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 →