When Critics Ask (Mistake #4)


Failing to Understand the Context of the Passage.

“Perhaps the most common mistake of critics is to take a text out of its proper context. As the adage goes, “A text out of context is a pretext.” One can prove anything from the Bible by this mistaken procedure. The Bible says “there is no God” ( Ps. 14:1 ). Of course, the context is that “The fool has said in his heart, `There is no God’ ” ( Ps. 14:1 ). One may claim that Jesus admonished us “not to resist an evil” ( Matt. 5:39 ), but the anti-retaliatory context in which He cast this statement must not be ignored. Likewise, many fail to understand the context of Jesus’ statement to “Give to him who asks you,” as though one had an obligation to give a gun to a small child who asked, or nuclear weapons to Saddam Hussein just because he asked. Failure to note that meaning is determined by context is perhaps the chief sin of those who find fault with the Bible, as comments on numerous passages in this book will illustrate.”

Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. 1992. When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties . Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

2 Responses to “When Critics Ask (Mistake #4)”

  1. The way to study the Bible is one complete book at a time. The study provides context for each verse because you’re reading all the verses. The entire Bible is telling one story, and each book of the Bible is one component of that story. The Bible is not a grocery store, in which we stroll down the aisle picking out the verses we like and skipping all the others, looking for ones that please us.

  2. I would agree 100%. No Cherry Picking allowed. Very good observation using the grocery store analogy. Many people do pick out the ones they like and the ones they don’t like and that is how you get so much junk food in the mix.

    Good discernment.

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