Something that stuck with me from one of my Bible classes in college was the statement “the context is the message.” This was reiterated over and over again in class and it was on a wall-hanging displayed at the front of our classroom as well. The class I was taking was entitled Discovering the World of the Bible and my professor emphasized this statement every time we met because of the significance of the context. He talked about this often and wanted to help us understand the importance of examining the original context of the Scripture.
In Explore the Bible: Students, there are four categories of context that are included in the side column on the Leader Prep pages in the Leader Guide. Each category is equally important and serves a specific purpose in helping leaders and students examine and interpret Scripture accurately. These symbols will help guide you to know specifically what each context refers to.
Examining the context of Scripture is crucial. As you explore each of the four context categories and prepare to teach students, our hope is that you will realize its important and allow the context information to help you more accurately interpret the text. While this is not included in the Personal Study Guide, you can convey the importance of the context to your students as you teach. In each session of the Leader Guide there is context information to go along with the book of the Bible or the passage of Scripture that is the focus. If you find a particular contextual study that is interesting to you, we encourage you to dig deeper and use a Bible dictionary or a trustworthy commentary to find even more in-depth context information on the subject.