I’m not eavesdropping, but I can’t help overhearing snippets of the conversations walking past me. I’m on a layover and am sitting in a row of chairs along a long hallway between terminals in the airport. There’s a steady stream of people walking by, but they mostly come just a few at a time, so I can easily overhear their conversations.
Catching just single sentences or parts of phrases is either disturbing or humorous. Here, you can sit by me for a few moments—I typed some snippets verbatim as people walked by.
- “I’m trying to figure out how to take the apartment.”
- “I feel bad for you.”
- “Oh, I’m sure she’ll be back.”
- “Just recently, we…”
- “And the banana was smashed a little bit because…”
- “We’ll put it on when it’s time to.”
And the classic one, just before two girls stepped on the elevator nearby:
- “I had fish, but I was like, should I get a pizza? I was craving something, but I didn’t know what. So I looked, and she was there! And she was like, “no worries. I’ll just put it on my thing before I go to the bank.”
I couldn’t learn much from any single one of these conversations, but I do have two takeaways.
First, never underestimate what the person with a laptop in the airport might be typing—it might be a transcript of your conversation!
Second, and more seriously, read more than two verses of the Bible at a time.
What does Bible reading have to do with conversation snippets? God desires to guide our every day living through His Word. But, too often, we relegate the influence His Word can have in our lives to batches of a few words lifted out of context. And even then, we only retain what we perceive to be valuable.
To really catch the heart of any speaker, to understand the full context of any conversation, we have to listen to it in its entirety.
Consider the airport conversations with me again.
- Some statements left me wanting more details. (Just how was that banana smashed? I love bananas, so I’m disappointed that I will never know.)
- Some phrases could indicate dark motives. (Take the apartment? What is she, a manipulator? A thief?!)
- Even some entire sentences just sounded crazy and disconnected without the larger conversation. (Wish I could have ridden that elevator to understand what thing she was going to put it on, and who she was!)
God desires that we know Him (Jeremiah 29:13). His Word is more than something “a good Christian” should read. It’s more than a magic answer center for a random moment of needing direction.
God’s Word is primarily how God speaks to us (2 Timothy 3:16). Read it to know Him. Read it in context. And, read it in its entirety.