In The Context of the Times
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” Proverbs 23:7 KJV
‘They are always thinking about how much it costs. "Eat and drink," they say, but they don't mean it.’ NLT
Now I am not telling you how to interpret a particular scripture, passage or idea in the Bible. No one can tell you how YOU are to interpret God’s word but God. I was going to use the scripture above in my previous devotion. But I just looked at all the different translations and the entire scripture before I copied it. I even went back to the beginning of the chapter. It was in no way talking about or in relation to what I was talking about. I would have only been able to use the first part, and even then depending on the translation it would have been irrelevant!
I guess that’s the point of reading the bible, and getting your own personal understanding. People misquote scripture all day long; I know I have especially after reading this one! What we have to realize is that there are a thousand different ways to understand a particular concept or here, scripture. This is a good reason for Bible Study. Some people based their understanding off of what their pastor or spiritual leader teaches, some take a literal understanding, while others just nod and agree with whatever someone says. That is how cults get started! Learning for me involves questioning sometimes. Have a mind of your own, a mind wise enough to call out to God for understanding! James 1:5 says “If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn't find fault with them.”
You have to understand who wrote it, why they wrote it, what they were trying to say when they wrote it, what was going on at that particular time period, what that person was dealing with and the overall lesson to be taken away. I’m sure there is probably more that can be gotten from a particular passage, but you have to read it all together. After my near mistake this morning, I definitely plan to read the surrounding scriptures to get the context. The author in the scripture above was talking about being around stingy people! A stingy person thinks about how much something costs all the while falsely offering things to you, most times not at all. But you can see how you could think otherwise from the KJV translation of that scripture. I said all of that to say that you must go to the source for understanding; yes I believe it’s okay to consult others about the word, but be sure that you go to God first before anyone else and even read it for yourself. He might direct you to the proper person to explain it to you, or reveal it to you Himself. Your mind is fertile ground, so be careful who you allow to plant seeds there!