I will never forget the day I volunteered in my daughter’s kindergarten class. It was a Friday which was Bible verse recitation day. I sat out in the hallway and one by one the kids would come out and recite the verse of the week. That particular week it was Psalm 23:6.
The kids were so cute and sweet. Some of them recited the entire Psalm, while others could barely whisper a word. Most of the kids fell somewhere in between.
Then there was Christian. Christian was quite a character. I had previous experience with this young man while grading his spelling test. He told me if I didn’t change his grade his dad would not me happy with me (with me, not him) and his dad was a lawyer so I should not make him angry. He said it so convincingly I almost changed his grade. The kid was a stitch.
He sat down and rested is elbow on the table and started tapping his lip with his finger. He said “Mmmmm…..I know this one. It’s about that lady.” I just looked at him confused thinking “this is not about a lady”. He continued looking around trying to think, “It is like an older lady name- oh what is her name.”
I looked back down at the paper where the verse was written and then it dawned on me. I started to laugh as I said “You mean surely?” “YES!” He said all excited “That’s her name. Shirley”. He went on to recite the verse Shirley your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life”.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was talking about the Lord and not an old lady by the name of Shirley. I didn’t want his dad to get mad at me again :).
Christian had a funny and harmless misinterpretation of his Bible verse. However, many adult Christians still misunderstand God’s Word. They have never been taught how to read something in context or how to rightly divide the Bible. The entire Bible is inspired by God and is important to us today as Christians. However, not every word in the Bible is spoken to us as Christians.
In it’s most simplistic explanation the Bible is speaking to three people groups. They are the Jews, the Gentiles (those that are not Jewish or Christian), and the Church. Though it is important for us to know what is said to all the groups, it is even more important that we do not take something that is spoken to one group and apply it to us. The Jews are God’s chosen people. They have a special covenant with God. The church has been adopted into God’s family but our path and future is still different from the Jews.
I do not consider myself qualified to go into much detail regarding this. I simply want you to be aware when you do read the Bible not every Word should be applied to you. The Word of God is meant to draw you closer to Him and develop a personal relationship with Him. If you walk away from your reading time feeling condemned, guilty, and unworthy, and afraid, chances are you have misinterpreted something along the way.
I encourage you to ask someone you trust, or look into a bible study to help you understand what you are reading. Once you understand the Bible you will see it as one long love letter from God to you. You will want to spend time in it as it will leave you feeling loved, forgiven, hopeful, and encouraged.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your written Word. I ask you to give me understanding and revelation when I read your Word. Help me to see your love in every story I read. Guide me to a new study or mentor that will help me grow in my understanding. Place a fresh desire and hunger for your Word in my heart. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Love, Grace, and A Shirley Blessing To You All,