The Importance Of Reading The Scriptures In Context

5 And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” -Matthew 16:5-7

What happened to Jesus’ disciples can happen to any one of us if we don’t see the context of what we are either reading or hearing something being explained to us. Jesus was teaching His disciples to be careful of the Pharisees’ false teachings through their traditions that they added to the Scriptures. Jesus’ followers didn’t pay attention that He was talking about religious leader’s teaching which automatically makes the word leaven to be spiritual and not literal. Now, if the person Jesus was talking about were in the business of baking bread, then we can conclude that he would mean literal bread, but since the men were spiritual leaders, it makes the word spiritual as well. That is how context works.

Jesus clarifies their misunderstanding and says…“11 How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you about bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” -Matthew 16:11-12

Apart from the Holy Spirit living inside of a person to understand the Scripture, context is essential to know the meaning of words and phrases. Without context, you can cause the line to tangle up, making a mess. What you will get is whatever you want the Scriptures to say. That is very dangerous as you can cause people to believe in false doctrine, having a part in sending them to hell for all eternity.

This is how context works. Let’s say that I put a cup of water in front of you. The water inside the cup is measured half way. I precede to ask the following. Is the cup of water half full or half empty? What answer would you give? One would say half empty and the other half full. No one will know exactly the right answer. Why? because there is no context to the question. Sometimes when we are reading the Scriptures, we can come to a verse or verses that might seem hard to get the correct meaning of it.

The first thing to do is to pray to the Lord for understanding and the second thing is to ask certain questions about the passage you are having a hard time getting like I need to know the meaning of this word in the original language? Why did he say this or that? What is the back story to this verse? Many questions to ponder. If the verses above or below the passage you are trying to understand is not made clear, then you have to go back a chapter or maybe two to get the whole story behind the verse you want to understand.

So, let’s get the context behind the cup of water that is half filled. If the cup was full and half of it was emptied, you can rightly say, it is half empty. Now, if the cup was empty and someone filled it half way, you can say, it is half full.The context will give you the right answer. That is what you have to do when you are studying the Scriptures.


Two Methods Of Interpreting Scripture

[A professing believer stated this] “Even prior to the 2020 election, I’ve heard pastors and bishops quote and even misinterpret 2 Chronicles 7:14.”

“This passage focused on the Lord appearing to Solomon and saying that He has chosen Jerusalem as “this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice” in verse 12. In chapter 7, the “Chronicler” of this chapter focuses on the sacrifices given to the Lord and the celebrations of the Feasts of Tabernacle.”

If we are to go by what is said in the statement above, so then, how can we live by it? God’s Word is what transforms us into the image of Christ. If we don’t apply them, we will continue to stay stagnant in our faith. When interpreting Old Testament passages, we must understand that it has two methods of interpretation.

The Two Methods Of Interpretation

  • The Scriptures are to be interpreted literally unless otherwise noted in the passage that it’s using figurative language. The meaning of symbols are either found in the context or through cross-reference [Scripture interprets Scripture].
  • All passages, regardless if it has to do with Israel or with how Christians ought to live, have life application. In the Old Testament, application is applied through principle. Principle is the message conveyed, which shows God’s standard. Since God’s righteous standards doesn’t change, we can see its application for us today.

When following these two methods, you can see that the whole Bible contains life application. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, you can live out God’s Word.

Let’s use the passage in question, for example [2 Chronicles 7:14].

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

-2 Chronicles 7:14, NASB 2020

In the passage above, God is talking to His people that if they repent and seek His face, He will respond in their favor. The application here is that if you commit to the Lord Jesus Christ and live a life of repentance when you fall short of God’s standard, reading the Scripture through prayer, the Lord will forgive your trespasses. He will heal you and provide for your basic needs. 

The same concept is found in Matthew 6:33, which says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” 

Jesus is saying in Matthew 6:33 that if you seek His interest first (the kingdom and His righteousness), He will take care of all your wants that you need as mentioned in verse 31, which says, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’

In the New Testament, it sheds some light on the subject of life application. In 1 Corinthians 10, it talks about what happened in the Old Testament with the children of Israel. The passage tells us that we as believers need to apply the principle of obedience to God’s Word, as it is warning us not to imitate the evil practices of the disobedient. See below.

6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they indeed craved them. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND TO DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.” 8 Nor are we to commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

-1 Corinthians 10:6-8, NASB 2020

Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

The Old and New Testament contain instructions for us to follow. The word “instruction” just means Godly rules that we ought to apply to our lives as it will direct and benefit us.

1 Timothy 4:16-17 amplifies how the Scriptures are supposed to be used in a believer’s life. Not only does it tell you how to use it, but it puts the believer at the level that he needs to be in: fully equipped to accomplish the will of God.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.

-1 Timothy 4:16-17, NASB 2020

The Scriptures were written so that we may live according to them. They are not filled with nice slogans that we read, enjoy, and then simply move on without putting them into practice. The Word of God is full of promises for all who have believed in Jesus Christ for the building up of the faith. Jesus in Matthew 4:4 said to the devil, “But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” 

We are to live out the Scriptures through life application. When you read the Bible, ask yourself, “How can I apply these passages to my life?”

Jesus also said in Matthew 7:24-25 24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

Be a wise man and read His Word with the aid of the Holy Spirit (prayer), applying them so that you may stand your ground in the day of battle with the strength that the Lord provides.

Who Are The Ones Who Know The Truth And Listens To Jesus’ Voice?

John 18:37

37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.

“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.

Being educated and even having a high status in this world doesn’t make one wise or to know the truth about God.

“Everyone who is of the truth” Those who are humble and would submit to God’s conviction are the ones that would be of the truth.

“listens to my voice” We are not here to give our opinion [eisegesis] on the Scriptures but we are to let it tell us what it is saying [exegesis].

Jesus is asking us today, to listen to Him and is not asking you what you think about Him. When we don’t listen, we come up with many different Jesus’s and start walking a path of destruction that will also condemn people to hell just because we didn’t take the time to open our hearts to what the Scripture is actually saying.

When you come to the Bible and mock what it says and think that God doesn’t exist because you don’t hear from Him, stop and think, how you are approaching Him. 

Isaiah 66:2 

2 My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.