Whether it’s an email, text message or Twitter comment, people can interpret something written in many different ways.
2 Corinthians 11.16-33
Reference: v.17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. (NIV Bible)
Explore: “Shut up.” If you were to say this statement to someone they could take it a number of ways. Literally it means that you would like someone to stop talking. If you were to say it in reference to a shop it would mean that you were about to close it for a time and lock the doors. But in our English/American slang it also means that you are surprised at what someone else is saying. As our communication skills are getting more advanced, I think that misinterpretation is also getting greater. Whether it’s an email, text message or Twitter comment, people can interpret something written in many different ways. I can remember when a friend of mine was just learning to you text messaging on her phone. She didn’t know how to change from CAPITALS to lowercase and so all her messages would be in CAPITALS. Every time I received a message from her I felt like she was screaming at me. HI LINDA, HOW R U? I LUV MY NEW MOB, ITS GR8. HP THIS MSG GETS THRU 2 U. I think she always wanted to put a ‘☺’ at the end but had no idea how! Because I knew my friend was technologically illiterate I tried reading it normally. But if someone I did not know sent me this I would have wondered if they thought I was hard of hearing!
Application: In some of Paul’s writing I often wonder how tongue-in-cheek he is writing. If you were to read verse 22 alone, it would not make sense. But if you read the rest of the passage around it you can see that Paul is saying he is going to the extreme in what he is writing, to mirror the foolish sayings of others at the time. Many words from the Bible are taken out of context and used, not for God’s glory, but for personal advantage. We must be discerning about what is being said. If we have greater understanding of the overall picture, it can help to determine the true message.
[Just a note: I realise that the majority of my readers are American. As a humble Australian I try not to use too much Aussie slang and I hope that my words are not misunderstood.]
Prayer: Lord, there are many things in this world that we do not understand. There are even more things about you that remain a mystery. Open our eyes to that which is important for us to be a part of. Amen.
How important is it for us to understand every single little detail? Is the gist of a message clear enough?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.