Monday, April 03, 2006

Context! Context! Context! (part 1)

One of the biggest problems we face in quoting from the Bible is that people can make the Bible pretty much say anything that they want. As noted Missiologist, Church Planter, and Professor Tom Steffen put it:

“People’s assumptions about God impact their perception of Scripture. Those who define the Supreme Being as a God of love may approach Scripture as devotional literature. People who view God as logical and linear may view the Bible as a book of verifiable propositions. Atheists who claim that God does not exist may search the Bible for ways to refute his existence. Some approach the Bible as a great work of literary art while others use the text mystically to discern direction for life”

Knowing this, followers of Christ must make sure that when we are quoting from the Bible, we are accurately quoting what the text is saying. Oftentimes when discussing the Bible we can be quick to turn to a verse that substantiates our point. However many people don’t know that the Bible wasn’t originally written this way. There was no “divine inspiration” of chapters and verses. In fact the Bible wasn’t divided into chapters and verses until the medieval times. Stephen Langton first divided the books of the Bible into chapters in 1205 AD and Robert Estienne (Stephanus) further divided each chapter into verses in 1565 AD. Although these divisions don’t affect the truth of the message, they can sometimes cause it to be confusing. We need to be aware of this to have an accurate understanding what the Bible is saying.

Stay tuned for the real life application…

No comments: