I believe the best way to understand the Bible is to study it in context with much prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit our teacher.
- Context defined:
- The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
- the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.
In other words, understanding a word, verse, or passage in scripture requires us to view it in light of the verses around it.
A proper understanding of the scriptures also requires one to ask and answer the following five common sense questions. These questions should be applied to every verse or passage one studies.
- Common Sense Questions:
- Who is speaking or writing?
- To whom or about whom is he speaking or writing?
- About what subject is he speaking or writing?
- When or about what time is he speaking or writing?
- What is the occasion for the speaking or writing?
Many fail in a proper understanding of scripture because they take passages completely out of context. This can lead to false doctrine and the embracing of ideas God never intended. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15
, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The words “rightly dividing” come from a compound Greek word meaning to dissect correctly. The idea is to carefully take apart the word of God and examine those parts (word by word) in light of the whole. The word “study” means to be deligent. Being deligent means having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties. Our study of God’s Word is important. We must be careful as we consider it’s meaning, principles, and truths. What a tragidy to miss out on those truths; but what a blessing when we behold the Bible’s precious treasure.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
God has given us a physical body and the ability to use that body to live life, honor and glorify Him, interact with others, and embrace with wonder the rest of His glorious creation. We have eyes through which to look and behold. We have ears that allow us to hear and listen. We have legs, feet, and toes to move about, walk, and even run. We have arms, hands, and fingers with which we can touch, feel, hold, handle, and embrace. We have mouths to taste, eat, drink, speak, and sing. We have a brain to think, learn, decide, imagine, and operate this amazing body with all it’s abilities. With this body we can work, create, make, and build. We can with great skill perform many amazing things and complete many incredible tasks. Having such a gift and never expressing appreciation to the God who created it is tragic. Living life and not giving back in way of service, helping others in need, or using ones abilities for His glory is very selfish. We are commanded to love the Lord with all of our strength. This means we recognize our Creator as the source of our abilities and we honor Him by using those abilities in His service.
Mark 12:29-30 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is , Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
God has bless mankind with a mind and the amazing ability to think, learn, imagine, create, and remember. We live in an age where information of every sort is available within seconds. There seems to be no limit to what we can gain in the way of knowledge whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false. The believer understands that God is the source of all truth, genuine knowledge, and wisdom (John 17:17; Psalm 33:4; Poverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10). He created our mind with all it’s abilities. For us to live life where God is not a part of our thinking, learning, imaginations, and memories is unimaginable. A life lived without the precious knowledge of a loving, caring, and saving God is truly a terrible thing. Loving God with all our minds recognizes and honors the God who created and gave us this precious gift. What a blessing it is to know Him and ponder His greatness!
Mark 12:29-30 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
The creation of mankind is amazing. God has given us a heart, a soul, a mind, and a physical body with incredible abilities. We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). When asked which is the first commandment of all, Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark 12:28-30). The heart spoken of in these verses does not refer to the physical one beating inside our chest but that part of us from which comes our emotions, affections, and desires. Our heart can be greatly affected by our beliefs, other people, places, things, and even events (Matthew 6:21). Our hearts can be sinful, cold, unmoved, and even wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). What captivates your heart? What moves you? Jesus is teaching us that the priority of our heart needs to be the one true God. He created us, sustains us, offers forgiveness, and eternal life. He is the source of life, true love, joy, and hope. He should be Lord of our life. What place does God have in your life and among those things that have your attention?