People have often said that reading the Bible is like reading someone else’s mail. It was originally addressed to particular people in a particular time. Getting to know their circumstances can help us better hear, understand and apply what is being said in the Bible.
I want to share a stellar example of this from Dr. Richard Oster of Harding School of Theology. He did a lecture on head coverings from 1 Corinthians 11 a number of years ago that I ran across and have saved for over 15 years. He goes into Roman worship practices as depicted in archaeological discoveries (friezes, busts, statues, and coins) that show Roman worship practices that inform our understanding of what Paul is up against in Corinth.
I hope you will take the 30+ minutes to listen to his lecture, observe the included pictures, and appreciate how reading outside the Bible helps us understand what is inside the Bible!