“The Map is Not the Territory” (or…life in the world)

This is an "NLP" term that I have heard in reference to Christianity. It took me a while to understand it, but I'm getting there.

"The map is not the territory."

What does this mean? To me, it means that it doesn't really matter how long you look at the map, the map is not a substitute for experiencing the territory.

I can show you a google map of Lake Tahoe. I can even link to a satellite photo.

I can show you this:

and I can show you this: (I like this one from the air, because you can clearly see the airstrip and I had seen a little plane landing there)...

But are the maps and the photos identical to feeling the sun on your face and the sound of the skis and taste of the snow when you fall face first into the snowbank?  Is looking at the satellite image the same as listening to the wind in the trees and feeling it in your face as you move down the (bunny) hill?
We would all agree...yes. Of course. Reading is not the same as living.

"The map is not the territory."

In the same way, reading is not the same as doing. I had never been on downhill skis before. I read instructions and I read websites and I listened to descriptions and directions.

But that "map" is not the territory either. Reading and listening is not the same as having somebody ski in front of you, showing you, guiding you, reminding you of everything you had heard and read, encouraging you to "do as I do".

"The map is not the territory."

Here is where I apply it to a Christian walk. "The map is not the territory." Scripture can be compared to the map

(and please, don't attempt any accusation that I'm lessening the authority of Scripture by making it into a mere "map"...for more reading about my views of Scripture, see

Anyway..."The map is not the territory".

Scripture is the revelation of God, the Written Word, God's Word to His bride. **Somewhat** akin to reading love letters when you could be in your sweetie's arms.  (But only "somewhat" because the Spirit indwells us to teach us what the Word is telling us.)

The Bible is like the map and life is like the territory.

The Bible tells us how to life and the Spirit teaches us how to apply it (like the stuff I read about skiing and my friend telling me how to apply it.  And (like the one who showed me "how to") Scripture also tells us about examples to follow.

At the top of the list (In Scripture) is Christ - to be "Christ-like" is what we strive for.

1 Peter 2:21
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

We also Scripture telling us about human examples to follow.

Philippians 3:17
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

1 Thessalonians 1:7
so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

2 Thessalonians 3:9
It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.

1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

James 5:10
As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

1 Peter 5:3
not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

These are examples to imitate.

2 Thessalonians 3:7
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,

Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

(side note:  the Greek word is transliterated "mimeomai" - like mimic...mime.)

We might call those we "imitate" as examples "role models"- although that role is more encompassing in a personal relationship.  Scripture says to consider the outcomes of our leaders lives...and imitate their faith.

We are told to find examples...consider the outcomes...and imitate.

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