As I sat in the break room one day at work; my eyes noticed a shiny new poster on the wall over the lunch table. The picture on the poster depicted two women facing each other, obviously arguing. Beneath the photo of the arguing girls was a printed dialogue. “Trouble in your work place? Feel like nobody listens to you? Perhaps medication is the answer.”
I marveled at how progressive our company was, and wondered what kind of medication they had in mind that would stop the fussing between employees. I’d only been employed here for a few months but that was long enough for me to observe that there were some employees who were always fussing about something. Not unusual in large companies, but I’d never heard of a company that was so intent on resolving this issue.
About that time, the store manager walked in and I asked her what kind of medications the store offered as intervention in a dispute. She looked at me, her expression totally blank. Turning, I pointed to the printed dialogue on the poster and read it to her. She laughed till she had to sit down! After she had recovered herself, she showed me the word was not ‘medication,’ it was ‘mediation!’ BIG difference.
It’s easy to laugh, but it can be easy to do the same thing to God’s Word. Many strange doctrines can and have come about because somebody failed to go back and read a scripture with understanding and common sense. When we study God’s Word, we should study it prayerfully; asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and our hearts to receive knowledge.
Use a concordance to cross reference words that are unfamiliar so they can be read in other contexts. This will give you insight to whether the word means something else as well as the meaning you know. Sometimes specific phrases are situational, having a different meaning from one text to the next.
The simple phrase, “Take your shoes off,” can be an important instruction, friendly advice, a sharp reprimand, a humorous cliché, or a serious warning; depending on the situation at the time. Know the circumstances in which something was said before you attach meaning. Make sure you read the chapter before and after the verse so you’ll understand what was going on when the verse was originally penned.
Read God’s Word. Read it for knowledge, read it for direction, read it often and always with prayer that the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s intent to you. But above all else, read it with your thinking cap on, applying common sense.
(II Timothy 2:15) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your Word to guide my every day actions and attitudes. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that reveals your mind and intent to me. Help me to read your Word with understanding so I can apply it correctly to every situation. Amen.