Showing posts with label Context. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Context. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Immediate and Greater Context

Over at Stand to Reason, Alan Shlemon is back on the subject of the importance of reading in context. I too am convinced that context is probably the single most crucial way to accurately determine the intended meaning of any verse in scripture, so as you may imagine, I find myself agreeing with almost everything Alan has to say.

In discussing the Lord’s much-misunderstood promise that begins with the words “For where two or three come together in my name,” Shlemon asserts that “Jesus begins and ends by talking about how to respond to a sinning brother. Therefore, the meaning of verse 20 must be restricted to that context, making it unlikely that it is about God being present among believers.”

Sunday, July 26, 2020

David’s Covenant and the Resurrection

On Tuesday we looked at the first six public messages in the book of Acts to consider how one’s audience ought to determine the content of a gospel message, a pattern well established by the apostles in their preaching.

It seems obvious that the apostles did not simply memorize a few key points to preach about in every situation. They did not utilize a predictable series of Old Testament proof texts. They were not merely checking boxes, but responded to the needs of the particular audience to whom they were preaching.

So now here we are in Acts 13.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Forests and Trees

When I pick up a Bible and try to understand a particular verse or passage, I am at a slight disadvantage compared to the writer’s original audience.

“Slight?” you might well ask, taking out your logical 2x4 and preparing to give me a smart tap on the frontal lobe, hopefully in the interest of bringing me to my senses.

“How can you possibly call the disadvantage of living thousands of years after the original writer slight? Sure, you can read the words that the author penned, assuming there has been no significant textual corruption along the way, but you have no idea what was in the author’s mind. You’re not a Hebrew, and you didn’t live in his day. You don’t know the cultural baggage with which his language was freighted. You didn’t have his experiences. You don’t know Greek idioms or how they came about.

“Chances are quite high that you are coming to the text with all kinds of modern assumptions that influence how you read things.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Twitterized Bible

How about that morning verse, eh?
Ben Irwin dislikes the ‘Twitterized’ Bible.

You know, the way Christians tend to quote scripture in tiny fragments. He’s concerned that in doing so we’ll lose the Author’s original meaning and not even realize it’s gone. Twitterizing is only one name for it. Others call it “using the Bible as a medicine cabinet” or “prooftexting”.

For the most part I agree with Ben, so I’m going to tread carefully here.

After all, I have harped here about context as the most critically important interpretive tool in the Bible student’s tool kit so many times I’ve lost track. Taken out of their original context, verses of holy writ may be misunderstood or have their meanings entirely inverted.

But not always.

Monday, December 15, 2014

David’s Covenant and the Resurrection

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Universalism = InterpretationFail

It is awfully useful to observe how and where people go wrong in interpreting scripture.

If, say, a Universalist misappropriates a particular text to serve his cause, you can bet Calvinists, Amillennialists, Prosperity Gospel folks or whoever will use a similar bag of tricks to get where they want to go too.

In perusing Universalist websites for a previous post, I noticed many of them have this is common: they are fond of pointing to the word “all”, as though its employment in any context decisively proves their point. I suppose this preoccupation is easily understood, given the nature of their particular doctrinal aberration.

How can we go about making Scripture say whatever we’d like it to?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Historical Details, Forests and Trees

The most recent version of this post is available here.