STEP NUMBER FIVE
5. Biblical-Theological Context
It is time to get the ole thinking cap out and do some real thinking about how this passage relates to other scripture and towards Christian theology. Remember the passage or even chapter that you are currently studying was not written in a vacuum, nor was it meant to stand independent of the rest of the book or the bible. You analyze the passage you are studying in view of seeing how it relates to the rest of scripture.
5.1 Analyze the passage’s relationship to the rest of Scripture
It is time to ask several questions of your passage. Thinking through these answers and then writing them out will help you in this step. Ask your passage:
· What is your passage similar or even dissimilar to?
· Is your passage one of many similar passages or is it unique?
· What gaps in Christian history, philosophy, or doctrine does it fill?
· Do other scriptures make this passage more understandable?
· Where does your passage fit in in the overall structure of biblical revelation?
· What value does this passage have for you, a student of the bible?
For example, if you are studying I Peter 2:18-25, you would want to analyze some similar passages such as; (Eph.6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4-1; I Tim. 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10.
5.2 Analyze the passage’s use in and relation to theology
First, don’t be afraid of the word theology. Technically, it means “the study of God.” It came to be used for a body of study. To us lay people in the church it merely means “teaching” or “doctrine.” How does your passage relate to other teachings in the bible? Answering the following questions will help you answer this question.
· What theological doctrine does the passage shed light on?
· What are the theological concerns or implications in your passage?
· Does the passage raise concerns or questions about some theological issue?
· How does your passage harmonize with the greater theological whole of scripture?
· How does this passage help you (and others) become more theologically consistent with the rest of scripture and its teachings?
When you have finished answering these questions (and others that you might think of) write your answers in a paragraph form. This shouldn’t take that long nor be that involved. Yes, the thinking process might take several minutes to a few hours. Once thought through and answered however, your writing the answers down into a “synopsis” should not take long. However, it will of great benefit to you in the understanding of your passage.
Do you remember the three greatest secrets in real estate? Well if you don’t they are 1) location; 2) location; 3) location. The three greatest secrets in theology are 1) context; 2) context; 3) context. Analyzing the text is one of your greatest tools. Always be cognizant of biblical or theological context.