All things considered …

A range of Hebrew and Greek Bible words are translated as consider. One of them is katanoeo, which occurs just a few times, mainly in contexts brimming with helpful lessons we do well to heed. So, let’s consider how and what we aught to consider.

  1. A) How to consider

Really beneficial consideration requires the following ingredients:

  1. Examination

The word itself is made up of two parts, each a word in its own right: kata and noeo. The word noeo by itself means ‘to think over’, as in 2 Timothy 2:1-7 where Paul urges Timothy to ‘think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything’, especially about the personal discipline necessary to be fruitful in ministry as a soldier, an athlete and a ‘hard-working farmer for ‘Christ Jesus’. The kata prefix intensifies the thinking intended, meaning to consider closely in order to understand fully.

For instance, when Peter was telling of his experience of God’s sending him with the gospel to the Gentiles, he related a vision of a huge boat-sail let down from heaven full of non-kosher beasts he should butcher and eat. His response was to consider it: ‘Looking at it closely, I observed …’ these creatures (Acts 11:6; ‘looks intently’, James 1:23).

  1. Reflection

This is mentioned quite literally in James 1:23-25, ‘If any one is a [mere] hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror (verse 23) but if he does not continue to consider and instead ‘forgets what he was like’  (verse 24), he fails to do any mental reflection.

  1. Interpretation

This also must take place in order that our consideration leads to a practical application of what we have looked at and reflected on. An example is the message of Jesus that bids us to consider the birds and the wild flowers [see below].

  1. Action

James demands this (in James 1:25), ‘But the one who looks into the perfect law [examination], the law of liberty [reflection – that Moses’ law does not merely condemn but shows us the better way], and perseveres [in his looking = interpretation], being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts [action], he will be blessed in his doing.’ 

  1. B) What to consider: How to imbibe [see (James 1:1) and (James 1:2)] and impart [(James 1:3)] inspiration

(1) The human problem – see Romans 4:16-25; unlike the philosophy of ‘positive thinking’, Abraham considered the two ‘elephants in the room’ – ‘his own body, which was as good as dead’ being 100 and ‘the barrenness of Sarah’s womb’ as she’d never been able to conceive and was now 90 (Romans 4:19). But ‘he did not weaken’ (Romans 4:19) and ‘no distrust made him waver’ (Romans 4:20), but ‘in hope be believed against hope’ (Romans 4:18) and ‘grew strong in his faith’ (Romans 4:20) in the God of resurrection who had promised them offspring (Romans 4:17).

(2) The divine provision – see Luke 12:22-34; pursue the reign of God first, food and clothing being mere ‘things’ will be added; consider ravens’ food and lilies’ robes.

(3) Family motivation – see Hebrews 10:24; consider how each member is individually gifted and motivated, and so be able to stimulate each to appropriate actions.

* Consider again James 1:23-25; Romans 4:16-25; Luke 12:22-34.

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