Sharing today from Bible Engager’s Blog
How to identify qualifiers that give you pause
June 25th, 2018
“To be honest with you…”
“To tell you the truth…”
“As a matter of fact…”
“To be frank…”
How often have you heard or uttered these words, or some similar phrase? Have you ever wondered why anyone would preface a statement with such a qualifier? After all, shouldn’t we always tell the truth? If you use one of these expressions in a given situation, does that mean you are dishonest the rest of the time?
While starting a sentence with “to be honest” may be a red flag in some situations—or simply a bad habit—there may be times when the speaker is trying to break the ice, command attention, or give the listener a heads-up that something direct or potentially unpleasant is about to be said. It can be a way of saying, “I’m about to say something important” or “listen up!”
Notice Important Qualifiers
Have you ever noticed that similar qualifiers appear in the Bible? Depending on which version you study, you will find phrases such as:
“Truly I tell you…”
“I say to you very seriously…”
“For I assure you…”
“I can guarantee this truth…”
“What I’m about to tell you is true…”
Zooming in on teachings prefaced by these qualifiers will help you get more out of your Bible reading. These markers help us identify truths that are vital to our understanding of God’s will for us and to our Christian growth. Like road signs that caution us to slow down or tell us where to turn, these clues in Scripture make Bible reading more than just an item to cross off our to-do lists.
Try Starting with Paul
Here’s a good place to start. In his letters to Timothy and Titus, the apostle Paul started or concluded five statements with “This is a true saying…” He was not implying that everything else he’d written was untrue, but he clearly wanted his readers to pay special attention to these teachings.
Let’s look at the five sayings Paul highlighted for his protégées: