How many times have we read those memes about how punctuation can really change the context and understanding of the sentence?! They’re some of my favorite things to see on my Facebook page. You know what I’m talking about…the ones where one comma can change the sentence from “I like eating kittens and sleep” to “I like eating, kittens, and sleep.” What about the times we get just one part of story from someone and we realize we need to see the complete picture, not just the one piece they’re telling us?
Context is king, and it’s even more important to understand the context of verses in the Bible to fully comprehend what God is saying in the passages of scripture! It’s very easy to take a verse at face value. We pick it out because it sounds helpful or we think it’s perfect according to our situation.
While those verses ARE helpful, it’s important to understand what the verse is talking about as we use these verses. There are many around us who may not fully understand scripture, and it’s important that we are not misrepresenting the Bible.
Let’s look at a few of the ones I’ve been researching:
James 1:5—“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given him.”
If my Table 8 Bible study group heard this from me once, they heard it from me 100 times during our study of the book of James that many use this verse to preach the prosperity gospel. “If you ask, He gives and He gives GENEROUSLY! Keep asking!”
That’s not what He says, though. He doesn’t say ask for stuff. He says if you lack WISDOM, ask and He will give it you. This isn’t about what financial gain you can receive but rather wisdom. As well, if you read the verses before, James is talking about trials producing endurance and allowing it to have its perfect result. This is about wisdom as you endure!
1 Corinthians 6:19—“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
I actually love this verse. I often heard growing up this verse being related to drinking, smoking, sex outside of marriage, overeating, etc. While I won’t negate that because your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, it’s important to treat your body well in relation to all of that. But when you look at the context surrounding the verses, this verse is referring to sexual immorality! Paul is saying that sexual immorality can truly invade not only your outside self but your inner soul, as well. Sex is not ‘just sex.’ It’s something that, when not honored in the biblical way, can hurt your heart and soul.
Friends, as I study the Bible and dig deep, I’m gaining such a better understanding of the scripture. The study clarifies how it pertains to me and it has me digging even deeper to see the entire Bible and not just the bits that I can fit into a catchy phrase to share as I’ve done in the past.
I pray that as we go through our studies this week, as we dig into the scripture, that we are asking God to allow us to see it as a whole. Let’s challenge ourselves to see the full context of what we’re reading and allow God to reveal exactly what His word says!