The Importance of Context

Many times people make claims about what the Bible says. It is so important to be accurate about what is ACTUALLY said because getting that right is only the beginning. For instance, saying the the adulteress woman who Jesus did not stone cannot be called a prostitute. It matters very much who she was because the story is constantly taken out of context and you know as well as anyone that ANY story can be taken out of context and made to say things it was never intended to say.

In context, Jesus was making a point about the hypocrisy of the accusers who were not following the law, though they claimed to be. In Jewish law, BOTH parties involved in adultery are supposed to be stoned but the man appears nowhere. The accusers wanted to trap Jesus, they weren’t actually interested in justice being served. What would Jesus have said if both parties were there and the accusers were actually following the law? We don’t know because that isn’t what happened. Sure, you can take Jesus’ words and make them say whatever you want, just like I can take the Buddha’s words and make them say whatever I want, but that doesn’t mean it is accurate.

Going beyond this, we must understand that content and context are still only the beginning. To really understand what is being said, we must look back and read what the early Church Fathers said about the story. It is so easy to read a modern scholar and believe you’ve got it all under control but what makes a scholar more knowledgeable than someone who lived 1800 years closer to the actual event? Plus, Christians must remember that all of our theology should be given from God and isn’t it better to read people who know those who wrote our Holy Scripture rather than historians?

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