How can I make sure I’m not taking scripture out of context?

Via dolarossa

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I’ve heard this being said numerous times.
I admit I haven’t yet fully read the bible yet.
So most days I just click on a scripture and see how it applies to my life. Sometimes it’s a hit and I get A revealation, Sometimes nothing comes up that I can do something about.
So I’m wondering if it’s because I haven’t had the full picture
Also I’ve heard of “devotionals” and don’t know what they are. Or how to do them.

do you guys do these devotionals?
im aware most of you guys are pastors. Or more mature in your walk with the Lord...And my church is shut at the moment. But they told me they don’t do bible lessons.
If you have any insights into what you think will help..
I think I’m just looking for a bit of structure to help with my walk

so Let me have it thanks
 
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AtomicSnowflake

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Good question...
How about an example...
First step is always pray first. Always go to God FIRST, and ask Him to guide you in your reading & studies of His holy word... to reveal what He would have you know, and to open you eyes and ears to see and hear it, and your heart to receive it & treasure it... and to help guide you in applying it into your life in accordance to His will and purpose.
Then you begin to read...

Let's say you read this...

[Luke 14:26 KJV]
26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.


So... you read this and think, wow.... that's harsh! Why am I supposed to hate my parents, children, brothers and sisters?! -That doesn't sound right...

(Maybe you wonder about the particular translation itself, so you look at another translation version... or several...)

26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
[Luke 14:26 ESV]

26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple.
[Luke 14:26 NIV]

26 "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison--your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
[Luke 14:26 NLT]

------------
Ok... we see that doing this didn't help much... but if you look closely, you'll notice the NLT does contain the words, "by comparison"....
-----------
But it's still a bit "fuzzy"... so let's look some more..
what do the surrounding scriptures say?

Definition(lexicon)- Why was that word or phrase translated that way? What's the definition of the original wording?
Is this word or term used elsewhere in the Bible?
What was the custom/tradition/belief at the time?
-------------
If we take a few minutes to research a bit... we will see that the word "hate" is used quite a few times... yet it doesn't always mean the same thing! (Our English language is pretty limited sometimes.)

Sometimes it does mean "hate" as we think of it... yet other times it can mean, to love less.

That would make more sense here... if we view that scripture with this definition in mind...
We can get a better idea of what is being said.
----
Since we know from some of our other scripture reading that we are suppose to place God above everything & everyone... then it would make sense to look at it like saying...
-----

"If you want to be my disciple, you'll have to put me first in your life. If there is anything you love more than me, then you cannot be my disciple."
(me paraphrasing it a bit.)

==============

There are many great sites that have study aids included within them...
(just keep in mind, some are more reliable than others... use your discernment and test everything against what the scriptures say, so that you are not mislead.)

dictionaries
concordances
commentaries
lectures
sermons
expositions
word & topic studies
culture & history of the people

There are also some really good study Bibles on the market, as well as a few translations/versions that may be a bit easier to use for those places where you get a bit stuck.


======================
(btw- I am not any kind of pastor or teacher... and I'm very much still learning & growing myself... I'm sure others can also add some great tips and advice.)








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AtomicSnowflake

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It also occurred to me, that you may find the amplified Bible helpful for some instances..
In the example above, it reads:

26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple.







-----
"Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMP),
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.
www.Lockman.org"
MODERATOR'S CAUTION:
The link in this post goes to a website which sells goods or services or solicits donations. Members are advised to be wary of ANY such donation requests or sales and to research the group or individual making the request or sales and to PRAY before sending ANY donation or before purchasing any goods or services.
 
