Context Is King

A major principle of accurate Bible interpretation is summed up in the phrase "context is king." Vital Clues

Context is vital to our understanding of God's revealed truth. Although the meaning of the individual words is important, we cannot stop there in our search for the meaning of God's Word. We must understand how the surrounding text influences the words used.

Here is an illustration of the importance of immediate context. The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew. Written Hebrew did not use vowels but only consonants. Later Jewish scholars added vowel points, but the original text has no vowels! If you had only consonants to work with in English, what would the word "hr" be? It could be hair, hear, her, hour, or here. Without the surrounding context you couldn't know which word was intended. Most of us don't read the Bible in Hebrew, but you get the point. As people interpret and translate the Bible from the Hebrew for us to read, they must allow context to guide them.

We apply this principle all the time, even in English. Some words sound alike or are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example if I say, "I cannot bear another day" or if I say, "The bear was after me," you know by the context which word I mean.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]