Taking the Bible “Out of Context” – Apologia

I always find it quite humorous and frustrating, when using verses from the Bible in my discussions with Christians, the frequency in which I’m accused of taking a verse “out of context”.  This happens often and it usually comes from those that haven’t spent 1/10th of the time I have studying the Bible and earnestly seeking to understand its context, the accusation of my faulty context is often one made in blind faith about my understanding.

I like to discuss religion and ask difficult questions about faith. I like to ask people questions that I found myself asking not too long ago, not to make people uncomfortable, but to normalize the processes of doubt and skepticism and to challenge concepts too easily assumed to be true. Sad few understand this, most believe that my goal is to simply debate and argue but this has never been the case. I’d like to make the case that not only am I doing the Christian faith a great service, I’m holding the believer to the standards and expectations set forth in the New Testament.

“I don’t have to defend my faith to you,” or “this is what I believe because the Bible says so, take it or leave it” are common objections  I hear – occasionally someone with a high regard for his or her intellect will point out that by discussing religion with me they are “casting pearls before swine“, believe me when I say that I know what that feels like and discussing matters of faith with unbelievers isn’t what is being objected to here.

On the contrary, dear believer, it is indeed your duty and call to answer the objections that people like myself have to your faith – as Peter commanded:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer  [apologia] to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope [or faith] that is in you with meekness and fear ~ 1 Peter 3:15 [mine]

Strong’s Concordance lists the word for “to give an answer” as the greek term “apologia” and it is defined as, “properly, a well-reasoned reply; a thought-out response to adequately address the issue(s) that is raised.” and the related term “apologéomai” as, “properly, to reason from solid proof (sound logic); to make a compelling defense with sound logic (argumentation)”

I think Peter is pretty clear here, that the believer should be well versed enough in his faith that he can give a defense for it when objections arise and that when asked for empirical evidence and sound logic it should be something the believer can provide. This charge was given to the believers in Galatia and East Asia by one of the apostles of the faith but very few today are willing to engage in such a way.

I’m intentionally giving people the opportunity to share their faith and their reasons for it. Furthermore I’m giving people reason to question some of it’s foundations so that they might better understand it and question it. This is a service that more should be willing to accept and enjoy but unfortunate few do.

I’m just telling the Christians what the Bible says though. No one has to like it.

  • I agree %103.5 that ALL "believers" should be well versed in God's Word. And because they are not, we have the situation we have today!

    • They are not going to take the initiative to become well-versed because they've been surviving on the "say anything religious and it'll be respected" attitude in the US.

      Religion gets a free pass while science and reality receive doubt.

  • I enjoyed this post. Thanks!

  • Daniel Silverman

    Some do have answers, as you certainly know. However, the text of the Bible is often heavily obscured by doctrinal and personal belief. In other words, many believers are blinded to the text by what they have been taught or by what conclusions they have personally come to. On top of this, the English text that most use is often very inaccurate when compared to the original languages in which they were originally penned. Ancient idioms, for example, are often completely misunderstood. And this is even more complicated by the translation of such idioms (if the translator does not understand the idiom's meaning, then how can he translate it with meaning?). And there are a myriad of other issues when to comes to people offering an "answer" for the "hope" that they say is within them.

    But you know this as well, if not better, than I.

  • Gerardo

    Bullshit is bullshit, doesn't matter if you put a cherry on top.

  • It annoys me when that argument is used. It's so arrogant and condescending, as if they have a divine interpretation of the book that you aren't able to decipher with your unsaved mind. Then again, some of them do actually believe they are anointed to do such things.

  • I think the real irony is that those of "Faith", who are well versed in the Canon don't really care what the average everyday bitter atheist activist says. HaHaHa… But it is fun to comment tho! Go gettum sport, pull those lukewarms out of the Body of Christ, that way they can see the error of their ways, repent, and learn to listen to God, and not the folks mad at Him… 😉 ooooooooo……

  • People interpret and cherry pick the bible to match their character. For example those who parrot "an eye for eye" are probably the vindictive type looking for an excuse to advocate street justice. What better excuse to do this than justification by their holy book?

  • You have nailed it with one of my favorite verses. This is my message to my fellow Christians, and without knowing the word of God and internalizing it in your heart as well as your head you will be at the mercy of anyone who asks you for the reason of the hope that lies within you.

    BUT – while there may be many Christians who have not done what I stated above, there are many who have. Perhaps you have not met too many of them. Sadly there is a great problem with biblical illiteracy among this generation of Christians that needs to be remedied because much of the evil in the world stems from the fact that the Christians are fighting the battle against spiritual wickedness in the power of the flesh instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a call to warfare coming from the throne of God and you will see that in time there will be a new awakening among the people of God that will shake the world before the end of time. It is foretold in the book of Joel that in the last days God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh and many things will change. I am somewhat certain you are familiar with that portion of scripture if you have thoroughly studied the Bible. If not it is Joel 3:28-32.

    Rick