Words Matter

I wrote yesterday about how one word can make a difference in meaning.  Every word we use in our writing is important and every word is important in our reading.  I fear that I have allowed the internet to plant some bad habits in me.  I find that more and more I scan instead of read.  Scanning is not speed reading as I understand it.  (I’m not sure what speed reading is.)  I skim the surface of a paragraph or an article to see it catches my interest.  Skimming is not reading.  You can get a completely wrong sense of the writer’s point when you skim.  Or you might miss a valuable insight that could have an impact on your life.

There is one place where reading instead of skimming is vitally important and that’s in reading the Bible.  I’m afraid I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking my Bible to Church because, after all, they have the text right up there on the screen.  Why do I need my Bible?  Because there’s more there than the preacher’s text.  Preaching is important but that’s not all there is.  Context is important.  What was done or said before the text and what was done or said after?  You can take one verse and turn it into dogma when it was really meant as an illustration of a greater concept.  People have done that.  People have justified slavery on the basis of scripture.  How can you do that?

When something somebody says doesn’t sound right to you then it’s time to dig in.  Look at the context.  Look at a variety of translations.  Consider in the light of the whole of scripture, the entire Bible.  Consider in the light of the nature of God.

Now I’ve done it.  I think I’m about to talk myself into the reading the Bible through again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.  That would make a great blogging adventure, wouldn’t it?


About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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3 Responses to Words Matter

  1. 2b14u says:

    A pastor of mine once said.” If you don’t bring your Bible and examine what I say, how will you know if I am not using the Sears catalog as a reference?” People would laugh, but YES – take the Word with you! One word can mess up things. I noticed on my blog today that one ‘comma’ messed the meaning of two phrases that can mean something entirely different without the comma to separate them.

  2. Write now…ooops, that’s right now, “words” are very important and need to be examined carefully to understand what is being said – what is not being said – what actually is – and what is being implied/suggested. Good post

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