71. Not all persons and things designated in Holy Scripture by the same word are necessarily to be understood in exactly the same way. On the contrary, if we are to infer the meaning of the written text correctly, each thing mentioned must clearly be understood according to the significance that underlies its verbal form.
I think this is a mistake many people make. In fact, I’ve participated in bible studies that seemed to operate under the premise that we could understand the text by nailing down the definitions and meanings of the words. Language doesn’t work like that and no text as rich and complex as our Holy Scriptures can be reduced in such a manner. But as St. Maximos’ text illustrates, it’s not a new problem. It’s a natural human tendency.