Watch Out For Out of Context Verses and Words
Multitudes of dangerous false teachings have resulted from people taking a verse or part of a verse out of context. In other words, the surrounding sentence/s both before and after any given passage must be carefully considered to understand the proper context of a word or phrase.
What Is Out Of Context
A prime example of taking a word “out of context” is the following about starting a fire:
Use the knife to create some small wood pieces and shavings. Put them in the center of your fire pit. Then place more bits of wood (not more than a foot long and a couple of inches thick) over them in the shape of a tipi. The tipi should have enough holes for the air to blow through and be sufficiently close to your tinder/fire starter to catch fire. Then light your tinder/fire starter and wait for the fire to spread to that ‘tipi’ before adding any more wood.
To single out the part which says, “The tipi should have enough holes for the air to blow through” and apply it to an Indian tipi (which they lived in), for their ventilation, is a gross and obvious misapplication. Such a usage is OUT OF CONTEXT and a distortion. The tipi referred to in the paragraph is a tipi of wood to be used to start a fire and has nothing to do with an Indian tipi.
That same exact out of context error is often done by false teachers in the church in front of their audiences with bibles, but very few seem to notice their errors! Their dangerous misapplication/s of scripture often have serious spiritual ramifications! Here are several examples in our day, which have led astray over 2 billion people:
Calvinistic Predestination Out of Context
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16)
THE ERROR: The phrase “You did not choose me, but I chose you” is applied to predestination and salvation, when the context shows it refers to bearing fruit.
Eternal Security HERESY Out of Context
The most common argument for the heresy of eternal security comes from John 10:28.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
THE ERROR: The phrase “they shall never perish” is removed from its context of verse 27, which shows that promise only refers to those who continuously follow Jesus, and not backsliders, as it is misused to say!
and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Heb 5:9)
THE ERROR: The words “eternal salvation” are removed from their context of being given only to those who obey Jesus and applied even to the disobedient!
How To Study The Bible — Part 1
Water Gospel HERESY Out of Context
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Pet 3:20, KJV)
THE ERROR: The words “saved by water” in the KJV are not talking about the salvation of the soul as they are applied to! [1 Peter 3:20 is an ERROR IN THE KJV since Noah was NOT “saved by water,” but saved THROUGH water as he was in the ark. This alone destroys KJV Onlyism.]
Woman Clothed With The Sun Out of Context
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Rev 12:1,2)
THE ERROR: The words “woman clothed with the sun” are removed from their context and applied to Mary by the Catholic Church! That fits their myth that she is the sinless Queen of Heaven, who is sovereignly ruling the universe with Jesus from the throne (and without the Father)! The context shows the symbolic usage of that phrase since the same woman sprouts wings and flies out into the desert for her own protection (Rev. 12:13,14)!
Universalism HERESY Out of Context
(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (1 Tim 4:10)
THE ERROR: The words “Savior of all men” are used to teach universalism [salvation for everyone]. The context shows the Lord Jesus is the Savior of those who believe on Jesus, which is bolstered by scores of other verses.
Praying About The Book of Mormon Out of Context
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
ERROR: Mormon missionaries want us to pray about the Book of Mormon, when it came from a blatant false prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.! The words, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God” are used out of context to teach praying about something which is obviously wrong to see if you get a burning in the bosom testimony. That was NOT what James was referring to. [We don’t lack wisdom about Mormonism or the book of Mormon. Neither are from God.]
Jehovah’s Witnesses House To House Preaching Out of Context
You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. (Acts 20:20)
THE ERROR: The words, “taught you publicly and from house to house” are used to teach the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who go house to house, are just like the early Christians in the New Testament. The context refers to Paul teaching the various elders of church houses in Ephesus! Acts 20:17 shows the subject is the elders of Ephesus, not unbelievers.
To study the Bible the right way, you must carefully consider the surrounding verses. The context must be properly applied for the sake of truth. Don’t allow a false teacher to take a verse out of context and mislead you!