Heart Language

by Patty Schell

This weekend more than ever I wish I had the language skills to understand Spanish. We were working in a community in Mexico, and many times throughout the day I was asked questions that I could not answer. And even when I kind of got what they were saying to me, I lacked the vocabulary to respond in their language. We made it through though. They, with their patience, and me, with pantomime and baby-talk. This was not the best-case scenario for building a relationship.

My own relationship with the Bible has had the same moments. The words, even though written in my language, were foreign to my ear. I read and listened, but much of it did not make sense. But over time, I began to catch on to some words and phrases along with the ideas behind them. This didn’t happen overnight. Much like language learning, I had to spend time reading and listening to grasp hold to their meaning.

I have a friend who moved to Germany to become part of the community there and share the story of Jesus with her neighbors. The first thing she had to do was learn the language. She had to immerse herself in the culture and listen to get the grasp of what her neighbors were saying. Little-by-little she became fluent. When I saw her recently, I could tell that English had actually become her secondary language. She now thinks in German, and when speaking to me she had to translate her thoughts back into English. Occasionally, she even started her sentence in German, and then realized it was English I needed. It was quite comical to see her face when she realized her mistake. But what can you expect after being living the language for ten years?

My point, I guess, is even the words of the Bible are a different language to worldly ears. They sound foreign and the ideas seem strange at first, but the more time spent “hearing” them through study, the more we understand. The more we understand, the more they become part of us until we begin to talk and think with them. When God whispers them back to us throughout the day, we don’t have to guess what He is talking about because it has become the language we think in, as well.

Some people call the language they first learned their “heart” language. In the case of my friend in Germany, her “heart” language has changed. She now understands, speaks, and thinks in German. Even though I would love to speak Spanish fluently, I hope my “heart” language will be the one found in the words of the Bible. Those are the words God inspired that will give me everything I need to live this life the way He would like me to. It will take time and diligence, but in the end, it will be worth it.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good.
Luke 6:45 NASB


© Copyright 2018 by Patty Schell


Patty Schell is a woman who has quite a hat collection. Her jobs include keeper of the home, creator of beautiful things, and cooker of much yumminess. But, the role she enjoys the most is student of the Bible.  Patty currently serves at her local church as an encourager of women, challenging them to embrace this journey called Life and live it God’s way.

She is a contributor to online magazines Refresh, Life Letter Café, Be New Today, and ALTARWORK. She is also currently working on a Bible study called Legacy: Living NOW for Future Generations.  On weekends, Patty and her husband become builders of loft houses for the needy in Mexico. And not to be forgotten, she’s a mother to three and grandmother to ten. Yes, Patty does wear a lot of hats, but wouldn’t have it any other way. Following God takes you on the best adventures. You can read more from her on her blog: Girl on Adventure at girlonadventure.com.


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missions, Bible study, Heart Language, Patty Schell, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (5)

  • anon

    Patty, as an ESL teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. How inspiring is your challenge to make the Word of God our heart language by spending more time reading it! 

    Feb 08, 2018
  • anon

    I love your illustration of growing in our understanding of the Bible like learning a language. Indeed, the Bible is my heart language too. I hope to be fluent in it someday! In the meantime, I'll keep learning as I spend time with the Father in His holy Word. 
    Blessings, dear friend!

    Feb 08, 2018
  • anon

    I enjoyed your analogy of language, Patty, and loved your post. I've visited Germany several times with students and worked hard to learn some of the language. But, in recent years, I haven't practiced and I've lost what I learned. I think it's that way with our "heart" language with God, too. If we don't practice (pray, meditate on His word, Bible study, etc.) we won't develop that relationship with our Lord. Thanks for the blessing!

    Feb 08, 2018
  • anon

    I resonate with this so much as I learned French to a fairly fluent level at one point, I teach English as a Second Language, and I’m now trying to learn Spanish. This makes so much sense when you compare it to speaking the language of the Bible. I do want it to be my heart language, and it becomes more like that the more I spend time in the Word.
    Heather Bock

    Feb 08, 2018
  • anon

    I'm with Beckie--this is a great illustration. I, too, want the Word of God to be my heart language.

    Feb 08, 2018

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