Taking Scripture Out of Context

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It seems like we are in the midst of a rash of popular authors taking scripture out of context. I have mainly noticed this in word studies used in works like Purpose Driven Life and the Beth Moore studies (like this one). They know the point they are trying to make and search and search until they find the most obscure way a Greek or Hebrew word is used and then present it as if that is how the people heard that word in that verse.

Lexicons are great when used properly. But to the uneducated they can quickly make Biblical studies and lesson preparation into something akin to statistical interpretation – you can make it say nearly anything you want if you don’t use the proper procedures.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone who has done this. And Beth, Rick…if you are reading this 🙂 I hope it doesn’t discourage you. We just need to try to approach the text to discover what it has to tell us and not to find what we want it to say. We should not try every possible translation or the most obscure glosses in the lexicon to make our point. We are trying to make God’s point and that means we approach scripture to listen and not to speak. We come to scripture to help it form us and not to make it conform to our likeness and opinions. When we do that we will have a hard time taking scripture out of context.

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