To Better Understand

January 28, 1999
by Mary Daniel

Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (NIV) – Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Which version do you prefer?

Recently I received an e-mail which begged the age-old question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" complete with thirty-nine different explanations. There were answers from someone's perception of how Plato would have responded and ranged from Moses to Mark Twain, Dali to Dickinson, Marx to Machiavelli, Seinfeld to Colonel Saunders.

Of course this was sent in jest, but it illustrates how each one of us has our own perception of and ways to process answers to one question. There were thirty-nine answers to that question, thirty-nine ways in which each of those people might perceive the question and answer in the way they understood it.

However, not everyone could, or I dare say, does accept every single explanation. A few were very long and arduous answers, probably too long for some of us. Some were very technical, not readily accepted or understood by an "untechnical" thinker. Some were short and to the point, supposedly not to the satisfaction of the long and arduous answerer. Some were ridiculous because the thinker thought the question redundant. This though, is merely my perception of someone else's answers.

It seems that this is the way with "the Word" also. My preference is the King James Version in most cases, but sometimes the New International Version says it in a way in which others may more readily accept it. Same verse. Two interpretations.

This came to light recently when some of us were explaining the trinity in as simplistic terms as possible to someone who had no time for deep or hard-to-understand interpretations, and who was thinking the whole thing was just so beyond comprehension as to be beyond belief. By explaining it in the terms we had first learned it and knew he could grasp, it "bought him time" — allowed him to see it in terms he could "handle" — until such time as he studied further and could accept it in higher terms.

When I double-checked with a minister to see his perception of our explanation, he gave me an entirely different one than I had ever been given. He explained it in his own terms.

Isn't it wonderful that we have been given so many ways to learn the Word of God and so many people from whom to learn it, each one a stepping stone to higher learning and greater understanding.

Prayer: We thank you Lord, for the mystery of our minds, making us the individuals that You intended. We thank You for our opportunities to share our minds with others, especially where it pertains to the workings of Your Word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada


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