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View Full Version : Context...how important is it really? Is it really that important?



divaD
Jan 17th 2009, 03:29 PM
The reason for this thread is because of my observations of others interpretations. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not even certain how many different forms of context there are. But as an example, I can usually discern historical context when I encounter it. And I usually interpret it and treat it as such. But I notice that some others tend to treat historical context as if it also applies to us today. I feel that this leads to an incorrect understanding of the passage.

Then there are some that interpret this verse in this passage, and add to what another verse says in another passage, and from that they draw their conclusions, not once considering the contexts of either passage. Again, I believe that this leads to the wrong conclusions.

I could give many more examples I'm sure, but I'm mainly interested in what others think of context, and if it is on the top of their list when interpreting Scriptures?

I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression about me. I certainly don't have all the answers nor believe that I do. I'm certainly not right about everything nor believe that I am. And I'm pretty sure, that from time to time, that I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to interpreting Scriptures foriegn to the contexts, but even so, it appears to me that there are many who don't take context into consideration at all.

And one last thing while I'm thinking about it. Sometimes in the NT, in order to properly understand a passage, one needs to go back to the OT, and interpret the passage in the NT, according to the context of the OT. Perhaps this seems unreasonable and unnecessary to some, but personally, I'm not sure how someone could come to the correct understanding by not doing so.

Obviously I'm not a scholar nor claim to be, so, is context really that important then? Am I making too much out of it? Can the correct understanding of Scriptures be understood, irregardless of context? Personally I don't believe so..but that is just my opinion.

mikebr
Jan 17th 2009, 03:33 PM
prooftexting is the biggest hinderance to learning

timmyb
Jan 17th 2009, 04:23 PM
sometimes it depends on how someone looks at the scriptures too... A Calvinist's context of certain scripture differs from that of an Armenian... but we do know that there is only one true interpretation of Scripture and that's the Holy Spirit's interpretation... Context is important, but if you're just studying scripture without intimacy with God to get to know him... if the Bible isn't a springboard to knowing God, then all you are doing is just studying a historical philosophical work...

Yukerboy
Jan 17th 2009, 04:48 PM
I guess it depends on how you define context. A lot of people see a verse that disagrees with what they believe and instead of saying "that verse is true, but here's another" they go on to say "It's out of context" without presenting another to show why.

During the temptation of Christ:

Satan stated "For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Christ did not respond with "It's out of context" or "That isn't true" or "your interpretation is wrong".

No, Christ said ""It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

This was the perfect response, as Christ is perfect. You could say that Christ put the Scripture Satan used into context and not be wrong. I say that Christ answered Scripture with Scripture and I'm not wrong.

timmyb
Jan 17th 2009, 04:59 PM
Good point yukerboy... you can also look at the ones who value health and wealth and take the verses that emphasize health and wealth out of context to fit their doctrines

Butch5
Jan 18th 2009, 05:14 AM
The reason for this thread is because of my observations of others interpretations. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not even certain how many different forms of context there are. But as an example, I can usually discern historical context when I encounter it. And I usually interpret it and treat it as such. But I notice that some others tend to treat historical context as if it also applies to us today. I feel that this leads to an incorrect understanding of the passage.

Then there are some that interpret this verse in this passage, and add to what another verse says in another passage, and from that they draw their conclusions, not once considering the contexts of either passage. Again, I believe that this leads to the wrong conclusions.

I could give many more examples I'm sure, but I'm mainly interested in what others think of context, and if it is on the top of their list when interpreting Scriptures?

I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression about me. I certainly don't have all the answers nor believe that I do. I'm certainly not right about everything nor believe that I am. And I'm pretty sure, that from time to time, that I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to interpreting Scriptures foriegn to the contexts, but even so, it appears to me that there are many who don't take context into consideration at all.

And one last thing while I'm thinking about it. Sometimes in the NT, in order to properly understand a passage, one needs to go back to the OT, and interpret the passage in the NT, according to the context of the OT. Perhaps this seems unreasonable and unnecessary to some, but personally, I'm not sure how someone could come to the correct understanding by not doing so.

Obviously I'm not a scholar nor claim to be, so, is context really that important then? Am I making too much out of it? Can the correct understanding of Scriptures be understood, irregardless of context? Personally I don't believe so..but that is just my opinion.

You are exactly right, how can we understand anything without context?
If I make a statement and say, my son won! What does that mean without context? What did he win? A ballgame? An election? A free cruise. You don't know without the context. That is how many interpret the Bible. That is why many cannot reconcile the Scriptures. The historical events "must" be taken into account. Sometimes Jesus said things that only pertained to the apostles, yet many today claim these statements refer to all Christians. The context of a verse of Scripture is of utmost importance.

By the way, I don't have a son.

Butch5
Jan 18th 2009, 05:16 AM
I guess it depends on how you define context. A lot of people see a verse that disagrees with what they believe and instead of saying "that verse is true, but here's another" they go on to say "It's out of context" without presenting another to show why.

During the temptation of Christ:

Satan stated "For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Christ did not respond with "It's out of context" or "That isn't true" or "your interpretation is wrong".

