Got the Context?
Want to go even deeper? So much of the Bible is best understood in context. That is, when you study a verse or group of verses, also study the chapter, the other passages before and after what you are reading, and cross-references to other areas of Scripture.
Using a commentary or online reference tools (crosswalk.com or blueletterbible.com are great places to start), take the verses you've been studying this week and research the answers to the following questions:
- Who was the author?
- At what time in their life were they writing?
- Where were they when they wrote this material?
- What characteristics of the author are revealed here?
- What were they experiencing at the time?
- What is the underlying tone of the passage?
- What is the author’s primary purpose in writing this passage?
- What major truths or concerns and convictions does they present to bring out their purpose?
- How have they arranged their material to emphasise their purpose?
- What are the key words they use?
- Who are the intended readers, and how does this affect the author’s purpose?
Using these questions and answers, it's possible to continue your study of this lesson as you learn additional truths from God's Word. Also, pay special attention to cross-references between the Old and New Testaments. People in the New Testament often quote passages from the Old Testament. These two portions of the Bible are intricately connected and related to one another. To fully understand the New Testament, you must have a passion for the Old Testament--and vice-versa.
Finally, a few more tips...