I Think I'm Going to Die!
A Dangerous Game on Context
I was in a hospital waiting room. The woman burst through the ER doors with pale skin and a limp left arm, screaming with what could possibly be her last words, “I think I’m going to die!”
Or, perhaps, the optimist out there is thinking…
I was enjoying a delicious meal at a fine restaurant, when, the man at the table behind me bends down on one knee and, before he could say a word, the young lady with him shouts with surprise and enthusiasm, “I think I’m going to die!”
The squeamish might be pondering…
I was strolling through a park on a beautiful day. I hear a woman behind me shrill, “I think I’m going to die!” I turn around just in time to see a stray dog run off, leaving an executively clothed woman dripping in dog urine.
And last but not least, the drama queens are envisioning…
It was after night fall and I was walking to my car in a deserted parking garage, or at least that’s what I thought. I hear a woman behind me scream, “I think I’m going to die!” I turn around to see this woman sprinting toward me, with ripped clothes, a frightened face and a man closely pursuing her.
These descriptive guesses, and well as your own unique guess is, without the context surrounding my day yesterday, only that – a guess.
If you don’t know about my day yesterday – where I was, who I was with, what I was doing – then it’s impossible to assume that you could know why the woman behind me screamed as she did. But my point of this post is not to play with you. Rather, it’s to illustrate the importance of Context. More specifically, Biblical Context.
There are wonderful, Bible-searching resources online that allow you to search the Scriptures effortlessly. BibleGateway.com, for instance, lets you search by keywords and key-phrases to find every mention of a particular word or phrase, all within seconds. This is a fantastic tool, but one that must be used wisely. Just because a verse has the word “love” in it doesn’t mean very much without context -
“Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children,” Deuteronomy 28:54
Now you’re guessing context again….
Is this talking about non-Christians?
Is it some sort of command to obey?
Who’s speaking? God?
Guessing context is a waste of time, as it is in guessing my day yesterday. NEVER GUESS CONTEXT; we will never get it right. Each verse is surrounded by other verses and even other chapters (and even other books) that give us context. The bigger picture is known as "Context" and, without it, you are dangerously misreading what God is saying.
So the next time you’re taking advantage of helpful resources like BibleGateway’s Keyword Search, NEVER GUESS CONTEXT but read the verses before and after to understand the great truth of God’s Word.
Still wondering why the woman screamed? My story isn’t nearly as important as God’s, so your time is better spent reading the context of Deuteronomy 28:54 and understanding what was really going on there. Click here - verses 53-55.
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