Summary: Working towards reconciliation is always my responsibility.

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Where Two or Three are Gathered

Matthew 18:15-20

Rev. Brian Bill

April 29-30, 2017

I learned a new word this week from Wikipedia, the source you can trust – contextomy. Contextomy (also known as quote mining) is a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding material in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. Contextomies may be both intentional as well as accidental.

One of the most familiar ways contextomy takes place is when marketers use “review blurbs” in advertising. Here’s an example. After watching a movie and not liking it, one film critic wrote, “I couldn’t help feeling that, for all the energy, razzmatazz and technical wizardry, the audience had been shortchanged.” This is how the studio pared it down for their publicity – “…energy, razzmatazz and technical wizardry…”

When people get quoted in the media, it’s common to hear them say, “I was taken out of context!” Here’s an actual exchange…

NEWS REPORTER: “Can you confirm the rumor of mass layoffs in the next quarter?”

COMPANY SPOKESPERSON: “There is no truth to the rumor that there will be mass layoffs in the next quarter.”

QUOTE IN NEWSPAPER: “…there will be mass layoffs in the next quarter.”

Let me be quick to say that reporters that I’ve known over the years have done a great job getting their facts straight.

If it’s easy to take things in our culture out of context, we must certainly be careful about taking the Word of God out of context. Someone may say to you, “I can live however I want because the Bible says, ‘Relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” The Bible does say that in Luke 12:19 but you should take them to the very next verse to see how that philosophy pans out: “God says, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”

I believe most people accidently, not intentionally, quote the Bible out of context. My prayer is that we will learn how to slow down and read what comes before and what comes after our favorite verses so that we can correctly interpret and then apply Scripture to our relational contexts.

We kicked off our new series called, “Context” last weekend with an introductory message to help establish that the three most important rules in Bible study are: Context, Context, and Context! The main thing we discovered is that we must work hard at handling the Word of God because how we handle God’s Word determines whether we’ll be an approved worker or an ashamed wanderer.

We were challenged from 2 Timothy 2:15 to: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

• Stay hungry

• Work hard

• Correctly handle

We were also encouraged to cross cultural rivers and to ask journalistic questions – who, what, where, when, where and why.

I also recommended that if you don’t have a study Bible that you consider getting one. The links for these Bibles are now posted on the Sermon Extras tab on our website as well as on the Edgewood app. I’ve also included a number of other free resources.

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