LOGOS, ETHOS & PATHOS
When it comes to sharing one's faith nothing facilitates the spread of the gospel better than "the holy trinity" of logos, ethos and pathos. Logos is the Greek word for “word”. There are many words that accompany a wide-range of in-depth studies: anthropology, biology, cosmology, demonology, eschatology, etc. Some fields of study necessitate inter-disiciplinary sharing. In the field of medicine there is frequent interplay. For example, a specialist in urology, may turn to colleagues (hematologists, radiologists) to seek clarification regarding troubling pathology or toxicology. It is im-possible to not notice that words abound! As Solomon once noted, the writing of many books is endless… (Eccl.12:12).
While logos is not a word restricted to Biblical words, as holy and sacred writings they are in a class all their own. The Scriptures are God’s words which need to be not just read and heard but also heeded (Rev.1:3). In the beginning, when God spoke, the world conformed to His will (Gen.1:3ff). Oh that we might return to that land before time, to once again be an obedient creation. To further magnify His Logos, John’s gospel states that Jesus came to earth as THE WORD enfleshed…full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14). Not only was Jesus THE WORD INCARNATE, but in a broader sense all of The Word finds its ultimate and deepest meaning in Christ (Lk.24:27 & 44-45). This is known as the Christology of Scripture.
How wonderful it would be if the mere speaking of Word would bring about an immediate and full compliance. Sadly, we humans need a little more convincing. Logos is best received when it is adorned with Ethos and Pathos. Ethos is that behavioral disposition (think, “ethics") that allows others to actually see Christ living in us. In a nutshell, it is “Christ in us”. We Christians are to be “living letters” - - a letter of Christ...written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of humans hearts (2Cor.3:3). How hard it will be to preach Jesus to others when we ourselves have not been transformed into the image of God’s dear Son (Rom.12:2; 8:29 and 2Cor.3:18).
Thirdly is the concept of pathos, which also plays a vital role in the persuasion process. Pathos is that which animates discipleship. It takes a life that is listless and sterile and brings about a notable change that can be clearly witnessed by the enervation of emotion and feeling. Pathos re-creates men and women, causing us to be “moved by the Holy Spirit" (2Pet.1:21). As was the case with the apostle Paul, when we come to truly know the fear of the Lord, we will engage in persuading others (2Cor.5:11). It is this dynamic troika of logos, ethos and pathos that paves the way for the proclamation of the glorious gospel of Christ Jesus. Let us be filled with The Word, so much so that our traits will become more and more Christ-like and our gait will be energized so as to become beautiful feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things (Rom.10:15).
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