Larger Picture Or Smaller Picture (Context)

Related eBooks

Let’s use Psalm 73 NIV as an example.

A psalm of Asaph

Verse 28 says:

28. But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

What do we see in this verse? I [author of this psalm] am so close to God that I will proclaim His mercy on me.

Let’s add verse 27:

27. Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28. But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

Now we get a little bit larger picture. People who are not close to God and people who are close to God are completely opposite. The verse 27 and 28 are the smallest unit.

Let’s see more verses:

21. When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22. I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23. Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24. You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25. Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26. My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27. Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28. But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

This larger unit tells that I am crushed, desperate and even shameful; I feel like I am failing all the way, but God alone is my strength regardless.

Now let’s see the whole picture (chapter) here:

1. Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3. For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4. They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5. They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.

6. Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7. From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8. They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9. Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10. Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11. They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”

12. This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14. All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15. If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16. When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17. till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18. Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19.How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20. They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21. When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22. I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23. Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24. You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25. Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26. My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27. Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28. But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

The whole scope of this chapter is I [author of this psalm] am questioning about the wicked who are not only healthy and dominant but also prosperous, while I am right with God and yet keep suffering to the point of faint and even nearly death in contrast. I know their final destiny while I am clinging desperately to your (God’s) glory.

How do we differently understand the meaning of the verse(s) from the small segment to the large segment of the Bible? The verses have to be looked by unit by unit. Otherwise, it will be out of context. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 out of context as he tempted Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. – T

2 thoughts on “Larger Picture Or Smaller Picture (Context)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Content Protection by DMCA.com
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed