Fair warning: if you bet against me, you’ll be wrong. Let me explain…
Check out Psalm 14:1. It reads, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (A similar passage is repeated in Psalm 53:1.)
Alright. Before somebody tries to burn me at the stake for being a heretic, let’s get to the point. Yes, the Bible reads “there is no God” but the Bible teaches throughout its entirety – including this particular Psalm in question – that there IS a loving and holy God who has created and reigns over all things.
Welcome to the importance of biblical context. If we don’t pay very close attention to context, we may walk away from our study of the Bible with some really strange and incorrect “truths.”
Think about this way. Let’s say for a second that little green aliens actually do exist, and that they actually found Earth. Let’s say that they even set up some surveillance operations on America to try and figure us out. But the date all this happened was October 31st. What might these aliens think of us?
“Hmmm…humans must be nocturnal creatures. And it’s the young who hunt and gather for the family.”
“Why do they give each other candy? Is that all these life forms eat?”
“And wow do they dress weird. Hey look, Angongo! There’s one that’s dressed like you!”
You’d say, “All of those assertions about us are wrong. They only looked at our civilization for one night! And a crazy night, at that! They didn’t get a full picture of who we truly are.”
And you’d be completely right.
If we interpret the Bible outside of its original context, we usually make the same, ridiculous mistakes. The importance of “context” in biblical studies cannot be understated.
Even Jesus had to deal with biblical context issues. When He was tempted in the wilderness (in Matthew 4), the Devil twisted the context of God’s Word. (Just compare Matthew 4 to Psalm 91 to see this example.)
So be very careful when you study the Bible. If a verse or sentence of thought sounds wrong to you, take into account what was written before it, and what is written after it. Also, take into account who wrote it. You might even need to analyze that verse or sentence within the context of the whole book or even the entire Bible.
These tactics will help you steer clear of incorrect biblical interpretation.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)