I'm down in Chicago for the weekend watching my little brother play football, and I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. My father and I are staying for the weekend to hang out with Corey. So last night after the girls all headed north we needed a place to eat. My father wanted to go visit a very famous Chicago pizza place. So he told me the name the restaurant and I searched for it in my blackberry in order to find an address.
It was 22 miles away so Corey, Steve, and I jumped in the car and drove to town. The further we got the more confident my father got that this was the wrong direction. By now we're all getting very hungry, and the neighborhood is getting a little sketchy. Finally after a 45 minute drive we arrive on our final destination....
GIOVANNI'S!!!the world famous take out pizza place???
You see my father said Giovanni's (meaning Giordanos) when I asked him the name of the place. I took him at his word and searched for Giovanni's, which happened to come up. What I really wanted to search for was...
GIORDANO'S!!! the world famous pizza place!!!
What happened was I heard something that sounded right "giovannis" and acted on it. Instead of spending a little bit of time researching and doing to some back ground checks I just went with it with out a second thought.
Unfortunately this happens way too often in our spiritual lives as well. We hear some one say they heard something in the Bible about such and such a topic, or they'll make a statement with out support and we'll blindly take them at their word. More often we read a passage and with out spending diligence studying the context of the chapter, consulting other resources, or seeing what others have said about the passage, we make a conclusion and then an application from that conclusion. This is called devotional interpretation and is based largely on our limited knowledge as well as our personal feelings and biases about the text. This poor reading of scripture leads to eisogesis or false meanings about the passage.
Another problem with eisogesis is it can lead you to the wrong pizza place!
So as you study in your devotions remember to take time and look at the historical context, the background, and seek outside help from respected commentaries in order to get the most accurate reading possible.