Context is king in biblical interpretation


devotion column:Erasmus Makarimayi

THE text of Scriptures draws its meaning from its context. Even in our natural normal day communication, none of us would want to be quoted out of context. It therefore follows that we have no leeway of using Bible text uncontextually. Every Bible reader, scholar, teacher, preacher or expositor does her/himself good to walk within the lane of mind of the writer who was inspired to write the text by the breath of God. We don’t have the liberty to pull out a section or portion of Scripture and apply our preconceived thoughts to it. In Bible reading or study, context is king.

We do ourselves a disservice if we go to the Bible and forcefully apply our thoughts to it. Many have shipwrecked because of that. Some who were so zealous and probably well-meaning, but lacking knowledge have become heretics while the world watched.

Apostle Paul warned his son in the faith Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” Stay in the lane.

We have enough biblical warning that a time was coming in which there was going to be certain demands by hearers or listeners of messages which I would say the in-thing.

Called and God-fearing preachers have no room of twisting Scriptures to suit the taste of their audience. Should that happen, please quickly join comedy, motivational speaking or any form of drama. You will save the church of God and yourself.

There are ready hearers or listeners of skewed preaching. This is according to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” We witnessed this in the past and it’s even rampant in our times.

Not every hearer of the Gospel of Christ is after the truth but some are after other things. If you’re called by people and you don’t expect to give account to God then you’re compromised.

I have taught on this platform that Jesus Christ is the Revelation of the Scriptures. It pains me so much when waves sweep across the Christendom world when people say they have a revelation or oftentimes referred to as rhema.

They call it a now and specific word. The Bible in its original manuscript wasn’t divided into chapters and verses. It was and is the benefit of translators for easy reference. That’s why you see that even headlines to passages differ from one version to another.

There’s this school which plays with your mind and uses say Psalm 91 for divine protection and asks you to sow a seed. That’s daylight robbery.

As I have earlier stated, the Bible was written under instruction from God. He breathed into its putting together. In our interpretation, we should do so with His breath.

We are advised in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Before I conclude this portion, let me give you an example of how a text of Scripture can be mutilated. Many if not all people want to bring to a good ending anything they set their minds to and lay their hands on. In their right mind, every couple wants their marriage to subsist till the return of Christ.

Businesspeople aspire to growth and expansion of their ventures and reaping profits endlessly or as they misquote in season and out of season.

To this end, they rope in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” You probably can relate with this and it’s absolute disrespect of the spirit of the Scriptures.

I will contextualise and expand in my next instalment. In the meantime it’s good homework. You can also do yourself good by looking for the correct Scripture for the scenario described above.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.