The importance of context.

One of my professors years ago recounted a particular conversation with certain Jehovah’s Witnesses. He became frustrated with their frequent appeals to the authority of scripture that had been taken out of context. So, he demonstrated for them how important context can be. Asking for their Bible, he looked up Matthew 27:5, which is summarized: “Judas … went and hanged himself.” Continuing the citation, he then looked up Jesus’ response in Luke 10:37, “Go and do likewise.” Finally, he looked up Jesus’ words in John 13:27, “What you do, do quickly.” I doubt that these JWs obeyed this collection of scripture passages literally, and they may not have even gotten the point: the context of the Bible passages we cite can be very important.

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