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Literary Context

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Tristan Kelley

on 1 March 2017

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Transcript of Literary Context

Literary Context
What is Literary Context
Literary Context consists of understanding the literary genre that the book of the Bible exists in.
Why is Genre Important?
Genre is the covenant between the author and the recipient.
Surrounding Text
Surrounding text starts with the passage itself and slowly works outwards. Starting with the passage, the surrounding text follows as such:
Immediate Context
Rest of Larger Section
Rest of Book
Rest of Bible
How To Identify the Surrounding Context
There are 3 steps to identifying Surrounding Context:
Identify how the book is broke into paragraphs or sections.
Summarize the idea of the section in 12 words or less
Explain how your passage relates to the surrounding section.
Consider Job
5 Major Sections:
Job most righteous in all the land
Loses wealth, family, and eventually health
Dialogues with his friends
Speaks with God
God restores his wealth...
Once you determine the genre you can determine the context of the passage.
Telephone book. novel, poem, restaurant menu, diary, comic; How do you tell them apart? Genre!
Context cannot truly be derived without knowledge of the genre.
Danger of Ignoring Surrounding Text
Ignoring Surrounding Text
It is impossible to take the Bible out of context when you consider the literary genre and surrounding text in the Bible.
That being said, by ignoring the surrounding text you can essentially make the Bible say anything you want it to.
Note Jeremiah 29:11 - Understanding prosper in that text revolves entirely around the surrounding text, however, the passage is often taken out of context.
Topical Sermons
Topical Sermons consist of taking a specific idea and using scriptures from many different locations to support that topic.
Though one of my favorite sermon forms, there exists the danger of taking scriptures out of context in order to make them support the point you are centering the sermon around.
Identify how the book broke into paragraphs or sections
Philemon Sections by Verses: (NRSV)
Summarize Each Section in 12 Words or Less.
1-3: Paul identifies recipient/sender; offers greeting.
4-7: Paul thanks God for Philemon's faith and love and intercedes for him.
Explain how your passage relates to the surrounding section.
Take 4-7 for example
The greeting 1-3 and body starting with verse 8 sandwich this topic. 4-7 set the tone for the entire rest of the passage. If it were not for Philemon's faith and love, Paul would have never sent Onesimus back.
Consider the genre. Does it change the meaning?
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