4 Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. 6 That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice.
When we think about how often people hear the same words but come to different conclusions, it is easy to understand why humans constantly miscommunicate. (Of course, if people always communicated easily, then there would be no need for jobs like: counselors, lawyers, liaisons and/or interpreters, just to name a few.) Whether we are talking about understanding the written word or comprehending verbal speech, communication is never easy because often the very same words, ideas or events are known uniquely by each to us. Our communication is based not only on our own personal understanding of language, but also on our biases and experiences.
Our difficulties in communication seem particularly charged when we remember too that the Bible is the most translated book in human history. In fact, the Bible has been translated into over 3,350 hundred different languages, so this easily complicates our mutual understanding through God’s word.
Yet, despite our communication troubles, here the Apostle Paul, reminds Christians first that the written instructions, a.k.a. scripture, are words that have come from God. We are called to communicate, to interpret and to understand the world through the eyes of the One who has endured it all and yet shared grace with us. Paul gives testimony that by the coming of Christ, we are to be encouraged to live in grace and peace with one another and to see the world as Christ would have us see it. We find our unity in understanding through him. Christians everywhere are encouraged to glorify God by finding “one voice” together through Jesus Christ.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
We find our unity in understanding one another through Christ Jesus. Of course we know that even reading the same Bible often has us interpreting differently. Yet God calls us into prayer to learn to know, accept and fully understand one another. God calls us to prayer to build unity through one voice. How has your prayer life helped change your understanding of others? How has prayer encouraged your unity with the Holy Spirit and with other people?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your example of grace through endurance given for all. When I encounter others, help me to fully accept them by communicating and listening through your example. Help me to hear your voice through prayer and to learn how best to be in “one voice” with other Christians. Amen.