What do you call the progression of words?
I know there is a name for this. It is not necessarily something revolved around tenses, but the idea is the progression of words from one level to the next. Maybe “past, present, future” describes this, but there is definitely a name for this progression.
I tried to remember a particular quote yesterday but my mental file drawer would not open.
So, I found it this morning:
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” ~Tim Duncan
But stop and think a moment about each of these words. It’s not that you are limited in the progression from left to right, rather each word diverges into different direction. Based on the purpose and usage. And each word has an antonym, or opposite meaning, as well as synonyms, or similar meanings.
Basically, these dissimilar words connect a thought of relational progression. Digression reverses the flow. Regardless, I wonder what would be the words that connect to Good and Best?
Depending on your need for the word, there are numerous ways to choose progressions, opposites, or similar meanings.
I thought about this progression in light of friendship. I have good, better, and best friends. Some have been good, but are in the process of becoming better. Some have been best, but they’ve slipped down a notch, or two. Some are in regular contact, but that does not make them less than best.
Each one is unique! Some only show up, it seems, when I most need someone in my life.
I thought about life and how much better it has become. I thought about my paychecks and how much smaller they have become – can this be notched down from best to good?
I considered my marriage and though we are aging through life, it just keeps getting better. Can I find better words than “best”?
Though church keeps notching upwards, there are still plenty of steps higher than where we are today.
And thought retirement keeps creeping closer, I am hard pressed to think whether it will be Good, or the Best! More than likely it will be better than I can imagine, but there are still concerns looming.
When it comes to what we wish for, the Apostle Paul tells us to:
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
(1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV)
Covet = desire. Best = nothing higher. Still, he points to an even more excellent way. Once you reach the “best” there is, Paul seems to promote the concept of something even more excellent.
What could that be? Perhaps we find it in his very next word? Chapter 13? What is this? It’s traditionally called the Love Chapter. He ends it with these words.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:11-13 KJV)
Charity used here is the Greek word Agape. A word that speaks to a Godly love as described by the Apostle John.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11 ESV)
Perhaps this is the totally “best” way to look at progression. None of it matters without the “Love” and this is the foundation for everything. Nothing gets Good, Better or Best unless we have Love.
Let’s make sure we have a good foundation of Love!