Sunday, November 12, 2006


Let's have a math lesson. Who knows what an integer is? I'll admit that number sets was a weakness when I took math in school. However, this is interesting, so play along. Do you know? Let me tell you in case. An integer is, officially, a whole number or a whole negative number or zero. So -3, 0, and 118 are all integers. 6.5 is NOT an integer.

Moving on from mathematics, do you know what integral means? You've probably heard it used: "She was an integral part of the team," meaning one player was indispensable. The team would not have been complete or functional without her.

So what is the definition of integrity? Perhaps you noticed these are all from the same root. Integrity means wholeness, without a chink, not fractured, complete and in working order.

Used as in "a life of integrity," the word means a life consistent with beliefs and morals - at all times. I once heard that integrity doesn't come by degrees. You can't have half integrity, or 99% integrity. By definition a life of integrity is all or nothing.

Personal and doctrinal integrity are essential attributes of church leaders. The church is to be the "pillar and ground of the truth," and elders are required to be able to "[hold] fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." The phrase "sound doctrine," used in four verses of the pastoral epistles, is similar in meaning to integrity, meaning wholeness (especially in regards to health) coupled with fundamental and comprehensive truth.

Just because I like etymology, I'm going to close with the etymology of integrity:
c.1450, "wholeness, perfect condition," from O.Fr. integrité, from L. integritatem (nom. integritas) "soundness, wholeness," from integer "whole" (see integer). Sense of "uncorrupted virtue" is from 1548.

and integer:
1508, "whole, entire" (adj.), from L. integer "whole," lit. "intact, untouched," from in- "not" + root of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Noun meaning "a whole number" (opposed to fraction) first recorded 1571.

To God be all glory.


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Ooh, math is so hard for me...but I never knew that about integrity (although I soon guessed where you were going). Thanks!

P.S. What dictionaries did you use for your etymological quotes?

Lisa of Longbourn said...

There is a link on the etymological quotes in the post. But it takes you to

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Ah, thank you!