Studying the Bible in Context
Using Bible Backgrounds
Backgrounds do not . . .
. . . Save a person or even keep them faithful.
One does NOT have to understand backgrounds in order to be saved or to be faithful.
. . . Make one more spiritual.
Backgrounds do . . .
. . . Help to make the text come to life.
. . . Help to keep the text in the context of the writing.
- Everything in life has a context.
- Context of an event or writing does not change.
- Context is important to understanding the true meaning of the text.
Asking the right questions to get the biblical background.
- What does the passage say?
- What does the rest of Scripture teach about this subject?
- What is the theme of the book or letter?
- What spiritual lessons may we learn?
- What are the original meanings of words?
- Where did the action take place?
- Where are the cities?
- Where are the mountains and the valleys?
- Where are the regions or countries?
- Where are the bodies of water?
- Who are the main characters?
- Who is speaking or writing?
- Who is the person writing or speaking to?
- Who do the pronouns in the text refer to?
- When did the event take place?
- When was the book or letter written?
- How did the text apply to the readers?
- How does it apply to the modern readers?
- Why is this text important?
- An author’s own explanation of his meaning takes precedence over any other interpretation.
- The interpretation of a text must respect the writer’s purpose.
- The simplest and most natural interpretation must be preferred.
- Good interpretation will, in general, move from being very hard to tell what it means to clarity.
- Any interpretation must be in harmony with grammar, rhetoric, logic and consistency.
- Good interpretation recognizes the condition of the writing.
- An event is to be regarded as miraculous only when it may not be consistently interpreted otherwise.
- Good interpretation requires the discriminating use of cross references, parallel passages and study Bible notes.