October 6, 2019 - Context is King

Frontline protection against twisting Scripture


Rightly handling God’s Word means interpreting it in context.

Immediate Context

Rightly handling God’s Word means interpreting in light of the immediate context.

This is probably the single greatest contributing factor to misinterpreting the Bible.



“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

   - Philippians 4:13, ESV


  • I can dunk a basketball with Jesus’ help.
  • God will make me successful at whatever I want.

Practice Verse 1


“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

   - John 12:32, ESV


  • When Jesus ascends, he will draw all people to himself.
  • When Jesus is exalted in our evangelism/preaching, he will draw all people to himself.


Practice Verse 2


Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV)


  • Christian women are prohibited from braiding their hair.
  • Christian women are prohibited from wearing gold jewelry.


Practice Verse 3


19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:15-20)


  • You can have anything you want if you get someone to pray for it with you.
  • Sparsely-attended Christian gatherings are still a success if there are 2 or 3 people present because Jesus then comes, too.


Practice Verse 4


“Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

   - Mark 10:24b-25


There was a gate in Jerusalem called “The Eye of the Needle” and camels had a hard time going through it.  They needed to kneel and crawl to make it through which was very difficult.

Prove or disprove this interpretation using ONLY the text of the passage (no study notes, etc.)


Practice Verse 5


 “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…” (1 Cor 10:13b)


God will never give you more than you can handle.


Practice Verse 6


 “28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) (cf. 3:23-29)


God intends no distinctions be made between men and women.

Historical Context

Rightly handling God’s Word requires understanding the author, audience, and occasion.

Practice Verse 1

 “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (Romans 1:15, ESV)

  • Cf. 1:1, 5-8, 10-11

Study Bibles book introductions are great helps for this purpose.

  • Who is the “I” or “we”?
  • Who is the “you”? 
  • What problem is the author addressing?

Literary Context

Rightly handling God’s Word means interpreting in light of the type of literature it is.

You read Ikea instructions differently than a love letter.  You read poetry differently than you read a novel.  You read motivational posters differently than you read the newspaper.

Pastor Chad will be covering this next week.

Canonical Context

Rightly handling God’s Word means interpreting in light of the rest of God’s Word.

Cross-references and study Bible study notes are very helpful. 

There’s no substitute for regularly immersing yourself in God’s Word.


 “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

   - James 2:24, ESV

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”

   - Romans 3:28

Practice Verse 1


Isaiah 53:4-5, ESV:

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.


Is Isaiah talking about spiritual healing or spiritual healing in these verses?  How can you be certain?

Consider: Matthew 8:14-17, 1 Peter 2:24

Redemptive-Historical Context

Rightly handling God’s Word means interpreting in light of how it fits into God’s redemptive plan.



14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Immediate Redemptive Context

Isaiah 7:1-8, 10, 16

Long-term Redemptive Context

““Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23)

 “31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus….“34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” ” (Luke 1:31, 34, ESV)

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