When I was a child, my sisters and I did a lot of playing outside; running around in our thongs on a warm summer day. If it was too hot outside, we would go indoors and plop in front of the television, which often had snow on it regardless of how much we played with the rabbit ears. Inevitably we recited the familiar childhood chant, “There’s nothing to do!” only to be told that we sounded like a broken record.
Now, if you are a member of my generation and grew up in the same region of the United States that I did, then I would assume you have a pretty accurate picture of my summer activities. On the other hand, if you are from a subsequent generation or a different location my memories may not make any sense to you whatsoever.
I don’t want to leave you puzzled, not to mention scarred for life, so let me clarify. Thongs were a type of sandal worn on our feet. Not underwear; flip-flops! We did not have a bunny or a pile of winter snow on top of our television set. Snow referred to the static on the screen when the picture didn’t come in clearly or when programming stopped for the night. (Yes, there really was an end to programming every night.) The V-shaped antennas we adjusted to get a better picture were commonly known as rabbit ears. And a broken record was one with a scratch in it. Once the needle hit the scratch, you would hear those words over and over again. You would hear those words over and over again. Over and over again. Over and over again.
If we have this much confusion between a generation or two, imagine how much misunderstanding we may have with a culture that existed in another part of the world over two thousand years ago! Sometimes we read things in the Bible that do not make any sense to us, and other times we may think we understand something when in fact we are way off track. What I did in the previous paragraph was put my childhood in context by explaining the difference between the language of my childhood and language of the present.
Now, I have good, bad and great news. The good news: putting the Bible into context is simpler than you may think. It is all about knowing what to look for. The bad news: it is time consuming. The great news: God blesses all the time we spend in His Word! While all Bible reading is good, I believe God would rather have us read it for quality than read it for quantity!
At “The Well 2021,” I will be teaching two workshops: one on the book of Jonah, the other on the book of Jude. It is my goal to reveal some things about these familiar accounts that you may have never heard before, and at the same time introduce you to the tools I use so that when studying any part of Scripture, you will know exactly what to look for. No matter how many times we read Scripture, there’s always more to discover! See you at The Well!
Written by Lisa Lewis Koster