The Read-It-Like-It-Is Quiz

Yesterday I shared how as a teen I pulled verses from God’s Word about my crooked legs without looking at their context. I encouraged you to begin the hard work of searching for the author’s actual meaning by digging into the surrounding verses.

Today I want to give you a chance to practice with three verses. Read their context, and then choose which option (“a” or “b”) the author meant. (I know this is hard work, but the more we practice, the easier it gets.) And this is important!

Ready, set, read it like it is!

  1. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23).Does this mean:a) Guard your emotions by not getting too close to a guy
    b) Guard yourself from all forms of evil

    Read the context below, and then record your answer in the comments section:

    “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Prov. 4:20–27).

  2. “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).Does this mean:a) God will bless you with a happy, easy life
    b) God would bring the nation of Judah out of captivity in 70 years

    Read the context below, and then record your answer in the comments section:

    “This is what the LORD says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile'” (Jer. 29:8–14).

Answer Key

  1. The correct answer is “b.” The context is clear—this isn’t a verse specifically about relationships. This is an urgent plea from a father to his son to live carefully and to fight sin wholeheartedly.
  2. The correct answer is “b.” In context, this is a specific promise to a specific nation, the nation of Judah. In seventy years, God would free His people from slavery to the Babylonians. God never promises us an easy life here and now, but He does promise forgiveness of sins, a restored relationship with God, and so much more to those who put their full trust in Him.

About Author

Paula Marsteller no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her two young sons and seeking to practice "radically ordinary hospitality." She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in Central New York. You can catch her writing on

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