Pastor's wife: It's important not to guess what Scripture says


Growing up in church during the 1970s, we didn’t listen to many popular tunes.  Music back then was thought to lead to dancing and all other debauchery. (In truth, my dance moves weren’t that great.) But I knew all the church songs and could even play #203 and #204 in the hymnal on the piano. 

I hadn’t really heard the other stuff until I was practically grown. My beloved, on the other hand, was steeped in the American Top 40 from childhood. He listened to music on 45s and has a memory for every song.  Music is in his blood-his DNA. He loves jazz, pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, and contemporary Christian. His phone has over a thousand songs downloaded.  My phone has about 90. A bunch of those are Bible school tunes.

The problem about not growing up listening to popular music is that I don’t know the words to old well-known songs. My beloved sings all of them. I usually just make a stab at whatever I think they’re saying and mumble through it. When I am puzzled and truly want to know what the lyrics really are, I Google them. I’m wrong a LOT. At work, as a variety of music plays each day, we get tickled at the song words we have always gotten wrong.

That can also happen with Scripture. I may think I know Bible verses and the gist of what God’s Word says, but I need to make sure I’m accurate.  It’s important to not just guess-like I do with 70s songs-but to hide the truth in my heart (Psalm 119:11).  I can’t just settle for what it might say; I need to study it, know it, apply it, and share it! 

The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to stay in the Word and to handle it correctly, or “rightly divide it” (KJV) in 2 Timothy 2:15. The Life Application Study Bible shares: “Consistent and diligent study of God’s Word is vital; otherwise we will be lulled into neglecting God and our true purpose for living.”

Some of my very favorite verses about the importance of God’s Word are Deuteronomy 6:6-9: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” It is to be an essential part of everyday life. 

Psalm 119:105 reminds me: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  I NEED a light on my path. Don’t you?

Not long ago, we were headed home from Lexington. Lynn Anderson’s “Snowbird,” circa 1970, came on the radio. I joined her and belted out every single word.  

“Wow!” my beloved declared when I was finished, quite surprised. “Where did that come from?” 

“I listened to that when I was growing up,” I replied with a big smile. We were in the car so there was no room for dancing.


Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at