What Do You Hear?

May 17, 2018
Volume 22, Number 18

In 2015 an uproar broke out when a picture of a dress was posted on the Internet. Some saw a gold and white dress; others protested that it was black and blue. There was no definitive answer, we were told; it all depended on who was looking.

Earlier this week the same type of controversy arose when an audio recording of one word was posted on the Internet. Did the speaker say “yanny” or was it “laurel”? In print it seems impossible to confuse the two, but when the recording is played you begin to realize such confusion is possible. (You can click here to hear the recording for yourself.)

It is a fact that we often “filter” information. If, for example, my father said only bad things about Brand X automobiles, then I may tend to see Brand X in the same way. “No, I’ve never driven one of those; I just know they’re no good” I might say. My bias would keep me from seeing things objectively.

Is Christianity something God intends for us to see in different ways? Is it even possible for us to see it alike?

The apostle Paul acknowledged religious division in the city of Corinth, but he did not condone it. The goal, he affirmed, is “that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). But can that ideal be attained? Isn’t Christianity like “yanny” and “laurel”? It’s all a matter of individual interpretation, many argue.

Soon after speaking about unity, Paul showed how it is possible: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13,14). Scripture has been given to us, Paul taught, in the very words which the Holy Spirit provided to the writers.

Isn’t it wise to insist on having important agreements written down? If the agreement is oral only, there’s a lot of wiggle room. I may misunderstand what you said; was it yanny or was it laurel? But if it’s written, I can understand clearly.

God has provided His expectations and promises to us in writing. His revelation is precise in all of the important points. We don’t have to wonder whether Christ is the only path to salvation, or whether there are many paths (see John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Did God say “yanny” or “laurel”? Let’s go back to His word and find out (Acts 17:11).

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.