How the Bible Was Meant to Be Understood: The Importance of Context

“I think for us to be able to understand what the Bible is saying to us, we have to fully understand the broader context of what the author of the scripture intended for the original audience.” – Dr. Eric Bargerhuff.

Dr. Eric Bargerhuff serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Bible and Theology at Trinity College of Florida. He has served there for the past ten years; prior to that, he served in Pastoral Ministry for over 20 years. He is the author of four books and has an interest in writing “easy to understand” books that encourage believers to interpret Scripture correctly in its original context.

During this episode, Eric emphasizes his passion for teaching theology and Scripture and educating the next generation of Christian leaders to invest in their spiritual growth in Christ. He discusses the importance of teaching the context behind the events and passages in the Bible so that people can truly understand and apply the meanings of these passages correctly. Eric shares information from his book, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, and how many Bible verses are misunderstood because people don’t know the proper context behind who wrote them and why they were written.

Eric elaborates on the following three well-known misused verses in the Bible:
  • Matthew 7:1 states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” In this specific passage, Jesus was referring to a particular type of judgment – hypocrisy. He is speaking about people in the Bible who would condemn others for doing the same things they were doing. Ultimately, we know that God is the one who is going to judge each one of us. Still, we do have a responsibility towards one another to hold each other accountable to a higher moral standard here on earth.
  • Romans 8:28 states, “God works all things together for good.” As human beings, we tend to import our definition of good into that verse and then hold God accountable to apply it to our lives in the way we want it to be used. But if you look at the context of this verse, the Apostle Paul is talking about suffering and redemption. God works all things together for good, but he is weaving the good, the bad, and the suffering, causing us to grow more like Christ.
  • Matthew 18:20 states, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” This specific verse in the Bible talks about how to deal with sin in the church. Jesus used this approach with his disciples to address someone’s sin privately with two or three others, to keep the knowledge of the sin in the smallest circle to rebuke the sin in a way that brings them back to Christ.
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