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papa n williamMy grandson has been learning a lot of new words lately. Words like “please” and “thank you.” It’s cute to hear him repeat phrases in his best two-year-old voice. This week he’s learned that “duck” can mean something other than “quack, quack.”

For those who live in other countries, you may not have these. But in the US, many houses are built with a garage, a place to park your automobiles. And most are equipped with some sort of door than moves up and down to enclose the space. Our garage door has an automatic opener that rolls the door up on a track to keep it out of the way.


image courtesy of Wikimedia commons

When I was leaving the house Sunday morning, I pressed the button to raise the garage door. It’s not an instantaneous thing; it takes a few moments to go up. But in his hurry to get outside, my poor little grandson started running for the open air without giving the door sufficient time to get above his head. He banged his head right into the door before I could yell, “Duck!” It knocked him flat out onto the ground. In between snickers I asked him if he was okay, chuckle, chuckle. He must have been fine because he didn’t cry.

Yesterday I was mowing the grass while he was strapped in a harness on my back. There is one area of the yard where some limbs are hanging low. I had already passed under them a couple of times but I guess the third time, he was preoccupied and not paying attention. After I passed under the limb, I felt a little tug on my back. I looked around to see my grandson rubbing his face, which told me he didn’t duck when I ducked. The limb hit him in the face. Again, he was okay, he didn’t cry.

Words are confusing at times; they can have multiple meanings. Like the word duck which can mean the animal that waddles and swims in the pond or it can mean lower your head before it gets whacked.

Unfortunately, the Bible has some confusing words with multiple meanings and so it’s necessary to pay attention to the context. Here’s an example from the King James Version:

Genesis 2:24 (KJV)

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

The word cleave means “to divide or split into pieces.” But that’s not what the verse means at all. In this context it means “to firmly hold onto.”

In the following section, Jesus used the word hate to make a point:

Luke 14:26 (NASB)

26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not [a]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Before I understood it, this verse really bothered me.

Note that in the text beside the word hate there is a little “a” in parentheses. That indicates a footnote which reads, “In comparison to his love for Me.” Jesus did not say that we should literally hate our families; he said that we should love him much, much more than our families. In comparison to the love we have for Jesus, the love we have for our families would seem like hate.

If you are too quick to read a section, you can miss important data. Read carefully, pay attention …………….. and don’t forget to duck!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com