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Biblical Context Matters

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Each of us has a list of colossal moments in our lives that mark us, change us, and set a true turning point. Such as the events of 9/11, graduation from college, moving into our first place, and experiencing our first (and hopefully last) global pandemic.

They are the context markers of our lives.

The historical, political, geographical, cultural, and religious influence of each of those events (and so many more) have shaped each of our lives uniquely. And though our lists of colossal moments may include a lot of similarities, the way we experienced these moments may be very different because individually we possess unique perspectives.

A Shift in Perspective

Growing up, I loved attending Sunday School and my youth group.  To me, Vacation Bible School was a delight!  I learned the fragmented stories of the Bible, and of the main characters you’d learn about in a children’s Bible. I also learned that if I was a good person, like those people in the stories, then God would love me and let me live with Him in heaven one day.

Was it taught that way?  I cannot say for sure, because I was a child.
Was it the big takeaway that I received from the teaching?  Absolutely.

But it wasn’t until I began attending a different church, at 30, that my eyes were opened to experience and receive the true Gospel message for the first time.

A shift in perspective allowed me to see that I didn’t have to scratch and scrape my way to heaven.  The ticket had already been purchased for me, through the blood of Jesus.  And I learned that none of us are “too far gone”.

Then seven years later, as I researched books to potentially offer online Biblical studies through this sweet online ministry, which God had allowed me to resurrect after a season of pursuing another direction of ministry, I found even further clarity in the Gospel message through Kristi McLelland’s study, Jesus and Women.

Biblical Context Matters

“The Bible was given to us that we might know who the living God is, what He’s like, and what it is like to walk with Him – to know Him.”

kristi mclelland

As I began to learn more about the character of Jesus through studying His context markers, the time in history, geography, as well as the cultural, political, and religious influences of His life, I began to better understand His teachings.  And much to my surprise, I found reading the Bible exciting and full of glimpses of the heart of God.

I had spent my years in youth group, church camp, college, and even young adult Bible study trying to see where I fit into God’s story, and what I could learn about myself through Scripture.  During those years, each time I sat down to read my Bible left me frustrated, doubtful, and more confused about what God wanted for my life; what He wanted from me.

We invariably bring to the text all that we are, with all of our experiences, culture, and prior understandings of words and ideas. Sometimes what we bring to the text, unintentionally to be sure, leads us astray, or else causes us to read all kinds of foreign ideas into the text.

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

Reading Through a Middle Eastern Lens

When I began studying Scripture, through a Middle Eastern Lens, looking at each account from the perspective of the original audience, it was suddenly as if a switch had been flipped.  It was Dorothy of Kansas, stepping into the land of Oz.  The black and white gave way to technicolor.

The Bible is an Eastern book.  We see it through the colored glasses of Western culture. Much is lost.  We miss the subtleties of humor and many of the underlying assumptions. We do not understand the ingrained attitudes that illuminate a story or illustration.  Christ spoke to a Middle Eastern peasant people.  Even most of the educated world have had their roots in that peasantry.  What lies between the lines, what is felt and not spoke, is of deepest significance.

Kenneth Bailey

Biblical context matters, because it helps us to reframe our studies, to focus on where we can find God, rather than ourselves, in the stories, as well as how everything points back to Jesus.

It was there all along.  I just didn’t know what I was looking for.

I just needed to shift my gaze away from myself and onto God.  It was there that I found a peace in my life and a sense of confidence in my faith and my study of Scripture.  

All I can say is, that it was found in the context.

When we take the time to look, with the right perspective and through the right lens, we’ll find each page of Scripture is a context clue to the heart of God.  It is a collection of His colossal moments.

Intentional Filling Online Community | Intentionalfilling.com

Biblical Context is important

and finding a safe space to explore it is too!
  • Community of supportive Jesus-loving Gal Pals
  • Resources to better understand the Bible
  • A safe space to ask ALL of the hard questions
  • Learn from real-life examples of faith
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If you love Jesus & want to get to know Him better, this is the place!

Plus the encouragement, friendships, prayers, and support are pretty good too… just saying.

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