Out of context


When you are reading the Bible, what does it mean to take Scripture out of context?



To me it would be to interpret Scripture
w/o the authority of the Magisterium, or
the teaching of the Church, Scripture
should SUPPORT the Church’s teach-


When a guy only snips a piece of the scripture they’re quoting. Instead of giving the whole scope. Instead of explaining the time and place that made the quote meaningful. Instead of explaining how people who first heard it would have understood the meaning.


While Scripture interpretation should always be done within the living Tradition of the Church, this is not the correct answer to the OP’s question.

To take a passage out of context means to apply one’s interpretation to it without consideration of what surrounds the passage, such as the text that comes before and after. But context also includes the historical, linguistic, and cultural background. And context ultimately covers the whole of Scripture itself.

An example of taking Scripture out of context: Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sounds nice: God’s plans are for welfare and not evil, and MY future looks bright. By itself, it’s a promise that God will not allow evil to befall ME. The prosperity gospel crowd loves this verse.

But is this what the verse REALLY means? This is where context comes in. Back up to v.1 of Jeremiah 29 and you will see that this is in fact part of a letter addressed to the EXILES in Babylon, telling them to build houses, get married, and pretty much settle in, because they’re going to be captives for a VERY LONG TIME. And just after that verse, God warns that death and destruction were to come to the Davidic dynasty. Hardly a “future full of hope.”

The context tells us plenty and allows us to see what v.11 really means: God is promising that he will indeed bring hope and welfare, but only after SEVENTY years, when most of the exiles addressed in the letter would have already died. Those to whom the letter was addressed would not see that welfare and future. But it was going to come, because God made this promise for their children, and therefore, for the people as a whole.

The lesson we can draw here is that we can always trust that God always has our good as part of his plans, but it is in HIS time, and we could quite possibly not see it in this life. Given the many uncertainties and trials the Church is facing today, it’s a comforting lesson.


It’s to quote 1John 5:13 to prove we can have 100% assurance of salvation while ignoring the myriad of passages that exhort and admonish believers to remain in the faith, keep oil in their lamps, invest their talents feed the hungry, clothe the naked, strive, perservere, be holy, lest one loses place in the kingdom, becomes a branch cut off, or poor soill where the word whithers and dies.


*A proof text taken out of context is a sure text for a pretext! * :smiley:


The ultimate out of context (Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle)

You say: “Our company is skilled in many other things that are never reported by the biased media.”
Media reports: “Our company _____ killed _____ m ________ other t _________________ er ____________ e _____ s ___________ a.”


Yes, indeed. What is the context of Scripture? The Church. Just like any individual verse of Scripture,if you take it out of context, you are likely to misunderstand it; so if you take Scripture itself out of context, you are likely to misunderstand it.


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