Has anyone ever misunderstood or misinterpreted a text or message that you sent? Sometimes the written word doesn’t convey enough about tone or context and so the meaning of the words are misunderstood. This can also be true when communicating not with words, but with images, such as emojis.
Share this video clip with your students [1:56]:
Emoji meanings around the world
- Did any of the emoji meanings surprise you? Could you add other examples? (Answers will vary. Students will have their own takes on certain emoji meanings and examples of ones they have confused others with or been confused by.)
- What does this tell us about the importance of cultural context for accurate understanding? (Accept all reasonable answers. One’s context or culture shapes how one views the world. We should consider this when communicating with others and when we are taking in information or learning from others.)
- Where would you go if you needed to learn more about emoji meanings or common misinterpretations? (Accept all reasonable answers. You could learn more about cultural differences, track down emoji creators, and ask lots of everyday people for how they understand and use the characters.)
Every time you read or interpret a message you bring your own understandings and experiences to it. This may help or hurt getting an accurate understanding of the author’s intended message. This can be true with Scripture as well. It can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misused. While some people claim the Bible is very straightforward and clear to understand, others find it so confusing or irrelevant that they give up trying to understand it. Those in either camp, and everyone in between, could benefit from careful study of the Bible. Knowing not just the text, but the surrounding context, and what’s been known or said about this text in various times and cultures, will reveal new insights and provide sharper clarity for understanding. Thankfully, there are many sources for doing so. Rather than sculpting the Bible into our own image, it is important to dig deeper to discover the marks God has actually made on it.