Sunday, February 22, 2009

Context, Context, Context.

I ran across a passage that reinforced "context" in my mind yet again.  Over the past year or so, I have read several books that have mentioned the importance of context in the Bible.  Not just the context of the passage itself but the historical context the writer was writing in.

To summarize the explanation a little bit,  let's look at a passage that I read this morning.  In 2 Cor 4:5, we can read 
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Admittedly, that one verse is taken out of it's context in many ways but what I want to show is right there.  I'll encourage you to click the link above and read the chapter before continuing. 

In "Velvet Elvis", Rob Bell stresses that the Bible is written in a particular place, in a particular time, to a particular people.   That is definitely the case here. Let's look at one simple phrase in that verse...  "That Jesus is Lord".  What does that say to you?   Here is what I hear now when I read it...

Paul is living in a time where you are to worship Caesar with a punishment of death if you don't.  Caesar said he is Lord or God (he declared himself to be God or a son of God).  To say or preach that Jesus is Lord means that Caesar is not.  That means that every time Paul speaks, he is marking himself for death.

Now, go back and take a look at passages like Romans 6:23 and Romans 10:9 again.  Read the chapter around the verse and read them in the cultural context I just touched on above.  Or go down through this list with that perspective.

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

My freshman year at Bible College brought the "Manners and Customs" of the Bible class. It was full of rich information that I loved. But sadly, I was, after all, taking the class for the grade. I would loe to take it again, now that it would be about my love for the Word of God and not for the grade.