Updated: Feb 25, 2020
I learned a new word today, as I was doing research for this blog post. It is “mondegreen”. Mondegreen means “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.” (source: merriam-webster.com) Have you ever sung the wrong words to a song? I would imagine that most of us have. For the longest time, I thought that the words “There’s a bathroom on the right” were the lyrics, instead of “There’s a bad moon on the rise”, from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song “Bad Moon Rising.” I don’t think I knew the title of that song because I just heard it on the radio. I didn’t know I was singing it wrong until I saw the page from my “Wrong Lyrics”-a-day calendar. (Maybe that is why someone gave that calendar to me one Christmas, because I was always singing the wrong lyrics…) Once I knew the correct lyrics, I could sing along correctly when ever CCR was playing.
If I had not been told the correct lyrics to the song, or had not looked up the lyrics, I could still be singing it incorrectly. And, I could even teach others the wrong lyrics too. Once I know the truth, though, I think I am obligated to say the correct words. I have, on occasion, made up parodies, so I was then allowed to sing different lyrics in the name of humor. And, if I think it is beneficial and appropriate, I think I should have to correct someone who is singing a mondegreen to a song. This is exactly what happened last night with my 5-year old son, Tobias. He was singing the song “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams while hanging out in the dining room. We had just gotten home from Sunday Evening services at church. Tobias is learning to read, but he is not very interested in trying to read the words on the screen in the sanctuary. I think that is too overwhelming for this sweet kindergartener. Thus, he was singing “If you feel lost, he’s a whale trainer”, instead of “If you feel lost, He's a way maker”. I do not know if he was singing these same words while other kids were around him during worship, but we quickly corrected him. His response was “I didn’t know what the words were.”
I can probably say the same thing about Scripture sometimes. If someone asks me a question about the Bible, I may or may not know the correct answer. I do not have all of Scripture memorized, but I can say that I have read the whole thing through at least once. I have read some parts several times, and some parts only a few times. I continue to read my Bible, and I continue to study. I am married to a man who knows much, but does not know it all. I will go to him when I have questions, but I will also look things up myself.
Sometimes people think they are quoting Scripture, when they are really just quoting someone else. “God helps those who help themselves” is one of those phrases that is found no where in the Bible. Ben Franklin used it in his “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, but it was actually coined by a man named Algernon Sidney, an English political theorist in the 17th century. There are even versions of the phrase from the Ancient Greeks, like in the Aesop’s Fable “Hercules and the Waggoner.” The point I am making is that to know what Scripture says, one must read the Bible! I urge you to read on your own, but also find others to study with so that you can encourage each other. Listening to sermons is also a good start, especially actively listening. Write down the scripture references so that you can look them up later for yourself. (If there is no Scripture ever referenced, than I would probably not encourage you to listen to that person again.)
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.