Something happened this last couple of weeks that reminded me of one really important aspect of our approach to Scripture. I am working through Romans with two different studies. In one we have been on chapter 8 for a couple of weeks, in the other we finished chapter 13 this morning. Earlier in the year one group with which I meet went through Romans 4 – 11. Last week when we looked at Romans 12 I asked the questions why did the Holy Spirit through Paul put the content of 12 as the first response to all of the heavy doctrine of 1 – 11. In all of the times I have studied this book I do not remember ever asking that question directly. Big mistake.
All of our favorite passages are part of a larger context. If we do not take the time to try to understand where those passages we love fit into the overall argument of the book in which they appear, there is a danger that we will misunderstand or misuse those passages. Example Philippians 4:13 shows up all over the place and is mostly misapplied.
All of our favorite passages should drive us to understand the overall message and purpose of the books in which they appear. Since they are favorites, that will should be a great study for all of us.