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Monday, November 26, 2007

Danger of taking out of context

"A Text without a Context is a Pretext."

It is very important to consider text and speech in its context.

There was a story about a depressed man who had never been a student of the Bible decided that he would begin to read the bible.

He opened the Bible at random and began to read the verses his eyes fell upon. The place he happened to read was the twenty seventh chapter of Matthew where the writer tells about Judas who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. When he realized what he had done, he took the money back, and the Scriptures say in Matthew 27:5, “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.”

When the man in our story read that Scripture, he began to feel very bad. He closed the Bible, and the more he thought about this man’s hanging himself, the worse he felt. But he thought, “Maybe if I will read again in the Bible, I will feel better.” He opened the Bible again at random and this time his eyes fell upon Luke 10:37 where Jesus said, “... Go and do likewise.”

Quickly the man in our story closed the Bible and said to himself, “Surely this does not mean for me to do the same as the man who hanged himself.” Now he really felt bad, but he said, “It cannot mean for me to go and do the same.” So he opened the Bible at random again. This time his eyes fell upon 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “... for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

By this time our man was thoroughly confused and troubled by what he had read in the Bible, but he returned once more to the book. This time his eyes fell at random on John 13:27, “... "What you are about to do, do quickly,...”

The above story is a bit far out and is intended only as an illustration that will point out the need to rightly divide the word of God.


Here is another illustration:
The Bible contains the sentence:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."... - Psalm 14:1

If the context is omitted, this becomes:
There is no God.

Let us make very sure that we listen carefully and read the context of any spoken or written text so as not to misrepresent any speakers or authors. This could spark off misunderstanding. Thus, be very careful with words.

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14 comments:

Titania Starlight said...

Hi Sam,
Well said. In this day and age especially, we have to choose our words well. It is very easy for someone to take something the wrong way. But in a world with all the political correctness, where do we draw the line? It seems no matter what, everyone gets offended at everything.

This example may be a far end of the spectrum far as comprehension but truly it seems as if many have lost their common sense. I guess the best thing to do is if we do not understand it is best to ask questions before jumping to conclusions. I think that is why my husband and I have a healthy loving relationship.

Many blessings,
Tawnya

lilifxt said...

hi sam that is a very important remineder coz i also do this many times while i read any context of written text u opened my mind to act more carefull and read good next time thx my friend
reading your blogs always add to my knowledge
thx for the good work
God bless

surjit said...

Yes Sam, you are right.It often happens in life specially when we are listenig to some one.
Thanks for this great reminder.
I like this quote which explains everything:
"A Text without a Context is a Pretext."
God bless.

Trinity said...

Sam, you are soooo true.. this is a really important teaching! We have to be careful not to use the text without context especially when we read the Bible.. sadly some of the preachers do like this when they preach and what the dangerous teaching they have preached!

Love the picture as well.. so perfect! Now I can show the credit on the picture I use, just like you did! thanks to you!

Thank you as well for attending my award party... glad that you enjoy your time there.. :-)

God Bless You

mr fong said...

I like ur examples..Haha...

Sam Chan said...

Hi Tawnya,

Thank you for your insights and wisdom! You are right! Nowadays many people easily get offended. Thus, it is vital that we ask questions before jumping to conclusions which can even break great relationship. It is indeed so wonderful to have loving couples like you and your husband.

Lots of love to you, Tawnya!

Sam Chan said...

Hi Lili,

I am glad you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support and interest in what I do. I also learn a lot from your blog.

God bless

Sam Chan said...

Hi Surjit,

Thanks for adding your insightful views. Indeed, we have to be even more wary when messages were conveyed from another party.

God bless

Sam Chan said...

Hi Trinity,

I am glad you agree with me that we have to be careful not to use text without context.

Glad to know that you had managed to show the credit on the picture you use in your blog. It was my pleasure to share whatever I know. You are doing great. I really enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

God bless you and your family.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Winston,

Thanks for your encouraging words. I am glad that you like the examples and have a good laugh.

Blessings to you, Winston.

logoskch said...

Enlightening words, Sam. It is important to rightly divide the word of God. Many times we fall into this trap if we preach without seeing the big picture in the Bible. Sad to say, many Christians today are doing that. For more enlightenment, do join our discussion on the Bible at this forum:
http://www.ipohchurchofchrist.org/forum/index.php?topic=161.0
We would definitely welcome your words of wisdom and participation. God bless.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Logoskch,

Thanks for your insight and wisdom! Indeed, many times, we preached or understood wrongly if we don't see the Bible as a whole.

Thanks for the invitation to join the forum. FYI, I am a member of Ipoh Church of Christ. :-)

May the Lord grant us Wisdom to understand and obey His Will.

God bless.

Hisoka said...

Thank you so much for these great words. I'm really having a hard time with one of my friends about the context issue. I'll be asking him to pass by and read this great topic; hopefully he'll learn a thing or two.

Many thanks for this lovely article.
Best wishes

Sam Chan said...

Hi Hisoka,

Thank you for your compliment on my blog. I hope this post can enlighten your friend.

Blessings to you, Hisoka