Monday, May 27, 2013

Is someone sitting? Stop and ask these three questions.

While working on our latest Bible workbook, “Body Language in the Bible,” I was surprised at all the little words we commonly overlook in the Bible.  One of these small words which had the biggest impact on me was “sit” or “sat.”

In all the times I have read through the Bible I rarely stopped to consider the significance of sitting.  While researching for this book on nonverbal communication, I realized that sitting is very important.  When the Bible tells you someone was sitting or sat down, it gives you that detail for a reason.  There are two common reasons someone sits down in the Bible, and in everyday life, for that matter.

First, people sit down because they are tired.  They want to rest.  This is obvious and easy to spot.

The second reason people sit in the Bible is because it is their dwelling place.  They might sit in their tent, or by the city gate, or on a throne.  The important thing to consider is whether or not they belong in that dwelling place.  Are they sitting on someone else’s throne?  Are they dwelling somewhere improper where they might get into trouble?

Here are some examples.  Think about where they are sitting, and if they are in their rightful dwelling place.

How about Solomon?  Was he sitting on a throne which belonged to him?
And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established. 
[1 Kings 2:12, NASB

Where is Jesus sitting after He ascended to heaven?  Is this the rightful place for Jesus to sit?
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   
[Hebrews 12:2, NASB

Here is an example of someone who made a good decision regarding when and where to sit. Jesus commended her for her choice.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. 
[Luke 10:38–39, NASB

These last two examples are men who chose to dwell in the wrong place.  Their choice to sit among evil people resulted in much anguish.
Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 
[Genesis 19:1, NASB

After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 
[Luke 22:55–57, NASB

Don’t overlook small clues in the Bible.  Always be on the lookout for seated, sit, and sat.  Train yourself to ask these three questions:  

  • Who is sitting?  
  • Why are they sitting in this place and at this time?  
  •  Is this the proper dwelling place for this person?

Body Language in the Bible is now available on