Out Of Context

You certainly couldn't sum up the whole book with only reading that one random line, it just made interesting status updates!

Deuteronomy 23:1-25

Reference:  v.24  If you enter your neighbour's vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but do not put any in your basket. (NIV Bible)


Explore:  A couple of months ago I was browsing through my Facebook account and noticed my mate Nick had quite an interesting status update.  It read: "How can we show such love?"  I then noticed he had commented on his own status update.  He explained:

Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence AS YOUR STATUS. AND POST these instructions in a comment to this status.
* Don't dig for your favourite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST book

I thought this was a great idea and so did it too.  I then enjoyed reading other people's status updates and was intrigued at the books they were surrounded by.  I think the quirkiest ones were the parents who had children's books closest to them.  But to take one sentence on the fifth line in, on the 56th page, and read it totally out of context on someone's facebook page was quite intriguing.  Because you didn't know the genre of book, the context it was written in and what part of the story line you were up to, you certainly couldn't sum up the whole book with only reading that one random line.  It just made interesting status updates!

Application:  Sometimes we can take one verse from the Bible and try to sum up the whole book through that one quote.  Unless you are looking at a verse like Mark 12:30 then you are probably not going to sum up all of God's scripture in just one line.  It might make a positive life goal or vision statement but we need to be cautious about taking Bible verses out of context. As I read through passages in the Old Testament I can see how these laws and guidelines would have been very important to a nomadic people who were living in a very close-knit community.  They had been living under another nation's rule for so long that they needed basic daily guidelines to redirect their lifestyle towards God.  While its good to study these laws and understand the impact they have on lives, we must be conscious of not taking them out of context and basing our whole understanding of God without the reflection from the New Testament.  God's picture is bigger than we will ever understand, let's not limit Him to just one verse.

Prayer:  Lord, our words will never be able to contain how great and mighty You are.  Help to expand our understanding of You so we can live our lives in honour of You.  Amen.

What does the 5th line on the 56th page of the book closest to you say?  Is that a sentence you would live your life by?

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.