Repost: Context, Context Context

Back in 2012, I wrote about the necessity of context to understand the Bible. The easiest way to be fleeced by bad teaching is when someone uses a part of a verse, or even a few Bible verses without regard for what the purpose of the passage is, its audience and proper application.

Context is key in everything. It can be awkward to join a conversation in the middle. Often things are confusing, hilarious or even inappropriate sounding when you’re missing the rest of the information.

Reading the Bible is no exception. In fact, given the great importance of rightly understanding and teaching the word of God context is even more crucial!

A verse I hear commonly misused is a part of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I think many believers have heard or been taught an improper meaning of this verse. This concerns me because it is often used by advocates of contemplative spirituality to support their promotion of the “discipline of silence.” A DVD program promoting this concept was even named “Be Still” after the supposed proof text. You can read Marcia Montenegro’s review of the DVD.

Keep reading my original post “Context, Context, Context” which examines the entire Psalm 46 and compares it to the way it is used to justify so-called spiritual disciplines which are in fact mysticism.

Friday morning thoughts

So I learned from Thomas Nelson Publishers yesterday that Sarah Young will have a new book (Jesus Today) out soon, presumably written in the same inappropriate style as her other books have been. Please, do yourself a favor and don’t put yourself in danger by reading it. Who needs to read messages someone else claimed to have gotten from God (but might be from the other guy!) when you already have the Bible which actually is from God. And if you don’t know anything about Young or why it might be wise to NOT read her books be sure to read my review.

Something else I saw yesterday, was that my new friend John Downey (the man Rick Warren warned you about) once again did my job for me in his post: Normalizing Elijah (on DeadPastorsSociety). He exposes the exegetical problems with the “still, small voice” theory of God delivering personal messages to Christians.  My favorite line:

To say that this is a normative Christian experience we would then also have to assume that it would be equally as normative for us to call fire down from heaven or have angels prepare food for us. Yet, I’ve never woken one morning to find an angel fixing me eggs and bacon. (Mmmmm…Bacon…)

Mmmm. Bacon. But I digress … His post is an excellent reminder that we have to look at Biblical passages in context and as part of the entire Bible as well. I addressed a similar issue some time ago: the abuse of Psalm 46 to promote contemplative practices. If you read the whole Psalm it becomes clear that it isn’t about prayer!

I’m hoping later today to post a bit more on Pastor James Murphy’s sermon focused on mysticism, the ancient-future movement and hearing voices from God. I’ll definitely be posting that, I’m just not sure if I can get it finished today.