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Sep 3, 2009
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I’ve heard this being said numerous times.
I admit I haven’t yet fully read the bible yet.
So most days I just click on a scripture and see how it applies to my life. Sometimes it’s a hit and I get A revealation, Sometimes nothing comes up that I can do something about.
So I’m wondering if it’s because I haven’t had the full picture
Also I’ve heard of “devotionals” and don’t know what they are. Or how to do them.

do you guys do these devotionals?
im aware most of you guys are pastors. Or more mature in your walk with the Lord...And my church is shut at the moment. But they told me they don’t do bible lessons.
If you have any insights into what you think will help..
I think I’m just looking for a bit of structure to help with my walk

so Let me have it thanks
My 1st thought is that if you attend a church that DOES NOT do Bible lessons........Find another church!!!!!!

A church that does not do or is not ground in the Bible is not a Christian church at all.

As for "Context". Yes, it is the most important thing to consider in Bible study.

Taking verses out of context leads to all kinds of error and misunderstanding. Understanding context begins with four principles:
1. literal meaning (what it says),
2. historical setting (the events of the story, to whom is it addressed, and how it was understood at that time),
3. grammar (the immediate sentence and paragraph within which a word or phrase is found)
4. synthesis (comparing it with other parts of Scripture for a fuller meaning).

Context is crucial to biblical exegesis in that it is one of its most important fundamentals. After we account for the literal, historical, and grammatical nature of a passage, we must then focus on the outline and structure of the book, then the chapter, then the paragraph. All of these things refer to "context." To illustrate, it is like looking at Google Maps and zooming in on one house.
 
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I just read the whole chapter or book first. It's easier with a paper copy.

Do it in chunks and read it through. You don't need to read Genesis through to Revelation in order, but I would say it does help to start with Genesis.
Because the New Testament is shorter it takes less time to read through, but there is a natural progression from the four gospels, to the book of Acts, then the letters.
You may not fully understand the Book of Revelation if you haven't read the books of the prophets first from the Old Testament though.
For a new believer I would say an easy one to start with is book of Proverbs cos you can do read a chapter a day, for 31 days (one month). You can even break it down to a verse a day as the sayings are short (it is sayings, not a narrative, like the other books are).
Or you could read Psalms, they can be read, sung, or prayed through, there are 150 of them, so if you could read one or a couple each day.

When I was first starting out I would read illustrated Bibles and you can get children's versions. There are some handbooks to help you with the history maps, dictionaries, etc. Remember it was originally written in Hebrew and Greek! While 'updated' or modern day versions may help, remember the Bible is a very ancient and written across a thousand of years ago. Of course times have changed but you can't retroactively update it to modern times a lot of it is for that time that people would have understood. (Jesus is never gonna be completely appropriated like Shakespeare's Hamlet becomes Disney's Lion King)
But the most important thing is to pray as you go, and keep reading and it will make more sense as you keep reading scripture.

Genesis is a grand story. Exodus and Joshua is exciting and dramatic. Kings, Chronicles and Judges are (horrible) histories. Job, Ruth, Esther and Jonah are like little biographies. Prophets are a bit doom and gloomy though. Song of Solomon is lovey dovey. Eccleciastes is for the jaded, Lamentations is sad. Isaiah is like a mini-Bible.

Gospels are mostly Jesus telling stories, (parables) and then his crucifixtion and resurrection. Acts is action adventure. The letters are like advice columns. Revelation by far is my favourite though, because it's about heaven.
 
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Do I do devotionals? Yes sometimes. I like the ones that you can write in.
There are lots of different kinds out there. The good ones will have a verse, an explanation, and then maybe a prayer to reflect on. You can get ones emailed to you everyday, or you can subscribe to little booklets (mostly free) or you could buy one that's a book that might have 40 days worth.

But I would do it after reading the Bible first because, with devotionals it's often going to be the devotional writer's own take on things (and they may reference things like pop culture or work or stuff you aren't even familiar with) and they are never going to cover all what God might be showing you personally.
 
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AtomicSnowflake

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Genesis is a grand story. Exodus and Joshua is exciting and dramatic. Kings, Chronicles and Judges are (horrible) histories. Job, Ruth, Esther and Jonah are like little biographies. Prophets are a bit doom and gloomy though. Song of Solomon is lovey dovey. Eccleciastes is for the jaded, Lamentations is sad. Isaiah is like a mini-Bible.

