels fight with each other for the capacity to rule or subjugate a particular area or group of people. Their strength and authority is by means of their physical coercion or force.

In the Bible we are told that God has ultimate power over the forces of evil. Some Christians believe this means that they have authority over demons and evil forces. They believe that the power of God has been transferred to them, perhaps because Jesus told his followers, his disciples that they would do greater works than He had.

In Papua New Guinea there are many people and objects associated with pawa (power), including politicians, sorcerers and Christian workers. We would want to know the context of how the word is used to determine what else is wrapped around it.

If the electricity goes off, the “power has died” so in this case metaphorically the electrical power has life and it has death. In Ecclesiastes we note other metaphorical instances about death and power, such as the silver chain will snap, the golden lamp will fall and break, the rope at the well will brake and the water jar will be shattered. The inherent power of the object, its strength or might, has gone and it is now useless.

Words can become useless as well – they become worn out and are replaced by others. In normal speech most English speakers do not use the word ye, which has been replaced by you. The newer word causes some ambiguity – we don’t know if it is singular or plural without noting the context – but the strength of ye is gone. Nevertheless, some people who pray using it would insist that it still has its power.

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