No, Christ said ""It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

This was the perfect response, as Christ is perfect. You could say that Christ put the Scripture Satan used into context and not be wrong. I say that Christ answered Scripture with Scripture and I'm not wrong.

Keep one thing in mind, He was not interpreting Scripture, He knew what all of it meant.

Butch5
Jan 18th 2009, 05:19 AM
sometimes it depends on how someone looks at the scriptures too... A Calvinist's context of certain scripture differs from that of an Armenian... but we do know that there is only one true interpretation of Scripture and that's the Holy Spirit's interpretation... Context is important, but if you're just studying scripture without intimacy with God to get to know him... if the Bible isn't a springboard to knowing God, then all you are doing is just studying a historical philosophical work...

The context of Scripture does not change depending on who is reading it. The context is determined by the writer and does not change. If two people have different interpretations, at least one is wrong, and may very well have the Scripture out of context.

threebigrocks
Jan 18th 2009, 05:46 AM
Exactly, context isn't a scripture thing. It applies when you read anything really. A book, a newspaper, magazine. What someone says (ever walk in on the middle of a conversation?), or even does. Context is important. To get the meaning and truth out of any media, but especially literature, we must take in the context.

crossnote
Jan 18th 2009, 07:22 AM
And one last thing while I'm thinking about it. Sometimes in the NT, in order to properly understand a passage, one needs to go back to the OT, and interpret the passage in the NT, according to the context of the OT. Perhaps this seems unreasonable and unnecessary to some, but personally, I'm not sure how someone could come to the correct understanding by not doing so.

This is because the Bible is truly ONE book and not 66. It has One Author and One central theme pointing to the ONE Redeemer of mankind who will ultimately bring all things in heaven and earth under His rule.
Seen in this way, context is stretched across the pages from Genesis to Revelation in a unified whole.

Yukerboy
Jan 18th 2009, 07:29 PM
If I make a statement and say, my son won! What does that mean without context? What did he win? A ballgame? An election? A free cruise. You don't know without the context. That is how many interpret the Bible. That is why many cannot reconcile the Scriptures. The historical events "must" be taken into account. Sometimes Jesus said things that only pertained to the apostles, yet many today claim these statements refer to all Christians. The context of a verse of Scripture is of utmost importance.


I'd agree with this....but the fact remains that your son won.


Keep one thing in mind, He was not interpreting Scripture, He knew what all of it meant.


Right, they both (Satan and Christ) quoted Scripture.

One was quoted, then another quoted to put it in context.

Psalms Fan
Jan 18th 2009, 11:48 PM
Psalm 14:1 "There is no God."

To me that verse segment alone answers the context question.

Butch5
Jan 19th 2009, 12:05 AM
Yukerboy---I'd agree with this....but the fact remains that your son won.

Won what? Without context you have no idea what was won.




Yukerboy---Right, they both (Satan and Christ) quoted Scripture.

One was quoted, then another quoted to put it in context.


The difference is that Christ was not interpreting Scripture, He was stating fact.

Butch5
Jan 19th 2009, 12:06 AM
Psalm 14:1 "There is no God."

To me that verse segment alone answers the context question.

Exactly!!!!!!!!

Biastai
Jan 19th 2009, 12:50 AM
Yes, context is crucial. It reveals the intended audience of a passage too. The Judiazers described in Galatians tried to compel Gentile Christians to be circumcised because it was written to be so. Paul, however, corrected them. Also, the Pharisees were arguing about what the divorce laws allowed, but Jesus responded by describing God's original design of the marriage agreement. Will of God comes first. Context is needed to ensure that in many cases.

Yukerboy
Jan 19th 2009, 01:47 AM
Psalm 14:1 "There is no God."

To me that verse segment alone answers the context question.


And Christ would say "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. "

Call it putting it into context or whatever your heart desires. The bottom line is, as Christ showed, the only way to answer Scripture being used wrongly is more Scripture.

Yukerboy
Jan 19th 2009, 01:48 AM
Won what? Without context you have no idea what was won.

Correct, but it doesn't change the fact your son won.


The difference is that Christ was not interpreting Scripture, He was stating fact.

True, and so was Satan.

Butch5
Jan 19th 2009, 01:55 AM
[quote=Yukerboy;1949760]Correct, but it doesn't change the fact your son won.

You are missing the whole point, if you don't know the context then you have no idea what I am talking about.

Yukerboy
Jan 19th 2009, 02:02 AM
[quote=Yukerboy;1949760]Correct, but it doesn't change the fact your son won.

You are missing the whole point, if you don't know the context then you have no idea what I am talking about.

Right, all I know is that your son won. What, where, how, why, or when...I have no clue. But it doesn't change the fact he won.

livingwaters
Jan 19th 2009, 03:43 AM
This is because the Bible is truly ONE book and not 66. It has One Author and One central theme pointing to the ONE Redeemer of mankind who will ultimately bring all things in heaven and earth under His rule.
Seen in this way, context is stretched across the pages from Genesis to Revelation in a unified whole.

AGREED!!! Some Christians use this "it's out of context" so they feel better when they do not obey what God has commanded! I think that's just awful..That's my opinion!:hug: