Our Framework Makes A Big Difference


On Golden Pond


My husband and I went to see a newly released movie back in 1981-On Golden Pond—since we loved the two leading actors, Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn. We fell in love with the movie, the story, the music, and the actors. We were clearly not the only ones as the list of Academy and Golden Globe Awards was a long one for the film and the actors.


I would guess many of you (not all) have seen it. The story of Norman and Ethel played by Fonda and Hepburn details the experience of an older couple returning to their summer cabin together. Though married for quite some time, each of them views the cabin and the return through a different lens.


Katharine as Ethel is excited to hear the loons, uncover the furniture, and find berries in on-golden-pond-movie-cabin-photos-10the woods. Henry as Norman is fearful and preoccupied with dying. Their experiences prior to the opening scene that have affected their perspective are not fully revealed, but we get hints occasionally when their daughter and a grandson come to visit.


I remember so well how much we chuckled at certain scenes in the movie just as we found other scenes very endearing. Watching the relationship of this older married couple unfold included glimpses into their frustrations with each other as well as their deep love. The depth of their love shows through at numerous points including when Ethel fears Norman may have died when he falls and is not at first responsive and when she calls him her “knight in shining armor”.


When we first saw the movie we were in our thirties and we looked through those lenses and experiences. Those affected where we laughed in the movie as well as what we missed in certain places.


We have seen the movie a number of times since then and still love the score and the story, but our lens, our framework, is different now that we are older. Some scenes that show clearly they are “elderly” are not so funny to us now. We are older and though not as old as they are, we have walked with older friends of ours in just such a season. We know each day brings us closer to what Ethel and Norman were experiencing. We see with friends the anguish that poor health and death of a spouse is like so we see the movie differently, through a different framework.



It can be very easy for our framework to affect what we see or don’t see in every aspect of life.


Have you considered how it also affects what you see when you read scripture? We likely do not even realize it when it is happening, but it is important to pay attention. If we don’t, our framework will inform or color the text and may well distort the author’s meaning and intent when it is the text that must inform our framework so the Lord can speak into our lives with the hope only He can offer.


I was freshly reminded of that when I participated in a Simeon’s Trust workshop with my daughter recently. It was one of a number of important tools of “First Principles” that were taught and applied as we worked together in small groups.


As I have been reflecting on this point of how much our framework can affect our view of the text of scripture, I was reminded of On Golden Pond where the view of life is affected by their own unique framework. That framework wasn’t unusual for them and our own framework is not unusual for us, but it is important when I am reading scripture to be aware of it and that it can color or even distort what I am reading.


What are some of the things that can make up our framework when we are reading in God’s Word? The list can be quite long, but let me share a start for you to consider:

  • Your age or season of life
  • Your ethnicity and experiences related to that
  • Your vocation
  • Your denominational background
  • Your gender
  • Your socioeconomic status
  • Your sin patterns
  • Your Christian maturity
  • Your culture
  • Your personality
  • Your misconceptions


That beginning list gives you a sample of some of what influences your framework. Our framework can be helpful or it may hinder the truth of the passage we are reading. The key thing is to identify our framework and to try to approach the text with fresh eyes.


If we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and have Him illuminate our understanding of a passage, He will be faithful and help us see what we may very well miss.


“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV


 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17





29 thoughts on “Our Framework Makes A Big Difference

  1. Pam, this is such an excellent analogy! I’ve never seen the movie, but I love the way your perspective changed according to your age. I know that definitley happens to me with the Bible!
    Great thought provoking post.
    Bloggers Pit Stop

  2. i think it’s time for us to view this movie again. it’s been awhile since we viewed it, and i’m imagining that we’re going to see it from, as you would put it, ‘a new lens.’

    and that might be a very good thing …

    thanks for provoking thought, friend …

  3. What an interesting post. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the new worlds we enter over time. This genre conveys it so well. I wasn’t a fan of this film, but today I may have new eyes. Thanks.

  4. What a powerful insight through the lens of a fine movie once seen by me and loved. I have not seen it since 1981 and am now 69. I truly do imagine that things would not be so funny or funny at all now to me as much has changed for me physically and spiritually. Seeing God’s Word through different lenses is such a fine insight as well. All that you list can affect so much including Scripture. I do find that when I read passages on “gray hairs” the words jump for me in ways they never did when my hair was all auburn. Passages about God never leaving or forsaking me also mean something different when I think about death. Words around how He created me, weaving me in my mother’s womb, are incredibly more beautiful. Thank you for sharing this as I am noticing now and will surely see with even more clarity. I so and will pray that He will show me.

    1. I hear you! I am a few years older than you are and certainly do not see myself as “old”, but some of those specifics you mentioned are things that strike me as well. I was blessed by something I read in a book by Mark Patterson that I identify with and likely causes me to feel less “old”. He used the word “neoteny” and defined it as someone who is chronologically older but has qualities we associate with youth such as “curiosity, playfulness, eagerness, fearlessness, warmth, energy, eager to see what the new day brings”. I think I am actually going to write a bit on that. Always love hearing from you, my friend!

  5. Sounds like a great movie, Pam! I remember first learning about what you are describing in a Bible class- it tends to be called “eisegesis,” or “putting one’s own interpretation of life into the text.” We all tend towards this, and it’s so important as you say to pray the Holy Spirit guards us from losing sight of God’s whole truth for the lesser truths or challenges of our present framework in life. Thanks for the wisdom-sharing!!

    1. It is an excellent one!! Yes, we need to learn exegesis and the principles of it or we will intend use scripture through our framework to support what we believe, want to believe, or justify. Simeon’s Trust has a great online course on First Principles for just $15 that can help. I found the group experience to be topnotch to apply the information.

  6. Good list of what affects our framework. I know my mood and emotions can also be a framework on how I interpret scripture. Sometimes this is ok, but sometimes not especially if wanting to justify myself!

  7. I have never watched this but it sounds good! I love cabins, and in fact that was our first house. This is our second and it is a wood one as well. I am desiring to get to a place almost like I was when I was a kid, where I would read my Bible to get close to God, without any agendas or confusion, It sometimes feels like it isn’t quite as easy, and I now my life season with little ones around may affect it but I long for this. Getting up hours before the kids wake helps, but I am not a morning person either so I can’t chew on too much scripture that early. Then by bed time I am pooped and the cycle repeats. I am praying for Grace and mercy!

    1. I hear you about schedule. I am not an early morning person (never have been). My mind wakes up slowly, but I know I need to try to get time in earlier in the day because by evening my thoughts are too distracted by other things and I do not “hear” the Lord as well in the Word. I think you would enjoy the movie and I would be curious how it speaks to you.

      1. I have gotten up early and saw how fruitful it was in my time with God and writing. The price I feel like I pay at first (groggy getting out of bed) seems worth it when I finally get up and get coffee. I guess sometimes needed things aren’t necessarily convenient lol. Thanks so much sharing your heart with me, it means a lot! I pray you find a place to meet God in your day that leaves you filled up and ready to pour back out, friend. He is good!!

  8. Yes, I see this.
    We’re moving into our fifties pretty hard and fast, and there are things about my “framework” that my 20 year old self would not recognize.
    Furthermore, I need to re-watch that movie. Now that I officially qualify as “an old poop,” I’m sure I’ll have a different reaction to it than I had ages ago.

    1. As someone about 20 years older than you, I can speak to that and say that you definitely will notice a difference in your 50’s and more in each decade following. I really can’t see you as “an old poop” though!!

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