Sunday June 2, 2019 – The importance of context

John 8:31, 32  To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The context in which a scripture is set is frequently very important to both the understanding of the verse and its application.  Unfortunately Christians and people in general have a tendency at times to over look this fact.   A good illustration of this point is Ps 14:1, which contains the statement, “There is no God.”  But the context makes a world of difference.  The entire verse reads, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

This importance of context really applies to today’s verses.  The portion that is so frequently quoted is the 32nd verse, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  It’s usually presented as a Biblical promise that one is set free simply by hearing or recognizing the truth.   But a closer examination reveals that the context has a very important qualifier in verse 31.

This promise is part of an “If… Then…” situation.  If the first condition is true, then the benefit or desired result will follow.  If the first condition is NOT true, then it typically won’t.  The full context presents the two components of what Jesus is saying: 1) IF you hold to my teaching…2) THEN you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

The context provides a lot of clarity.  Jesus is also defining what is required to be a disciple, who then can be the recipient of the promise.  It’s not just a matter of acknowledging Him as Lord.  A disciple is one who holds fast to His teachings and lives in accordance with them.  The promise specifically applies to that individual who is a disciple.

About Don Schmidt

Beginning in the fall of 2009, Don was VP of Operations & Director of Student Life for 2 years at Williamson Christian College in Franklin, TN - a wonderful, accredited 4 year college for adult learners. That is where he started writing the devotionals. The passion of his heart is to love God and to help others learn to love God more and more. He grew up in St. Joseph, MI - Class of '66. Graduated from Michigan State in '70 and Wheaton Grad School in '78. Thunderous conversion October 11, 1968. He and Donna were engaged 2 hrs & 15 minutes after they met August 25, 1969 at a Christian camp in Georgia. They married in '70 and have 4 wonderful sons. Most of his adult career has been in business in NE Ohio. They lived for 20 years in Peninsula, OH. They attended St. Luke's Ministries (Anglican) in Copley, OH for many years. Three years ago they were reassigned by the Lord to attend River of Life Community Church in Hudson, OH. St. Luke's prayerfully sent them off on this new adventure with much love.
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