Out of Context

My Mom and I were talking this morning about the Bible, of which I am proud to say she has become quite the student. We got on about how people interpret it and the necessity of knowing the context of Scripture in order to truly understand it. We also spoke ruefully how people will refuse to do that homework, esp. if it might threaten their understanding of Scripture. I found it is ironic that my Mom learned this from a converted Catholic biblical scholar.
I related to her how that argument plays out among my Protestant friends: not well. I’m frequently told that because I take the time to understand its socio-historical context, I might know about the Word but I don’t know the Word. In other words, don’t let the context change the “true meaning,” i.e. their understanding of its meaning of Scripture. My challenge to that is this: how can you understand anything written or said when it is taken out of context? If you are incredulous, just look at the healthcare “debate” and those infamous death panels.

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