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What’s the Context? — Part 2

Today is part 2 of an outstanding series, go back and watch or listen again
What's the Context? — Part 2 (Pilgrim's Progress Radio Broadcast, 8-21-2018)


Chapters? Verses? The original Greek manuscripts didn’t even have punctuation, spaces, or lowercase letters!

After a quick review of context (and the associated word textile) Jim Kerwin takes us through a “what is the context?” thought-exercise:

  • from considering a single embroidered thread in a blouse (like a single verse);
  • next seeing that thread in the context of an embroidered flower (like a small scripture passage or pericope);
  • expanding our context, we appreciate the overall effect of the embroidered blouse (a larger section, like a chapter); then
  • the full blouse (perhaps equivalent to a complete book of the Bible); and on to
  • the outfit (an entire Testament, perhaps even the whole of the Scriptures); before
  • finally seeing the person inside the outfit, an interesting way of illustrating Jesus’ words in John 5:39.

Jim does some unavoidable, reluctant, but equal-opportunity toe-stomping. Along the way, he comments on the deceptive nature of those late-date, man-made additions to the text, additions which we call chapters and verses, then begins to give examples of context and how it affects our understanding of some typical Scripture passages, including:

  • how passages like the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper and the women who washed or anointed Jesus’ feet are illuminated by knowing that the participants didn’t sit in chairs at a table;
  • John 3:16;
  • Philippians 4:13;
  • 1 Corinthians 13:8-11, in the context of 1 Corinthians 13; then 1 Corinthians 13 in the context of chapters 12-14; and chapters 12-14 in the light of the entire First Corinthian epistle, especially the clear limitation of what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.


We finished today’s broadcast with a head-first dive into “wives, submit” and “husbands, love” in Ephesians 5:22-24, and hint at where the surprising context of those controversial commands is going to lead us tomorrow! Also in the next broadcast (Lord willing): We deal with the bugbear of Romans 7, and then march right up to the Gate of Hades in Matthew 16.


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