Let’s run to the store and get a coke

Let’s run to the store and get a coke

It’s been far too long between posts. I apologize life just got busy. But that’s not why you’re here, you want to read some new perspective, or find some nugget in the Bible that you hadn’t noticed. Well I don’t know about some new nugget, but I do have some new perspective for you. Over the last few months as I have been studying and learning new perspectives continue to jump out at me, sometimes they’re valuable, other times they seem to cause me more confusion than peace. So take everything that I say regarding perspective for just that, another perspective. (Wow that word is getting annoying to type)

“Context is vital” is something that I’ve said for years. I often find myself getting annoyed when someone tries to quote a scripture starting halfway in a sentence. We do that because that’s where someone at some point in history decided to put a verse marker. But is that the right way? When we were having our Tuesday Bible studies we would read an entire chapter of whatever book we were studying to ensure we knew what the author was saying. Sometimes we even had to keep reading into the next chapter, or start at the end of the previous one just so we could be sure we didn’t miss the contextual importance of the few verses we wanted to really discuss. We felt this contextual importance of the section was key to our understanding the verses as they were written. But then my cousin started posting things about context on his Facebook page, and it began to make sense that context isn’t just the verses around the verse you’re looking at, it’s much deeper than that.

If I were to say to you “Let’s run to the store and get a coke” would you know what that means? Like really means? You can be honest with yourself and say, vaguely. Without knowing me personally, where I live, what I drink, you really have only a vague understanding of what I am saying. Let’s make it a little clearer how little that we really know about the statement. I have a friend who if he said “Let’s run to the store and get a coke”, probably literally means run, he runs a lot. Or another friend who simply means “Let’s drive to the store and get a coke”. That’s just one single word from the phrase that without the proper context of who is speaking, where they are, or who their talking to, we can’t really know what they mean. Let’s pick another word, coke, in the rest of the world they likely would mean Coca Cola, but we’re in the south, it could mean anything with carbonation. Location matters, almost as much as speaker. I think we can all agree that “store” in this phrase could be any number of things based on person and/or region.

While this is a little bit of a simple explanation of the gravity of context, it is eye opening when you begin to really apply it to the Scripture. Remember those verses that we like to pick and choose to say what we want? Let’s look at an easy one 1 Tim 5:23. “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. (NASB)”. Well look there! Paul says it’s not good for us to drink only water and that we should drink some wine every now and then! While, yes Paul was saying that we have to remember that Paul was writing to Timothy, not you or me. We discussed in our Bible study that likely Paul knew that Timothy struggled with stomach issues from their long times together, and was giving him fatherly advice to help with the issues. Does this mean that it’s not OK for us to drink wine? No, but it does mean that we can’t use this verse specifically to make our case. There are so many cases of scriptures being taken out of the context of who, what, when, where, and why that I can’t begin to write about them.

As you are studying the Word, remember that context matters. Not just the verses surrounding the verse you’re looking at, but the entire context. It makes for good study when you begin to see exactly what God meant when He had the words penned, it can change your life. Don’t be afraid of new perspectives on things, sometimes looking at the persepective of the original author and the original reader can help you to understand exactly why the verse matters today because as I think we all know, it all matters.

I’ll be back more often, I really enjoy writing here lately, and business has picked up enough that I can step aside and spend my time doing more things that I enjoy. I hope you’ve enjoyed this and I hope you’ll take it with you next time you begin to study a passage. Leave a comment below with your thoughts and your studies, I’m always looking for more things to read!


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