Never Read a Bible Verse
You've likely heard the phrase in real-estate, that what matters is "Location, location, location". The idea behind that holds true in bible study as well, and perhaps could be better stated "Context, context, context". Failure to obey this rule will result in devastating consequence in your understanding of the bible. It's possible that by ignoring context, we can come up with a meaning for a bible verse that is completely different than what the Holy Spirit intended. In this post we'll take a look at one passage where today's church has done exactly that.
You might remember me bringing up the "inspirational" wall calendar with scripture passages on it, in which one of the months said this: "If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Apparently, nobody bothered to check the context of that text, because if they had, they would have found out that it was actually Satan speaking (Luke 4:7).
Context is so important, that the folks at Stand To Reason sell a booklet entitled "Never Read a Bible Verse", never read one all by itself that is. You should always read the surrounding verses and chapters, etc. It's actually dangerous to read a bible verse in isolation.
In this post I'm going to walk you through a bible verse that the modern church almost always rips out of it's context, using it to teach something that the verse really doesn't teach at all. Before I explain further, lets read the verse; it's 2 Peter 3:9 and I've actually included the preceding passage as well. For right now, you can just ignore all of the colors (I was always the kid in school with the biggest box of crayons):
1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Verse 9 is often used in the modern church in an attempt to unseat the biblical concept of Election. The idea is, if it says that God wants to save everyone, then why would he only choose some? And so (many think) Election is thus proven false by this verse.
But rather than get involved in an emotional or philosophical argument about Election, lets just focus on the nuts and bolts of this verse. In so doing, we'll let the bible do the talking, and hopefully we'll get a better understanding of how dangerous out-of-context verses can be.
So my first question to you is, who is the you in verse 9? The answer is, it is the dear friends of verse 8; that's who the letter is being written to. In fact, it says it again in verse 1, where it mentions that this is Peter's second letter to these friends. So to find out who the dear friends are, we only need to go back to the first verse of the first letter that Peter wrote to them. Here's what 1 Peter 1:1 says:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
Are you with me so far? If so, you see that we've tracked down the you in verse 9 as being "God's elect"; they are the ones that will not perish. If you followed me on that, let's go on to study this a little deeper. For that, I have put a 9 minute video clip online that does an excellent job of walking you through this. The video does a couple of word studies using a Strong's concordance, but I've made it easy for you by linking to Strong's online for the blue colored words (above) in question. So now, all that you need to do is watch the video and be a Berean, and then decide for yourself what the meaning is of this passage. Click the video to get started:
Be the first to post a comment about this article