NextLevel Online: How to Read the Bible

Session 4: Discern the author’s flow of thought. (Literary Context)

Without a context, words are meaningless. When studying individual verses, read the surrounding verses and ask how the context clarifies what your verse means. When reading paragraphs or larger sections, ask how they relate to what came before and after.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • We’re going to play a little game.

    • “Give him a hand.”

    • “That’s the largest trunk I’ve ever seen.”

  • Without a context, words are meaningless.

  • Discern the author’s flow of thought.

    • In interpreting texts, what we’re talking about is typically called “literary context.”

    • Literary context is the words and paragraphs surrounding our text.

  • This is the single most important aspect of sound interpretation.

    • Psalm 14.1 – “There is no God”

    • Ephesians 4.24 “Put on the new man”

    • Matthew 18.20 – “Where two or three are gathered, there I am with them.”

    • Philippians 4.13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

    • Philippians 2.12 – “work our your salvation with fear and trembling”

  • So let’s get practical – what are you supposed to do?

    • When studying individual verses, read the surrounding verses and ask how the context clarifies what your verse means.

    • When reading paragraphs or larger sections, ask how they relate to what came before and after.

      • Divide the text into sections (typically paragraphs or events)

      • Summarize each section as best you can

      • Look for connections

  • As we like to say at Ozark Christian College, context is king.

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.