21 February 2010

NT journal

We have to do journals for my New Testament class - simple one page reflections on interpretation and the Scriptures. Because I was sick, I have to do at least two extra credit ones to reconcile the two quizzes I missed in class. This is one of them..

Growing up it was easy to take verses out of context and interpret them to fit one's own desires and still claim to believe "the whole Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:20." More often than not, those out-of-context interpretations came from the New Testament. Some of those included 1 Corinthians 11:15 ("but a woman who wears her hair long enhances her appearance, because her hair has been given to her as a covering.") and Acts 10:13-15 (Peter's vision) among others. Some came from the Old Testament as well - such as Deuteronomy 22:5 ("a woman is not to wear men's clothing, and a man is not to put on women's clothing, for whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai your God.")
Interpreting the Bible in the context it was written is a fairly new concept for me. At times we would discuss the Israelites or the Jews of the Old Testament, but never what we believed in the way it was meant for the context in which it was said. This separated way of looking at Scripture plagues many church groups today. understanding where our beliefs have come from or what they are grounded in - even if simply in the verses surrounding them - is overlooked.
Taking a verse out of context is like the media piecing together bits and fragments  of a quote to have the interviewee say what will get the news channel/organization the most viewers, feedback, or simply a better story. It is not defined as slander, but at its core it truly is.
Like a person watching their interview on the news or reading a quote in the newspaper, I wonder if God ever looks at us and throws His hands in the air saying, "That is NOT what I meant! That's not even what I said! There was something before/after that part that makes it make SENSE.."

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