Reflective Bible Study.
Focus Passage: Luke 17:20-37 (NIrV)In our journal entry for today, let’s uncover an idea that is central to effective Bible study by looking at the details in the passage we are focusing in on. Near the end of our passage are some verses that many read and use to form the belief of a “secret” rapture (or a secret return of Jesus to take His followers to heaven). However, when we looking at the broad context of this passage, and the surrounding verses, this understanding is not likely, because everything leading up to this climax refers to something that is far from “secret” and far from being contained in a specific location. While we’ll save looking at these details until another journal entry, the principle I want to point out in this journal entry is this: In order to have a strong, effective Bible study that leads us to Biblical “truth”, we must start by reading all passages within their context (both scriptural context and cultural context). If we do what many people do, and pull out the last several verses of this passage, we can easily see a description of something that is not accurate when looked at in the broad context. Multiple times, this passage refers to when Jesus returns, and how it will look from our perspective, as well as giving historical examples of those who Jesus was talking to would be able to understand. We get the picture that this will be a global event, will be very earth-shattering, and not everyone will be ready. It is very easy for someone to pick and choose passages out of their original contexts, and have the Bible say something it was not meant to say. For example, perhaps we place the following verses together in sequence:
“Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5 NLT)
“Then Jesus said, ‘Yes, now go and do the same.’” (Luke 10:37b NLT)
“What you are going to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27b ESV)
So is Jesus advocating us to throw money into our churches before hanging ourselves quickly? Absolutely not! This is a bad case of Biblical misinterpretation, and while this is a horrible message to pull out of the Bible, it is pretty obviously that the Bible does not advocate this message. However, too often I see people pull a collection of scattered verses (out of their contexts) and use them to create a belief about God. This is bad Bible study, and it has lead to millions being confused about what the Bible really teaches. This brings us back to our main point for today’s journal entry: In order to have a strong, effective Bible study that leads us to Biblical “truth”, we must start by reading all passages within their context (both scriptural context and cultural context). Before closing out this entry, I want add that this post is not meant to make a stand about some Christian’s belief, or lack thereof, in the rapture. Instead, it is aimed at pushing each of us, myself included, towards studying passages within their broader contexts, and the broader context of this passage gives us the context of Jesus’ second coming – in a very global and unmistakably public way. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: The Context Is Critical: Luke 17:20-37