Faithlife Sermons

Contexts of the Bible

Bible Study Methods  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 12 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

WHAT PARTS OF THE BIBLE INTIMIDATE YOU?

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Introduction to Contexts

context is the most important thing to keep your eye on when you’re studying a passage

The Handbook to Bible Study Learning to Be Passage-Oriented

Too many of the errors seen in the history of doctrine are due to disregard for contexts.

The Handbook to Bible Study Being Alert to Backgrounds and Languages

We are attempting to understand documents that were written by people who cannot explain them to us, and to people in a different age and society from any other. Simply stated, there is a communication problem.

Have you ever learned a foreign language? If so, you know that learning the words is not enough. You have to learn the mind-set, the culture, the worldview of those who speak it if you really want to understand what they are saying

KEY TERMS

HISTORICAL CONTEXT refers to where a biblical event fits into world history

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Forms of Historical Context

On the one hand, there’s the historical context of the event, what’s actually happening; but then there also is the historical context of the book in which it appears

SOCIAL CONTEXT refers to where a biblical event fits into a specific culture

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Value of Studying Biblical Social Context

This is actually, if you will, entering into a time machine and transporting yourself back into the setting of the events that we have in Scripture

LITERARY CONTEXT refers to where a biblical concept fits into genre

Essentially, literary context means first that words only have meaning in sentences, and second that biblical sentences for the most part have full and clear meaning only in relation to preceding and succeeding sentences.

The literary context is what most people mean when they talk about reading something in its context.

DANGERS OF CONTEXTS

1) Ignoring the Customs Gap

In speaking through real persons, in a variety of circumstances, over a 1,500-year period, God’s Word was expressed in the vocabulary and thought patterns of those persons and conditioned by the culture of those times and circumstances.

Deuteronomy 25:8–10 NLT
The elders of the town will then summon him and talk with him. If he still refuses and says, ‘I don’t want to marry her,’ the widow must walk over to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. Then she must declare, ‘This is what happens to a man who refuses to provide his brother with children.’ Ever afterward in Israel his family will be referred to as ‘the family of the man whose sandal was pulled off’!

2) Overlooking the Time Gap

One of the major reasons the Bible is difficult to understand is that it is an ancient book. The first five Old Testament books were written by Moses around 1400 B.C. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, was written by the Apostle John around A.D. 90. So some of the books were written about 3,400 years ago and the latest one was written about 1,900 years ago.

Philippians 2:28–30 ESV
I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

3) Dismissing the Language Gap

The Middle East, Egypt, and the southern Mediterranean nations of present-day Europe were the places where Bible people lived and traveled.

The languages in which the Bible is written—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—have peculiarities unknown in the English language.

God’s word to us was first of all God’s word to them. If they were going to hear it, it could only have come through events and in language they could have understood. Our problem is that we are so far removed from them in time, and sometimes in thought. This is the major reason one needs to learn to interpret the Bible

Proverbs 18:8 KJV 1900
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, And they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Acts 7:11 ESV
Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
Proverbs 18:8 ESV
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

In whatever place and whatever age people read the Bible, we instinctively draw from our own cultural context to make sense of what we’re reading.

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Value of Studying Biblical Social Context

And this is not the modern world by any means in the way in which society lives, the way in which people conduct themselves, the expectations that they have—all these things are very different than the way we live today

TIPS FOR HISTORICAL CONTEXTS

Tip #1: Know the Reader’s Limits

TIPS FOR HISTORICAL CONTEXTS

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Forms of Historical Context

What we don’t have is direct access to the event. What we have is a portrayal of the event. In fact, what we often have with the events that are portrayed in Scripture—in fact, what we do have—is the selective portrayal of those events. We don’t have everything that happened. We don’t have access to a videotape of what took place. What we have is an account, a remembered account of what has taken place, when we’re dealing with events.

Tip #2: Know the Author’s Bias

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Forms of Historical Context

The writer has a certain kind of lens that he uses to look at the events that he’s looking back on

Tip #3: Know the Event’s Location

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Key Historical Context

The key historical context for the material that we’re studying is, first of all, the location of the book in which the events appear

EXAMPLE:

Luke 2:1–5 ESV
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

TOOLS: Introduction to the Bible, Study Bible, Comprehensive Commentary

TIPS FOR SOCIAL CONTEXTS

Tip #1: Try to picture the social setting

The more important question of historical context, however, has to do with the occasion and purpose of each biblical book and/or its various parts.

To appreciate what is going on in Scripture, we have to reconstruct the cultural context in areas of communication, transportation, trade, agriculture, occupations, religion, perceptions of time, and so on.

Tip #2:

The Handbook to Bible Study Being Alert to Backgrounds and Languages

You will not have to proceed very far in your Bible study before you realize that you are encountering social and language features which are strange to you.

Faithlife Study Bible How to Study the Bible

In one sense, the Bible is like a world epic: It covers the sweep of history from the very beginning of creation to the end of history when our universe is radically transformed.

Tip #2: Try to picture the social thinking

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Value of Studying Biblical Social Context

the value of studying social context is kind of getting yourself reoriented to the kind of thinking and the kind of way—the way things were.

Example:

Judges 21:25 ESV
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Tools: Bible Dictionary, Archeological Study Bible, Extra-Biblical Sources

TIPS FOR LITERARY CONTEXTS

The literary context is what most people mean when they talk about reading something in its context

TIP #1: Ask, “What kind of literature is this?”

TIP #2: Ask, “what kind of literature is this?”

But to have an awareness of what the genre is able to do, and how it generates expectations for us, can help us and help orient us to what’s happening literarily in a text

We can’t read the Song of Solomon with the same cold logic that we bring to Romans. We won’t get the point of the parables through the same exhaustive word studies that might unlock truths in Galatians.

TIP #2: Ask, “What’s happening in this passage?”

BI100 Learn to Study the Bible Using Literary Context to Orient Us to the Passage

They help us to understand not only what the text is saying but how it goes about saying it.

Example:

Psalm 18:2 ESV
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Darrell L. Bock, BI100 Learn to Study the Bible, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

TOOLS: Bible Word Study, Hebrew/Greek Lexicon, Technical Commentary

CONCLUSION

God has you here in history for a reason...

Acts 17:26–27 NLT
From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
Acts 10:34–35 NLT
Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
Acts 10:34–35 NLT
Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
Acts 17:
Related Media
Related Sermons