CON(TEXT)UAL READING

I am often questioned, or surprised by some, when they learn I don’t read the Sabbath School Quarterly.  I cannot give the exact year but I do recall the situation.  I was attending Beacon Light Tabernacle SDA Church, very involved in the reading/teaching when a particular quarter the lesson was so badly written, many wanted to do away with the lesson and I do believe some even wrote the conference in complaint.  This had to have been between thirty and thirty-five years ago.  Prior to that time, I also noticed when I looked up those particular cited texts or Spirit of Prophecy writings, which were often quoted, were taking out of the context for which it was written!

This morning while doing my devotion, I thought to write a post and was inspired, rather, motivated, because there is a difference between the words; however, I would have had to omit one sentence within the paragraph in order to make it fit my thought, but it was not what she had particularly addressed when she wrote it.  I declined to write.  What occurred to me back then I would not be guilty of doing today.

Now, let me quickly add, I have no idea of the quality of the writing and purpose of those who are involved in putting together the Quarterlies today.  It is also my belief, which was established back then, whatever text they wanted to use, I could do the same thing by reading my Bible.  Whatever Spirit of Prophecy writings they wanted to use, again, I could do the same thing by reading those writings in their entirety.  What I have found in doing this were two things:  (1) I believe those lessons were primarily written for those who had no systematic method of studying and this would be a helpful way to, listen to this, get them started in doing so, and (2) I’m now able, when I read something, readily understand the application of how the author is basing his intent, and not be deceived or misled.  There is something to be said about “basic” reading and “contextual” reading, which is the reading I prefer.  Now, for certain, “contextual” reading involves a lengthy process but it is also the safest way of studying a point and thoroughly understanding without someone else’s bias permeating the document.  I’m wary of reading people’s opinions when it comes to my religious beliefs.

These very practices of taking a text out of context is the reason for all the differing denominations we have today.  Sadly, anyone can take one particular text and base their entire belief and movement upon that text and be completely off-base because it was not in context.  I read this morning how sixty-six books written by forty authors yet the entire Book flows as one complete contextual piece of writing because in truth there is really only one Author, the Holy Spirit. It becomes even more apparent, to me, the necessity of reading that Book, from cover-to-cover, continually.  Therefore, when someone either quotes verbally or writing you’re apt to catch an error because you’re familiar with the verse and how it relates to the total of what God wants you to understand.

Now with the influx of so-called “bibles” making their introduction into the libraries of many who believe they’re getting the “Bible”, when in fact, they’re not getting anything remotely close to the Truth!  We have to remember satan is doing his best to thwart you and I with a mixture of truth and error.  He is not working from the outside but inside the church, too!  The only way of being able to detect him is to KNOW THE TRUTH which can only come from the BIBLE.  Jesus made it clear the Holy Spirit will come and “guide” us into all Truth, but if you’re not reading the Truth, what is there to guide?

 

February 17, 2015

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