Understanding The Bible
Studying The Bible
Lesson 10 - "Define the Context of the Word"

"Study To Show Yourself Approved Unto God,"  2 Timothy 2:15
J. Deering,

Lesson 10 - Define The Context of the Word

The Context of a verse, paragraph, chapter, or book, is a compilation of the following:

We've all probably heard the expression "you took that out of context!"  Whether it was something said across a backyard fence, a courtroom drama, or something read in a newspaper, it is all the same issue; "If you had heard all of the conversation you would never have drawn the conclusion that you did!"

The same is true of the study of the Scriptures.  Each verse cannot just stand on its own.  It is part of a moment in time, a place in time.  Each verse's meaning is only a part of the whole meaning of all the verses around it.

Peter said it in 1 Peter 20:20-21

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

This scripture is not talking about your interpretation of a verse versus someone else's interpretation.  It is stating that no individual verse of scripture can stand alone.  This is important because God, through the Holy Spirit, brought about the scriptures from HIS INTERPRETATION.  They mean what HE meant them to mean.  Therefore, each and every bit of scripture MUST fit together into a PERFECT finished product.  Not a collection of "bits" of scripture.

In light of this, make sure that you take the list above and check out each verse under study with the verses around it - do they agree?  Check out the paragraphs around it - do they agree? Check out the chapter, the other chapters, and the book. Lastly, does your conclusion about the meaning of your verse match what the WHOLE BIBLE has to say on the issue?  This may seem like a big task, especially if you are fairly new to studying the Bible.  However, as we have mentioned before, feel free to "Stand on the Shoulders of Giants," (C. E. Mason Jr.) using other Bible Study helps.

Move to the Next Lesson: Lesson 11 - "Compare the Word"