November 21

Written by Bill Grandi on November 21st, 2023

I’d like to follow up on my devotion from yesterday.

There is another rule of interpretation/Bible study besides the one from yesterday (“Let Scripture explain Scripture”). The one for today is “A text without a context is only a pretext.”  Interpreted: the failure to see surrounding verses, historical narrative and setting can lead to a whole lot of problems.

Yesterday’s passage was from Matthew 7:1-5. With that I presented the very common comment, “You have no right to judge me, to tell me that I’m wrong, or that my behavior is unacceptable in God’s eyes.” That is used in defense of sin: adultery, homosexual activity, “white” lies, and just about any other sin we want to justify doing.

But remember the context quote? Check out Matthew 7:15-16- “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.”  (NLT) That section ends with verse 20 saying, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

Question: how can we identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing if we don’t (ahem) judge them? It is called discernment. But here’s the thing: it is not discernment based on our bias or personal opinion. It is based on…wait for it…what the Bible says. Every thought, every opinion, every decision, every judgment we form or express MUST BE and MUST FIND its source in the Word of God! If what we say or do does not find its root in God’s Word; if it does not find its anchor in God’s Word, then its a pretty fair assessment that it is false.

We need to be “fruit inspectors.” (Matt. 7:16-20). Last I looked a fruit inspector has to form a judgment and decide whether the fruit is good or not. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (ESV)

So, judging/discerning is an absolute must. Always compare what you are being told and taught to the Word of God.


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Everything we do/think must be grounded in the truth of Scripture, or it’s just wasted time. That will certainly lead us into troubled waters, Bill.
    Great reflection!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Martha. I agree with you, of course. It is just wasted time if we are not grounded in Scripture.

  2. Lucinalva says:

    Bom dia, Bill
    Ótima postagem, que a Palavra de Deus sempre ilumine os nossos passos, um forte abraço.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Translated: Great post, may the Word of God always enlighten our steps, a big hug.

      Thank you Lucinalva

  3. Ryan S. says:

    I think it is fair to say that the Bible is often used as a “How to guide” when it comes to life. I think the risk here is that the Bible is not written only as an instructional manual. It is Living, It is breathing. The more you read and are in-tune with it, the more you begin to understand it. God reveals not only His expectation, but His love and character through it. God breathes life through it.
    If you pick up the Bible and only expect to get information, you are missing out on most of what it has to offer.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I would most certainly agree with you Ryan. That speaks volumes about the popularity of “How To” books with a Bible theme. There is so much more there than a “how to” manual. As you echo Paul, the Word of God is living and active.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Great thoughts, Pastor Bill! Our son, Zach, just recently finished his Biblical Studies at Liberty University, and one of the main takeaways was to never cherry-pick Scripture and to always make sure you dig and find the true original context. The Word of God is so fathomless and I just want to soak all of it in that I possibly can!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Cherry-picking is a great way to put it. That gets us into a whole lot of trouble. I’m glad to see he is pursuing knowing Jesus better. And like you, I want to soak as much in as i can.