As homeschooling parents, we carry the precious responsibility of nurturing our children’s education and spiritual development. An essential part of this journey involves studying the Bible together as a family. But diving into God’s Word without considering the context can lead to misinterpretation and confusion. That’s why understanding and studying Scriptural context is so critical. Let’s explore the significance of studying the Bible in context and how it can profoundly impact your family.
The Benefits of Studying Scripture in Context
Studying the Bible in context simply means reading each verse and passage while considering the circumstances surrounding it. This includes understanding:
– The original audience – Who was the author speaking to? What was their culture and background?
– The genre – Is it poetry, a letter, or a historical account?
– The purpose – Why was this text written? What did the author intend to communicate?
– The history – What was happening at that time in biblical history?
Considering these contextual clues as we study prevents misunderstanding and reveals the rich meaning of God’s Word. Here are some of the blessings that studying Scripture in context can bring:
Fosters Proper Interpretation
When we read verses in isolation, it becomes easier to impose our own assumptions and understandings onto the text. But context gives clarity. For instance, in Matthew 18:9 Jesus says to gouge out your eye if it causes you to sin. Should we interpret this literally? Studying the context makes it clear that Jesus is using hyperbole to emphasize the importance of fleeing from temptation.
Strengthens Doctrinal Discernment
Cults often twist Biblical verses by ripping them from their context. Studying Scriptural context protects against doctrinal deception and false teaching. For example, we can discern the difference between Scriptures meant for specific people at specific times, vs. universal principles that are relevant today.
The Impact on Homeschooling
Studying the Bible in its proper context is especially beneficial for homeschooling families. Here are some of the profound impacts it can have:
Enriches Family Devotionals
Family devotions have the potential to become a wonderful homeschooling tradition! But understanding Scriptural context will help enhance these times. By sharing background details that make the passage come alive, it will help captivate the children’s interest, inspire great discussions, and model good Bible study skills.
Aids Character Development
Homeschooling gives us an opportunity to shape Godly character in our little ones. But understanding Scriptural context will help them properly understand Bible stories and principles, leading to genuine spiritual growth. For example, context will show your children that David’s bravery against Goliath was fueled by zeal for God’s glory, not for his own self-centered honor. This will help shape their motivations.
Homeschoolers have the flexibility for spontaneous conversations about Biblical insights. By studying the context of the Scriptures as a family, you will equip your children with greater perspective for these discussions and they will be able to make deeper connections between Scripture and life.
Where to Begin
If studying Scriptural context is new for your family, here are simple ways to begin:
– If your Bible has chapter introductions, read them – These give helpful context.
– Use study Bibles – Their footnotes provide contextual insights.
– Research Biblical-cultural background – Learn about geography, history, politics, etc.
– Look for repetition – Recurring words and themes are often significant.
– Note contrasts and comparisons – These teach through real-life examples.
– Discuss the 5 W’s – Explore who, what, when, where, and why together.
Don’t forget to lean on reliable references like Bible dictionaries, commentaries, maps, and articles to enlighten your studies.
Studying the Bible in context takes dedication, but the rewards for your family and your homeschool are plentiful. You’ll grow in discernment, overcome Biblical misunderstandings, gain richer spiritual wisdom, and watch your children blossom in faith as they learn to handle God’s Word well (2 Timothy 2:15). There is simply no better textbook for raising students who love God with all their heart, soul, and mind (Luke 10:27). Allowing Scripture to speak on its own terms will bless your family beyond measure!
P.S. If you are looking for some good Family Bible Studies, we love these from Not Consumed Ministries. These guides are designed to help families get into God’s Word together and learn the life-changing truth they need to become more like Christ. Explore them here…