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Importance of Understanding the Bible's Historical Context

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Deena V. Ene Dr. Joseph Butler BIBL104 January 28, 2014 Importance of Historical-Cultural Context- DB Forum 1 1\. What can happen when people approach the Bible without any concern for the historical-cultural context? Do you care to share any examples from your own experience? Answer: When we approach the Bible without considering its historical-cultural context, it is highly possible to misunderstand what God is saying to us through the scripture. Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB) reads "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know." So in reading this, should I pick up my phone and call God because I want to hear all the great and mighty things I don't know? Extracting that one scripture doesn't tell us who wrote it, it tells us nothing about the time or place of when and where it was written, it doesn't tell us to whom God was talking and I may take this scripture literally without any depth of the context or history and conclude that this is "a word specifically for me," right now and never try to apply its original context to what I believe. 2\. Can you think of an example of the historical-cultural context shedding significant light on the meaning of a biblical text? Answer: With the same example, I think it would be helpful to know that: Jeremiah (the believed to be author) was a Jewish prophet, he was locked up in the court of the guard (v33:1) or in jail, he was locked up for prophesying against Judah (32:2-15) for all their sins, the phrase "things which you do not know" in its original Hebrew form is basur which literally translates to the English word inaccessible—which means not just things Jeremiah didn’t know, but things that no one could have access to; there are more unaddressed things circumstantially circulating this one scripture, but I would say that all of this information so far changes the way I initially interpreted the text. 3\. For people living in an “instant application” society such as ours, what can persuade them to put forth effort to study the historical-cultural context? Answer: I think that the fear of not having a strong enough foundational background on our faith should persuade us to go deeper into the historical- cultural context. If I can't clearly explain my reasons for why I believe what I believe about God's word, at some point I may face having a weak defense against evil forces seeking to discredit my beliefs. I cannot responsibly share God's message with others without knowing what I believe. References: Duvall, J. S., and J. D. Hays. Journey Into God's Word: Your Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. ISBN: 9780310275138.