There’s Just One Answer!

The way we read Scripture makes all the difference in the world – literally. All too often, well-intentioned Bible students turn to their favorite verse and begin explaining why it holds such prominence for them.  Although there’s nothing particularly wrong with having a favorite text within Scripture, often times it is quoted out of context.  How many times have you or others you’ve heard quote Philippians 4:13?  “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (ESV).  But what is the context?  What challenge is Paul facing as he writes that text?  Chances are, our scenarios are much different from his.  But how often do we (I include myself) clumsily quote a verse not knowing the circumstances surrounding the words?  We put them on t-shirts, share them on social media, and locate them on refrigerator magnets.

Think with me for a second.  Could it be that we miss the forest for the trees?  Here’s what I mean:  Is there a chance that we fail to interpret Scripture as a whole?  In other words, when I turn to my favorite chapter or verse and quote it out of context, I miss the bigger picture.  Let me give you another example.  Pick your favorite book of the Bible.  Obviously, you’ve read the book, you may know it well, and perhaps you’ve even quoted it a time or two.  Maybe your favorite book is one tree in the midst of a large forest.  Here’s the point:  Often times, we live compartmentalized lives.  Bible study is no exception.

There are two “Testaments” – Old and New.

There are 39 “books” in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament is made up of the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets.

There are 27 “books” in the New Testament.

The New Testament includes Gospels, the beginning of the Church, some letters, and a weird book at the end.

I’ve heard some claim, “I’m a NEW Testament Chuuuuuristian.” – Read it with the included emphasis.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  I’m not intending to beat a dead horse.  But here’s the thing:  The Bible is one story.  It’s the story of how much God loves man.  In other words, as you read Philippians 4:13, what has Paul been talking about before it?  Who are these people called the Philippians?  Why would Paul write what he did?  How does the letter fit into the New Testament?  What does it say about Christ?  You see.  That’s the crux of everything in the Bible.  Jesus is the beginning and the end.  That includes the middle.  Whether it’s an Old Testament history book or a New Testament pastoral letter, the question must be, “What does this say about Jesus?”  If you can’t determine the answer, keep looking, get some wise counsel, mine the depths of the text.  But I can assure you.  Jesus is the answer!




One Response to “There’s Just One Answer!”

  1. I believe this is why the generation of young men and women who have grown up unchurched are not interested in our “quotes” from God’s Word. If we can’t give them “the bigger picture” they look at us pathetically like we are from the dark ages not able to see past the “quote” (text). I’ve seen it and it saddens me.

    Jesus is the message I preach and I need to be aware of the responsibility I have To Know.

    Great reminder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: