Context is key … to rightly dividing, rightly understanding, rightly applying and rightly explaining.
Yet context is often ignored for multiple reasons despite the fact there is hardly a verse that can be properly understood, to its fullest extent, without knowing the context!
With this small example let me show you why context is so important:
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.” (1 Timothy 4:9 NKJV)
What saying? How can it be reliable or worthy of receiving into our lives if we don’t know what it is?
This point applies to what a saving faith looks like. This point applies to what mode of baptism is expected. This point applies to what we actually do in remembrance of Jesus.
Lessons can indeed be learned from individual verses, but the lesson intended by the Spirit of God can only be found by looking at what is being said before and after the thought under consideration. The whole counsel comes from looking at whole texts, not snippets here and there.
“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.” (1 Timothy 4:6-9 NKJV)
Now you know the saying worthy of faithfulness and acceptance, but if you get the point I’m talking about you’ll look at the first verse in the “paragraph” and ask the question, “What things?”