Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why is it important to study the Bible in context? What things are taken out of context?

Harry RichesHarry Riches • answers

It is important to study the Bible in context if we want to know the truth.
In order to understand the Bible everything really needs to fit within the following:
  1. Every text needs to be seen in the context;
  2. Of the chapter in which it is found;
  3. The book in which the passage is found;
  4. The Testament in which the book is found;
  5. And be in accordance with the overall message of the Bible.
Below we have text within context from the Old Testament and the New Testament that presents the overall theme of the Bible without any real need to interpret.
The overall message of the Bible
The overall message of the Bible is the purpose of God the Father to bring about the revelation of His Name in the Presence of His Son among the people of the world who desire to be live with Him in righteousness.
Old Testament
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
  • The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first,before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth; before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:22-31)
New Testament
  • Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)
  •   “I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.” The  Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. (Revelation
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and brought forth a manifestation of Himself (the Word of God) through Whom all things were created and Who delighted in the sons of men. The sons of men are subject to the god of this world but those who recognize that the light shines in the darkness are drawn to the light that they  might walk in the truth. This call goes out to all how desire to drink the water of life without price. However, if anybody detracts from the message that is written in the book, that person will lose his or her share in the tree of life, when Lord Jesus returns to be with all his saints.
However, unless we add something from the Gospels the message seems incomplete, even though there is nothing wrong with the overall message, as this is merely Scripture being presented without interpretation.
  • But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Here we learn that Jesus came to set an example for those who would follow in His footsteps. Whoever would be great in His kingdom had to a servant of others and, as for Jesus Himself, He came not to give his life for one person only (that is, Adam) as ransom to redeem what he had lost; but for the many who were Adam’s descendants, so that everyone and all the Earth could be redeemed and brought back to the legal control of the Heavenly Father. The ransom price was to redeem every person from the god of this world. But while the price has been paid for everybody, we see in the above quoted text from the book of Revelation that only those who desire the waters of life will be admitted into the Holy City and the Kingdom of Lord Jesus Christ.
Example of distortion
What is taken out of context are verses that are used for propositional truths. For instance, the verse that Jesus paid “the ransom for many” is plucked from the above passage. The verse is then used to support a dogma that Jesus died only to ransom “some people” but not all. Instead of acknowledging that the Son of God delighted in the habitations of men (and God desires all men to be saved), those who claim that the blood of Jesus was ineffectual for the ransom of all the human race, say that it nevertheless constituted a "limited atonement".
Proponents of this view of limited atonement claim that nobody has free will. God ordains people to commit evil, people do not choose to do evil. Likewise, nobody chooses to desire the waters of life, for God has ordained who will choose beforehand and He provided for them through the limited atonement provided by the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
According to the people who subscribe to the Limited Atonement doctrine (of which there are many), nobody has freewill. We are either slaves of righteousness or slaves of sin. Yet adherents to the Limited Atonement doctrine will tell you they are sinners, unrighteous, and deceitful of heart. To back up their claims they will pluck texts out of context. Meanwhile, these deceitful people, for that is what they claim they are, believe they are telling the truth. Now who could trust anybody with a deceitful heart? Nevertheless, their deception is clear to everyone but themselves.
Text Out Of Context
The following text is interpreted as people not being able to know the thoughts and ways of God and therefore they are wicked. This fits in with the idea of a deceitful heart.
  • For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
However, if we read the text in context, we learn that the wicked man (with a deceitful heart) has to forsake his ways, that is repent and seek the Lord, while they are able to call upon Him. This way they can begin to know God’s thoughts and ways, which are not those that they have been practicing in their wickedness.
  • Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:7-9)
In summary, we can conclude that it makes sense to consider every text in its context within the chapters, book and Testament so that it aligns with the overall message of the Bible, if we are to arrive at the truth of a matter. Those who are deceived add to the Bible by creating philosophy and doctrines that the Old and New Testaments do not support. These are such doctrines as "limited atonement", or "we have no freewill", or  "we possess deceitful hearts" and "we are unable to know the thoughts and ways of God". Such people who subscribe to these views are not really seeking the truth. According to the Bible, while we can, we are to forsake our wicked ways; in doing this, we are to seek the Lord God. After death, the opportunity no longer exists.

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