We are certainly enjoying our journey as we study “Reading The Bible for All It’s Worth”, by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. This week we are studying in Chapter 3, and focusing on historical context to inform our Exegesis (what the Bible said “Then and There”).
There is a process to understanding context. Let’s take a look at 1st Corinthians 1:1-9. We see the Apostle Paul writing a letter to the church at Corinth. The first step the authors suggest is to reference a good Bible dictionary to get some background on Corinth. Two good resources are:
We also highly recommend having the YouVersion app on your phone. The app provides you with multiple translations of the Bible which we are learning is important for the understanding of God’s Word. It is also very important to have the Word of God with you all through the day as a source of guidance and encouragement.
Next, we want start asking questions about the text. In this case, we know that the book of 1st Corinthians is a letter from Paul to the church. So, we need to know a little about letters (Epistles) in the Bible. Letters in the Bible have a standard format.
• Name of the writer
• Name of the recipient
• Prayer wish
• Final greeting and farewell
Letters were usually occasional. That means they were written for a specific purpose, usually to address a specific issue in the church. To understand this purpose, we then begin to build a tentative but informed reconstruction of the intent of the Epistle:
• Why did Paul write the Epistle?
• Was it written to address a situation?
• How did Paul learn of the situation?
• What is the relationship between Paul and the church?
• What attitudes does the writer (Paul) or the audience (the church at Corinth) reflect?
The authors (Fee and Stuart) also recommend that we read the entire letter in one setting, just like any other letter. We want to get a “Big View” or the letter any it’s intent. We also want to take notes.
From the context of the letter to the Corinthian church, we see that one of the major themes the Apostle is writing about is division in the church. The Corinthian church was divided over their understanding of Wisdom, and that misunderstanding was central to the divisions in their church. The Apostle Paul sought to address this division in his letter to them.
If you like to know more about how to study your Bible, you can join us this Sunday evening at 6pm ET for our weekly Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 811 0502 2343
God Bless you, and we look forward to continuing with you as we study God’s Word together.
Pastors Willie McIntosh III and J. Rochelle McIntosh
Do you need Prayer? Have questions? We can be reached at [email protected]
On Mission Every Day. Join us
- Learn the Word by reading our weekly blog.
- Join our Sunday evening community group for Bible Study and Community help at 6pm EST.
Was this message a blessing to you? Would you consider sharing it?