Using Context in the Bible

Using Context in the Bible
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series How to Study the Bible

Context in the Bible

Facebook includes lots of images (memes) showing encouraging Scriptures from the Bible. Most are accurate quotes of a verse but is the concept they suggest Biblically sound? What about the people who quote a single scripture as a “proof” of some doctrine? Is that proper? What could be wrong if they have a Scripture to back them up? To find out, we need to learn how to  “correctly handle the word of truth.” Read the entire second chapter of 2 Timothy to learn more:

2 Timothy 2:15, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

There are some defined rules for studying the Bible. Dr Tremper Longman III has posted his “Seven Keys to Understanding Scripture” while Ron Rhodes and Richard Anthony have “Eight Rules of Bible Interpretation.” Both of these lists (and many others) are great tools for guiding us in the proper methods of studying God’s Word. Although there might be slight differences of opinion between the lists, one thing that is common in virtually every guide is to consider the CONTEXT of each verse.

Google’s definition of context:

con·text ˈkäntekst/  noun
1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

When reading a verse of Scripture, we must consider the verses prior to and following the verse – and how that concept is covered in other parts of the  Bible. Rarely can a verse stand on its own without us having to weigh the other verses in the chapter where it is found. And, always, a verse must be taken in the broader context of the entire Bible. If a verse seems to “conflict” with other verses, we must try to ascertain why and attempt to resolve the difference.

Look at Matthew 4:6 (the temptation of Jesus), Keep reading →

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series How to Study the Bible

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Prior to getting started with the study of Prophecy in the Bible, we need to set some boundaries. The teachings held by some groups depend upon verses found in the book of Ecclesiastes. Can they be trusted? Why, or why not?

The Meaning of LifeUnderstanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Solomon (King David’s son and the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes) spent many years trying to find the meaning of life. In the first 11 chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes, he reported things that seem to be common sense, but, under scrutiny, they are not always true. (This is how a “proverb” is defined and why not all proverbs are to be followed. See Ezekiel 18:1-4)

An example from Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun”, Ecc 1:9. It is like the more contemporary phrase, “It’s the same old drag every day!” Although commonly accepted and never called a lie, neither of these statements is factual. The phrase “under the sun” is often by Solomon.  In Ecclesiastes, it describes events as they are seen from man’s eyes (vice God’s view). From our view, everything seems to change very little. But actually, tiny changes are occurring all the time. (Like the loss of our hair and the increase in our weight!)  Keep reading →