Gospels are mostly Jesus telling stories, (parables) and then his crucifixtion and resurrection. Acts is action adventure. The letters are like advice columns. Revelation by far is my favourite though, because it's about heaven.
Lanolin
Nice job! :) I like the way you said that.
 
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Also I’ve heard of “devotionals” and don’t know what they are. Or how to do them.
There are many daily devotionals. Let me suggest "our daily bread". You can go to their site to read it or get a paper version every month, or install the YouVersion app on your phone, which has that plus Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" and lots of others.

I also suggest you try to read through the New Testament. Eventually you will probably want to read the whole Bible, but it's probably best not to rush into it and get discouraged. If you do start with Genesis and get tired of reading in Leviticus, just laugh and remember I told you so, and go on to something more interesting like the Psalms or even the prophetic books if you are bold.
 
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There are many daily devotionals. Let me suggest "our daily bread". You can go to their site to read it or get a paper version every month, or install the YouVersion app on your phone, which has that plus Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" and lots of others.

I also suggest you try to read through the New Testament. Eventually you will probably want to read the whole Bible, but it's probably best not to rush into it and get discouraged. If you do start with Genesis and get tired of reading in Leviticus, just laugh and remember I told you so, and go on to something more interesting like the Psalms or even the prophetic books if you are bold.
Agreed!

Just to add to your comment in a positive way, I would suggest to anyone new or learning to start with the gospel of John. John is the only Bible writer who introduces the Lord Jesus Christ "BEFORE the Creation" and then takes Him to the "New heaven and New Earth."
 

Gerlinde24

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I’ve heard this being said numerous times.
I admit I haven’t yet fully read the bible yet.
So most days I just click on a scripture and see how it applies to my life. Sometimes it’s a hit and I get A revealation, Sometimes nothing comes up that I can do something about.
So I’m wondering if it’s because I haven’t had the full picture
Also I’ve heard of “devotionals” and don’t know what they are. Or how to do them.

do you guys do these devotionals?
im aware most of you guys are pastors. Or more mature in your walk with the Lord...And my church is shut at the moment. But they told me they don’t do bible lessons.
If you have any insights into what you think will help..
I think I’m just looking for a bit of structure to help with my walk

so Let me have it thanks
I have often tried to reduce the content of a chapter to one sentence. Not easy, because a chapter of the Bible is often very complex. That is why I have made it my own to examine a chapter according to the following criteria:

1. What are the key messages of a chapter (What is the theme?)
2. What was the time like then? What were the problems then?
3. Do we have the same problems today?
4. Has it been translated correctly? (Lookup in Bible lexicon and ancient languages).

I always look at a Bible text in the textual and historical context. Some passages in the Bible are about slaves. Today, thank God, we do not have slaves. Some passages in the Bible speak of the subordination of women to the man. Today we no longer have that.
Societies and knowledge are changing. And that is what I always think of when I read the Bible.
 
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I think we still have slaves and subordination maybe not in our own families and workplaces but it still is prevalent in many places around the world. Some of it has just changed form. I think most of us are familiar with wage-slavery, in that we are in debt to the bank with a huge mortgage, many people will have to work all their lives to pay off. Entire countries are also in debt to the world bank, and they live a life that is basically slavery, in deep debt to those who are richer who won't forgive those debts.
 
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Things like pornography and prostitution are still prevalent, even online, to to say we no longer have that is also a bit of a misnomer. many women still aren't treated with love and respect either, and its still a quite common attitude amongst men to dismiss women as inferior. Sadly. Lots of #metoo exposes, only just now because for centuries women have been afraid to speak out. Why because they'd lose their jobs. families and livelihoods.
 
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The Holy Spirit inspires the word, and interpretation. This is something that happens with spiritual growth. Over time you will get better in reading and understanding scripture.