27 Context, Context, Context

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Comparing Related Passages

Did the Bible talk about steam engines thousands of years before they were invented?
Isaiah 6:1-7 and steam engines

The context of the passage is important. You do not have to completely understand all that is going on in that context, but the better you grasp it the better your study will go! Here are a couple of common-sense ways to help discover the context.

  1. Read through the book or the sections before and after the text. Get the general idea of what is being said and why.
  2. Look at the chapter heading and subheadings. Most translations have a short description of the context.

6 Different Kinds of Context

Different kinds of context ought to be considered when applicable and as far as you can tell. Here are 6 kinds of context mentioned in the podcast that you should consider.

  1.  Context of the chapter or section of the book. (Example: 1 Corinthians 13)
  2. Context of the book. How dies this relate to the rest of the book? (Lamentations 3:22-24)
  3. Context of history. What do we know about their life and times? Halley’s Bible Handbook is a good reference.
  4. Context of covenant. What covenant are they under in the context?
  5. Context of person. Who is saying it? Is what is said correct? (We know the Bible faithfully recorded it. But was what they said inspired and true? Example—Satan’s words are accurately recorded, but that does not mean he spoke truth.)
  6. Context of Bible (holistic approach)

Why does context matter?

The Bible should never be used to say something that was never intended. Obviously we must be careful here. How can we know EVERYTHING that is intended in a passage? On the other hand, we know that some things were never considered if we would be honest.

Without context we become the sole authority on meaning. (STOP doesn’t mean Spin Tires On Pavement unless you divorce it from context.)

Without context we will run the risk of taking away from what is stated. For example, the account of David and Goliath becomes nothing more than a motivational speech and we miss important thoughts related to the theme of the book.

The theme of 1 Samuel is that God provides leaders for His people. He does this by giving them challenges. These challenges not only make the leaders stronger but also build the trust of those who will follow.

Leadership is more than bravery. It is following God and building on the lessons you have learned before. When we put the account of David and Goliath into that context, we see some important principles and thoughts concerning the development of leadership and how that process if affected by the challenges we face in life.

Without context we abuse passages and make them say what we want them to say. A good example of this is Galatians 5:1. Divorced from the context, this verse is sometimes used to suggest we have no law today.

Context is vital to Bible study! Perhaps you have a humorous story to tell about how you or others have taken things out of context. If so, share it below!

And thanks again for listening to the podcast![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]
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