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Context Over Cuteness

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Hey, bud! Now that we’ve wrapped up our Fall online book study, Get Out of Your Head, by Jennie Allen, I’m so excited to share with you that we’re going to be moving into a series called “Grow Your Faith” where you’ll get to hear from myself and a few others on topics such as prayer, Biblical context over cuteness, and growing through what you’re going through, as well as many more.

2020 has been a bit of a doozy for many of us. And the events and effects of staying home has taken the toll on the faith life of so many, myself included, so I pray that this series will bless you as we finish out this unprecedented year, preparing our fertile ground for all that is to grow in 2021.

If you walked in my house, you’d know that I’ve been to Hobby Lobby at least once.

There are several wall hangings or canvases or home decor items that scream, “I am a Christian!” with all of the farmhouse touches of Scripture adorning several surfaces.

I’ve got the “cuteness” factor down pat!

The context of that same Scripture… well that’s been a work in progress.

Growing up, I read Scripture, sure. I memorized the 23rd Psalm in my Sunday School classroom and I even helped act out several stories during VBS or at church camp throughout the years.

However, it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I truly learned how to sit down and study the Word of God. And it wasn’t until I was 30 that I actually understood the gospel message, even though I had believed it for decades. Sad, but true.

I’m so grateful for my friends who, instead of turning their nose up at my ignorance of Scripture despite my veteran status as a Christian, actually took the time to teach me different ways to spend time reading and searching for the context of Scripture so that my time studying those impossibly thin pages would be more fruitful and enjoyable.

What’s the importance of Context?

Say you come home from a trip to the store and there’s a piece of paper taped to your front door. You grab it off and bring it inside, along with your groceries. Once you’ve regained feeling in your fingers from that lazy man load you carried in, you open up the page to find a typed message.

The message is not addressed to you, or anyone for that matter. However, it speaks about an event that took place, but there are no clear details of when or where it happened, and you don’t recognize any of the names listed of who was in attendance. At the bottom of the message is typed a single question, “Why was this event important?”

It would be impossible to answer that question, wouldn’t it?

Without the information of who attended, where it took place, and when, how are you supposed to come to any conclusion on whether this event was important or not, let alone why it may have been? Also, how do you know that the message was even intended for you to read?

Thankfully, the Bible gives us many more clues than this fictional message!

Though the names and places may be foreign to us, study Bibles from every translation are filled with footnotes and cross-references to help us fill in those blanks.

Through context, we can learn the reason why this message was written down and to whom it was written to and for what purpose.

So why not Cuteness?

The Bible is so much more than a collection of cute inspirational phrases to hang on your walls (shh, don’t tell my living room) or to post on social media. Though I am 110% guilty of using it in this way.

The Bible is the life-changing, transformational, flesh-cutting, chain-breaking, and soul-refreshing, Word of God!

Cuteness helps you feel better about an experience or an emotion.

Context helps counsel you to gain a better understanding on how to act, react, and use that experience or emotion to the glory of God.

How to start studying the context of Scripture?

Okay, so now that you know that there’s more to the Bible than what you read at face value, what are the best ways to learn from the context of Scripture?

Glad you asked!

Remember what I said about study Bibles? This is a great place to start!

Need a study Bible? Here’s a list of some of my favorite (some even come with pretty pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰).

No. 1 – Get to Know the Author

Had that fictional letter that I talked about above had a return address label on it, it would have been so much easier to track down details of the purpose behind the message. And the same can be said when we learn about the author of the books in the Bible.

Don’t skip over that introduction to the book like you always do. It’s here in these couple of paragraphs where you can typically learn who wrote the book you’re about to read, an estimate on when the book was written, and what was happening in the author’s life when it was written.

With that information, you can fill in a whole lot of blanks!

No. 2 – Get to Know the Audience

Who was the original audience of the book letter? Also found in the opening pages of the book of the Bible you’re studying, you can typically find information on the audience, or people who first received this message.

Learning who they were, their background, their history of faith, and even what governmental rule they were under can really open up a deeper understanding of why the author addressed certain topics with them — providing guidance or even correction.

By getting to know the audience, you can also come to know how you, the present-day audience, can relate or contrast to this people. You can draw a more meaningful conclusion on what you can take away from this section of Scripture when you know why these words were originally written and potentially received.

I would love to go into ALL the detail of how exactly I study Scripture through its context. At least for today, I hope you’ve found a good starting place and maybe a new perspective on the importance of it. Now you are ready to jump into your Bible study and spend more than a couple of minutes in Scripture, and actually come out of the time more aware and more in love with God!


Context Over Cuteness - Bree Blum | Intentional Filling

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