One of the biggest mistakes you can make in reading, learning,
researching and using Scripture is to take a verse out of context, especially if
you're using it to prove a point or win an argument/discussion about faith.
To know that you truly understand a Biblical verse, you must
have 20/20 vision. That means read the last 20 verses that appear before the
verse and the next 20 after the verse. I guarantee that within that group of
verses you should get a better idea of what the verse actually means and to what
You see, what you read in a lone verse may "seem" as if it has a
particular meaning; however, it could be referring to a specific situation, for
a specific people, and within for a specific timeframe. A lot of St. Paul's
writings were like this, since most are letters to the Churches he founded. Now,
that doesn't mean the verse doesn't apply to us today, but it does mean that you
have to understand more about the meaning of the writing to truly understand the
Practice 20/20 vision, and you can't go wrong!
The One Exception
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The one exception to 20/20 vision
practice is what I call the "Shotgun Bible Verse". Though I know of several
Catholics who use this, including a priest, it's really a Protestant thing. If
you are in need of guidance, sit down with your Bible and pray for assistance
from the Lord. Ask that the Holy Spirit guide your hands and finger pray
sincerely. Then, ask the question to what you most need an answer. Next, take
your closed Bible in both your hands, close your eyes, allow your hands to feel
the Bible pages, and open it at random (leaving your eyes closed). (This works
best at a table or desk.) Finally, still with your eyes closed, run your finger
down one of the pages, stopping when it "feels" right. Open your eyes and read
the verse. Then, ask for clarification (if you need it), and repeat the process.
Then, do it one last time for confirmation to ensure accuracy. If you are
getting something foreign to the question and/or inappropriate, then you cannot
act on the information.
I have used this for a lot of important decisions in my life.
It really works!
by Patricia Hawke
Copyright 2008, Patricia Hawke
Any information you provide, whether signing up for email updates
or other, will be kept confidential. I never allow anyone to see my
unless legally compelled to do so.