The Non-verbal

The Power of the Non-verbal

Warren E. Berkley


Studying the book of Ezekiel and teaching a survey class through the book a few years ago, many “secondary lessons” came to my attention. One is the power of the nonverbal.


In addition to visions, allegories, indictments and judgment passages, one method of communication was symbolic actions or enactments. Ezekiel was told to go through certain actions; to act out or dramatize various things in front of the people. These actions, though often accompanied by words, become examples of how powerful the nonverbal is. {See examples in Ezek. 3:22-27; 4:1-3; 4:9-17; 24:15-24].


While nobody today lives in the time of the Jewish exile and nobody today is called to do what the prophet did, there is a “secondary lesson” concerning the power of the nonverbal.


While Christians are charged to speak the truth, we are likewise charged to live out that truth in all our behavior. We communicate not only through words but deeds. People see how we live, in addition to hearing what we say.


Therefore, all our self-examination should take into sober account not only what we speak but what we do. One must accompany the other and both must be in submission to God’s authority. In fact, this is so important – it becomes critical for us to realize that what we say may have little impact, if what we do contradicts it! Some people who have very little Bible knowledge, nevertheless can spot a hypocrite at some distance.


Or as James once said, “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty,” (Jas. 2:12).

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