(This is the second in a series of posts on small words in the Bible that provide valuable nonverbal clues.)
Another little word that is easy to overlook in the Bible is run. In your everyday life when you see someone running (other than an athletic event) you interpret their actions different than if they were walking or standing. If you are in the mall and everyone starts running, your reaction would be very different than if everyone sat down!
When someone runs in the Bible it signifies a higher intensity of emotions and an increased sense of urgency. Many times it shows that they have abandoned concern about concealing their feelings. There are many people in the Bible who were afraid. A few were so terrified that they ran, even if they revealed their fear to their enemy. There are many people in the Bible who were in great need. A few who were so desperate they ran to find the solution.
In these passages see if you can identify who ran, where they ran, and the emotions behind their actions:
Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. (1 Samuel 17:48–51, NASB)
When He (Jesus) got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain…Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him… (Mark 5:2–3, 6, NASB)
He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. (Luke 19:1–4, NASB)
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. (John 20:1–5, NASB)
Bonus question: It appears that John was fastest runner in the New Testament. Do you know who was the fastest runner in the Old Testament?