Literary Context

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16 March 2016

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1. What happens if you carefully consider the surrounding context of a passage, but ignore its literary genre?

When you are reading the Bible, understanding and interpreting the true meaning is one of the most crucial things we must do. In the text, Hays and Duvall say that “we would go so far as to say that the most important principle of biblical interpretation is that context determines meaning.” If we make the mistake of ignoring the context, it often leads to misinterpretation and confusion of what the scriptures are really trying to say. It is important to know the historical-cultural context as well as the literary context in order to properly understand what is being said.

2. Besides those examples cited in this chapter, what are some instances of interpreting a biblical passage apart from its immediate context?

I think it is always important to really understand what you are reading in the Bible; because sometimes when we are reading the Bible, in hopes of finding an answer to a question, it could be easy to twist the text to make it fit your situation. I think a lot of times this happens in very unfortunate ways, like when people are trying to use the word against one another. I have personally seen people use Bible verses against a person or a group of people to bring them down, or to make themselves seem superior to another group of people. I do not believe the Bible should be used to harm one another, or to persecute people. One of my favorite quotes from Hays & Duvall is “misreading the Bible ultimately hurts people by enslaving them, rather than setting them free with truth.”

3. When is topical preaching contextually valid? When does it disregard and violate context?

Topical preaching can be vaild when the various passages are understood in context and the overall message doesn’t violate those individual contexts (Duvall & Hays, 2008). However, often topical preaching distorts the meaning of Scripture because it disregards the literary context. Topical preaching often disregards and violates context because it jumps from one passage to another, when this happens unrelated thoughts are strung together. It is like picking thoughts at random in order to shape your own conclusion, this is a violation of the context.

Duvall, J., & Hays, J. (2008). Journey into God’s Word. Grand Rapids, MI:

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"Literary Context" StudyScroll, 16 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Literary Context [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 29 September, 2023]

"Literary Context" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016. Accessed Sep 29, 2023.

"Literary Context" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016.

"Literary Context" StudyScroll, 16-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 29-Sep-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Literary Context. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 29-Sep-2023]

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