BibelCenter :: Keys to interpreting the Bible BibelCenter :: Keys to interpreting the Bible


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Aside from the verse or statement itself, it is inevitable that the context of a passage is carefully observed. Only with the context does a statement receive its correct meaning. Indiviudal words or separate sentences by themselves may certainly have different correct meanings. Without the context it would be impossible to determine how a word or a statement was really meant. Only with the surrounding context does it become clear which understanding is the correct one and all other possible understandings are then excluded as incorrect for that particular case.

The context is provided by surrounding passages and statements, such as those which immediately precede or follow ("direct, immediate context"), or else context may be statements which relate and belong topically to the passage in question, but which perhaps are found in a different place in a book ("indirect, remote context").

In connection with this, it is important to point out that the "overall scope" of the Biblical Scriptures must be observed for a correct understanding; such as when something is mentioned in an OT book as a sort of "foreshadow" or "type" and later in the NT scriptures the reality of it is stated in its fulfillment. If such were not properly recognized, one could arrive at a wrong understanding of the fulfilled reality because one would still be viewing it as if it were the foreshadow or type.

The context provides the necessary information to arrive at a correct interpretation and understanding of a statement. The context makes plain what the statement is about (is it a question, statement, commandment, etc.). The context mentioned the persons involved and acting. The context describes decisive circumstances. In the context we are told the "who, when, what and why" of something being said or done.

Statments in the Bible will not contradict other statements about the identical subject od topic, rather they will complement each other and add further details which then enables the reader to see the full picture of the stated truth correctly.