· · · · · · ·

Why is Biblical Context So Important?

Weโ€™re here to help you learn and grow, so naturally, we share affiliate links for products that we use and love. When you click on one of these links, we will earn a small amount of money, at no additional cost to you, which weโ€™ll use towards keeping the lights on here! You can read our full disclaimer here.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Listen to the podcast episode ๐ŸŽง | Listening time 8.5-minutes

I love a good story. One that draws me in, that brings the scene to life–almost as if I can hear the sounds and smell the scents and feel the breeze blow cooly.

And novels have often been my escape of choice.

Reading from beginning to end, I’d devour the descriptions of the world that the author created. I would begin to live as if the story were real. As if I knew the characters in real life.

What if I told you that you could read the Bible in the same way? Would you believe me?

One Story Beginning to End

We don’t read novels (or even watch movies or TV series) out of order. We wouldn’t pick up a book and read a paragraph of chapter one, skip over to chapter 13 and read the 4th paragraph down, flip to page 257 and read the second line on the page, before returning to read the rest of chapter one.

The storyline would be ruined! How would we ever make sense of it all?

And yet, this is exactly how we read Scripture!

We read Genesis and maybe Exodus, but skip Leviticus and Deuteronomy entirely. We might read the first chapter of Joshua, through verse 9 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

We love Psalm 23, and we’ll breeze through Proverbs. And the love story of Ruth and Boaz, well that’s about as far as we get in the Old Testament before skipping ahead to the Gospels.

Yet we expect to be able to understand the complex passages, the parables, and the differences of the religious groups, and instead come away puzzled, frustrated, or downright angry that we can’t get it to make sense!

If we take the time to gather the Biblical context, by reading from beginning to end, we’ll learn that the Old Testament is a story about God, the promise maker, and the New Testament is the continued story about how God is also a promise keeper.

Location, Location, Location

Have you ever wondered why the Promised Land, the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants, is where it is?

Or have you ever wondered why there was such beef between the Jews and the Samaritans?

Maybe, you’ve wondered about the Tribe of Judah and why we don’t hear much about the other 11 tribes of Israel in the New Testament?

The Biblical context, based on the physical and geographical location, helps to answer all of these questions.

The Promised Land

What was the geographical significance of that land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants? The Promised Land was positioned in the area of the International Trade Highway — running through the heart of Canaan, Palestine, and Israel and linked to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

God brought the nations to Abraham, to teach them about a new way to live and to serve the Living God.

Samaritans vs. Jews

In Joshua, where the people are told to “Be strong and courageous”, they were also told to not mingle or intermarry with other people groups. But the people did not listen and as a result of intermarrying, they began worshipping other gods.

Following the death of King Solomon, Israel was split into two:

  • Northern Kingdom – 10 tribes of Israel led by Jeroboam who made Samaria their capital
  • Southern Kingdom – 2 tribes of Israel led by Rehoboam whose capital was Jerusalem

Under Jeroboam’s reign (Northern Kingdom), the 10 tribes began worshipping idols as they continued to intermingle and intermarry until the bloodline of the original tribes was lost.  

When the Israelites from the Southern Kingdom returned โ€œhomeโ€ after their exile in Babylon, they were pretty peeved that the Samaritans – Israelite & Assyrian descendants – were living in their land.

Just History

“There is no such thing as world history and Biblical history. There is just history.”

kristi mclelland

Itโ€™s crazy to think that Jesus lived at the same time as Marc Antony, general to Caesar Augustus.

Itโ€™s hard to wrap our minds around it because we only read snippets of stories, but donโ€™t take the time to map them out in history.

The political influences were just as monumental in the life and growth of the people of the Bible as were the encounters with God!

Why Biblical Context is so Important

So you see, Biblical context is vitally important to the overall understanding of events that are central to our faith.

If we donโ€™t understand that Scripture is one story from beginning to endโ€ฆ

If we donโ€™t realize the significance of the location of the stories we know and loveโ€ฆ

If we donโ€™t factor in the โ€œworld historyโ€ and politics and cultural influences of the timeโ€ฆ

Then weโ€™re doing ourselves a massive disservice!

Understanding the greater narrative of Godโ€™s one big story is possible, my friend!

But how?

Start small.  Take notes.  Invite community in (Join our private Facebook group!).
And be ready to fall in love with God all over again!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.