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Dangers of out of context Biblical verses

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Pilgrim of this Reality, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Pilgrim of this Reality

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    I have noticed that many people tend to drop in a single verse to support their arguments. Satan used Old Testament verses out of context to tempt Jesus.
    Matthew 4: 1-11; Luke 4:1-13

    We should take that lesson to heart, and not pull verses out of their context. And when posting we should all "sandwich" the verse we are using with at least 1 verse before and 1 after it to keep the meanings clear. Otherwise, we could use a verse to support murder or rape for instance.

    What are some other thoughts on this?
     
  2. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    The same thing can happen with lots of verses :D.
     
  3. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    True, very true. I find that a lot of people, and me, make mistakes by doing that.
     
  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I usually embolden the scripture that I am focusing on when I do that.

    Some people go the other way and post LOTS of scripture that seems to have nothing to do with the subject at hand. It is a good idea to tell us what your think the scripture is saying to you, rather than for us to try and read your mind.
     
  5. fromthe heart

    fromthe heart Well-Known Member

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    You are correct in what you are saying...people pick and choose to fit their own views. You said perhaps we should include the verses before and after...but they don't always deal with the topic. There are some that over use text verses to the point that by the time you get done reading all that you are lost in a fog as to the point they were trying to make. Simple to the point,say what you think it means...then let others make up their own minds. If you must point to many scriptures just list where it can be found so those that chose can look it up for themselves.:)
     
  6. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    Actually there are many people that have trouble building an anaology and that may be part of the problem. In order for a strong analogy to exist the historical or hypothical context presented must be parrallel or strongly correlated to the proposed premise.

    Even within that scope assuming the historical one is true, it only makes the correlating one valid as they are differnt hypothicals. That sentence is very important in dealing with Bible qouters because

    1) no parts of the Bible have been proven or evidenced to be true
    2) many of the qouters make the fallacy of assessing the 2nd part of an if than senerio to be true as opposed to valid if they accept the first part.

    A further complication comes from the Bible in that as it is proposed as a documentary of the struggle of a nation (ot ) and the life of God on earth (nt) the philophical componets must be extracted from within the contents of the story. As with any story humans are complexed in their behavior as societies more so and dicotomies exist within their indivdual personalties and societies.

    What strikes me as odd is that even though I have stated the obvious other than the notion of Jesus=love very few in the Christian community have ever sat down and collectivly tried to extract a philosphy from the book based on the major themes within its bounds. The Catholics being the noted exception to have constructed a philosphy around the Bible.

    The net result is that Christainty means different things to differnt people and while personal intrepreation can be a postitive thing it leads non-christians puzzled at what the mixed message of the religion is that various christians (well over 300 groups) try to present.
     
  7. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    Another thing to consider is, who it's being written to and why.
     
  8. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    That is so true Oracle.

    Like the phrase "It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven". This has been used to knock "rich people".

    But in that day it was common belief that God blessed SPIRITUAL people with riches. If you were rich, then you were tight with God.

    Rather than condemning the rich, Jesus was pointing out that is was impossible for ANYONE to get into heaven. Even those everyone thought was spiritual. :D
     
  9. Pilgrim of this Reality

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    Interesting points so far. Yes too wordy quotes are a danger and listing of relevent verses should be follow a person's thoughts on what they mean.There is danger in enforcing opinion as law as many denominations do. Basically that is putting words into God's mouth (although we really cant do that) Good point's on how the Bible is not evidenced to be true, robtex. Faith of course has an element in this, but even unbelievers admit that the moral philosophy presented in the NT is quite a high bar to strive for.
    The audience should always be considered when writing a response or a thread as oracle noted.
    This danger of out of context ideas also extends to other documents. Its fairly easy to make an author's words stand for something they wouldn't agree with or support.
     
  10. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I think he was referring to whom the particular Scripture was written to. I don't tell my children the same thing. They have different understandings and different needs. The same holds true for scripture. You need to know WHO he is writing to.
     
  11. Dr. Nosophoros

    Dr. Nosophoros Active Member

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    Context is important, but sometimes a verse speaks for itself. If you find one that you feel is used out of context in a post, then by all means look it up and challenge it.
     
  12. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    Actually just curious..since the book is thousands of years old how does one keep anything from it in context when applying it to today? Maybe if we see some of it thought backwards we can see a pattern emerge and than see what some of the Christians here constitute as effective and/or correct contextual application and what is beyond the scope of effective and/or factual contextual application.
     
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  13. Dr. Nosophoros

    Dr. Nosophoros Active Member

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    Take Romans 10:9 KJV for example:

    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"

    how many Christians will challenge that? It seems the basis for all belief-minus the responsibility to maintain that "spirituality" which is explained further in that mythology- yet the base is still there. If I am mistaken, please enlighten me, I really am open minded- but, I am not stupid.
     
  14. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Excellent point. The books don't supply all their presuppositions and understandings, so we must add them when we read. No matter how learned the person...they aren't able to supply presuppositions that have long passed away. We can't even determine with certainty how a text should be read.
     
  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Something they no doubt picked up from the authors of gMat. ;)
     
  16. Pilgrim of this Reality

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    Context is an interesting issue when its examined, as robtex notes. Context can also include the events surrounding the verse. This is where history steps in, such as why the tax collectors that Jesus talked to were no better than prostitutes. This idea is especially true when reading the epistles. To understand just why the auther is writing what they are would require an idea of what was happening at the time. Although the principles are universal.

    Context also extends to similar principles. The verse taken (Romans 10:9) by Dr. Nosophoros could support the faith with no responsiblity, yet would conflict with other verses. Such as Mark 16:16 and Acts 2. When taken together since they are of similar idea, they paint a more complete picture by filling in the gaps each verse has in their idea. Of course this also could support an idea that wasnt originally meant by the authors. Care must always be taken for accuracy, logic, and honesty
     
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