Scholarship: Trying to get it right

Protestant scholar Dr. Donald A. Carson ascribed to his father, a Canadian minister, this phrase which has become a rule taught to most students of the Scriptures: “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.” Every time I sit down and write a talk or presentation from the Scriptures, that watchdog goes off in my head, usually in the voice of my Bible professor, Dr. John Peck. He taught us that use of a singular Biblical verse references or ‘proof text’ usually led to painting our own ‘desired meaning’ over the real and true intention of the section of Scripture that verse came from. Dr. Peck always encouraged solid scholarship, and that included reading the entire chapter in which a verse finds itself; “at the least, read 3 verses before and 3 after the extracted verse… only if you are in a terrible hurry…” he would say.

Other notable scholars through the years, like Tyndale and Moody would encourage their students likewise.

Without carefully examining the context in which Scripture is used, one can easily (or worse, intentionally) misappropriate, misuse, misapply or misrepresent a text to support a position that it in fact does not support.

Bad idea, trying to bend Scripture to fit your own meaning.

Throughout the blog Adore The Lord, we will quote verses and passages, but we strongly encourage for you to open up the Word yourself and study the whole chapter in context. For consideration of space, we will try to minimize the use of Text to 2 or 3 verses…

We hope that Adore The Lord blog will be a place to spark discussion… Let’s dialouge… Let’s get this right… Let’s be like these fine folk…

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. (Acts 17: 10-12)


All texts will employ the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted. Sometimes, other translations will be used, usually for poetics, familiarity or emphasis. Many of us grew up hearing other translations like King James (KJV), and the wonderful work of transliteration by Peterson in The Message can be enlightening. The NIV has solid scholarship, is widely accepted as reliable, and is my basic translation for daily consumption of the Word.


New International Version (NIV) ©1984 Biblica International/Zondervan USA.

written by crisbaj

© 2017 by crisbaj/  All rights reserved.

(If you re-post or use material from this blog, please give author citation)

<<>> end