I’ve been guilty, and I bet you have too, of using a verse of scripture to prove a point. Sometimes, it doesn’t even mean what I’m trying to prove..
Jen Wilkin has said, and I’ve quoted often, “A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext.” This means that unless you understand the context, you don’t fully know the meaning. You may be using it to prove something it doesn’t.
To understand meaning of scriptural truth we must know the context in many ways. This includes knowing the placement of your verse regarding: chapter, book of the Bible, where it sits in the whole of the redemption story, culture where it was written, time in history, author and audience.
This takes work. It also takes time because the entire Bible is important to that verse you quote. I recently came across a verse in Psalm 119 that I’d not really noticed before. The focus for the entire chapter of Psalm 119 is God’s Word, although various synonyms are used: precepts, commands, ordinances, truth, instructions, statutes, decrees, judgments.
Verse 160 says, “The entirety of your word is truth, each of your righteous judgments endures forever.” It clearly tells us that every single word of the Bible is necessary and reliable, all of it. Not only that, it lasts forever. It never fades and it never changes.
How are you doing in putting your favorite verses in context? How much of scripture have you read? Yes, it takes work, it takes consistency, it takes study, and it is to be lived out. Ask the Lord to give you a deep hunger for His Word and I believe He truly will give you the desire to read it, and keep reading it again and again.
I love the Word more now than I ever have in my life. It gets sweeter with my age, and never, ever becomes mundane. And, I prayed for that. Will you pray with me that our hearts will grow more in love with Jesus and His Word than ever before? It’s the truth, all of it!
P.S. If you’ve never read Jen Wilkin’s book, Women of the Word, I highly recommend you do!