Below are three phrases, more or less familiar. Before you go any further, read them out loud. Really, read them out loud or you will miss much of the effectiveness of the exercise:
Did you read them out loud? Good. Now, unless you are a very unusual person (or quite suspicious) you read them all wrong. Did you notice that two of them have two “the’s” and the other has two “a’s”?
“What is the point?” you ask. Well, this little exercise illustrates the peril of preconceived ideas. You read the phrases as you did because you thought you knew what they said before you read them.
Did you ever wonder how it is that two people can read the same passage of Scripture and come up with two different meanings? This may answer one of those nagging questions that people ask. There may be many reasons for this, but one of the most common factors is that one or both individuals had his or her mind made up about what the passage said before reading it.
One of the most sobering thoughts in this regard is brought to light in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Here we read that those who choose not to be truthseekers will receive a strong delusion to believe and will be lost. In reality, we all must guard against approaching the Scriptures with preconceived ideas, looking for proof-texts rather than the heart of God.
May God help us–all of us–to be truthseekers in our reading and study of the the Scriptures. May we read with fresh eyes and open hearts. May we draw our conclusions as as to a text's meaning only after we have asked, "Is this really what God is saying? Or, is is this simply what I have always thought it was saying?"
© Bill Williams
June 15, 2006