What is context? Have you ever heard someone use this word to defend their interpretation of scripture? They will say things such as; “you don’t understand the context” “or you have taken that scripture out of context”. Context is the study of whole passages of scripture (chapters) to identify the who, what, when, where, and how of a scripture to get a better understanding of the scripture in question. People who are context junkies ignore plainly stated scriptures such as these;
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. Other translations have “own” instead of “private” as in anyone’s “own interpretation”. There’s nothing here that says anything about context or using context as a basis for scriptural interpretation. If understanding the context overrules being spiritually minded, I think it’s strange that we have no scriptural examples about this method of using “context” to determine the meaning of scripture. The reason we have no scriptures teaching us about context is because we already have instructions on this matter. Let’s look at another scripture;
1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which MAN’S WISDOM TEACHETH [context, context, context], but which the HOLY GHOST teacheth; COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL. Do you see the difference between understanding context versus being spiritually guided by the Spirit of God? You can’t understand or interpret God’s Word with a carnal mind (man’s wisdom using context). You must compare spiritual things with spiritual things. Scriptural interpretation has nothing to do with context. Context is the world’s way of discerning scripture. God laughs at such things as it is silliness.
Now, you know these theologians and bible scholars don’t have all the answers so in order for them to make sense of things they don’t understand, they make things up. An important truth that you need to understand about “context” in regards to discerning scriptural meaning is that it is not biblical. Here is what scripture says about interpreting scripture;
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN’S WISDOM, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: Context sounds just like enticing words of man’s wisdom doesn’t it? So who would you rather have teaching you? Men who demonstrate their power and wisdom from their own wills or from the power of the Spirit of God?
Let me be clear for a second. In regards to context, I am not saying that it’s not important to read and understand whole chapters. I’m saying that using context to determine scriptural truth and spiritual meaning is false. Case in point – the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; many argue that this isn’t a parable because of the context. They say that Jesus identified two characters by name which he never did in any other parables. Because of this understanding of context, this makes this story a true literal account and not a parable at all.
I find this kind of thinking to be quite silly and ridiculous but it is important for you to understand why people reason this way. It is true that Jesus does mention characters by name in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus but this by no means makes this story a literal account. This is the reason why some people will never understand the spiritual truths in scripture;
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the NATURAL MAN RECEIVETH NOT THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD: for THEY ARE FOOLISHNESS UNTO HIM: neither can he know them, because THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. Do you see what the scriptures say? Carnally minded men use “context” to interpret the meaning of scripture that is why they cannot understand spiritual things. No matter what type of method or device they use, they will not get it because they simply do not understand things concerning the spiritual. If you want to know the true spiritual meaning of the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus, click here, The Parable of the rich man and Lazarus Explained.
Let me put to rest this notion that context is how you determine scriptural interpretation. Remember this scripture?
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no PROPHECY of the scripture is of any private [own] interpretation. Keep this in mind.
Read these two Scriptures below;
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
Isaiah 40:2-5 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
What is the context of these passages of scripture? Who or what is Isaiah and Malachi talking about? Remember now that it is the prophet Isaiah and Malachi who were inspired to write these words in the Old Testament. Now let’s forward to Mark 1:2-3 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. If you are familiar with this passage of scripture, then you know that Mark is making a reference from Malachi and Isaiah about John the Baptist. Now read Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:2-5 again and tell me you can tell from the context that this was a prophecy about John the Baptist preparing the way for Christ? Now pay attention here.
Notice that Mark only uses part of Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:
Mark then does the very same thing in Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight;
I would assume that this would be a gross error in following the rules of context. This method that is seen in the book of Mark is called proof texting or using just a part of a scripture to make a point. Would we argue that Mark has taken these scriptures out of context instead of having divine inspiration interpreting scripture? I didn’t think so. This verse pretty much sums it up right here;
Mark 4:10-12 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to KNOW THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD: but unto THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time THEY SHOULD BE CONVERTED, and their sins should be forgiven them. Jesus says in His own words that it was given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t say; it has been given to you to understand the context of the mystery of the kingdom of God. At that time, the disciples didn’t even know what the parable meant that’s why they asked Jesus about the parables. Jesus is telling them about a future event;
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, and BRING ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, whatsoever I have said unto you. Jesus didn’t say, “You shall learn all things in seminary school about context after you get your master’s or doctoral degree in divinity.” The Spirit of God is all you need to understand the scriptures. The reason why many of you cannot understand these simple spiritual truths is because you are probably not spiritually converted at the moment. The sinner’s prayer is a joke and this doesn’t mean you are spiritually converted. You cannot pray Jesus in to your heart. This is but another example of man’s wisdom attempting to trump the wisdom of God. Do you think’s its strange that Jesus didn’t convert not one person during his ministry on earth? The apostles and many other believers didn’t experience spiritual conversion until Pentecost. The disciples followed Jesus for years before being spiritually converted. Many of you think you are following Jesus and truth is that it is impossible to follow Christ completely without being spiritually converted.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and PERCEIVED THAT THEY WERE UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT MEN, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. You see, you do not have to be a theologian to understand the scriptures. This verse quoted above tells us that Peter and John were pretty much stupid in terms of worldly intelligence. They weren’t consumed with the foolishness of the wisdom of men. You can’t understand God’s Word in your own selfish arrogant wisdom.
You will not begin the process of true spiritual conversion until you begin to destroy the idols of your heart including all of the false doctrines of men. I didn’t start this process until I first started to see the evils of the Christian church and the heresy that is taught there. I stopped going to church and then God revealed to me the beast (my sinful carnal self) that dwells within me. This process took place over several years and it is a continuing process. If you believe in a literal fire burning hell where God will supposedly torture most of humanity for eternity you will never be spiritually converted in this life.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the SPIRIT SPEAKETH EXPRESSLY, that in the latter times SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH, giving heed to SEDUCING SPIRITS, and DOCTRINES OF DEVILS; SPEAKING LIES IN HYPOCRISY; having their CONSCIENCE SEARED WITH A HOT IRON;