Literary context is one of those important principles that can be applied not only in a Biblical exposition setting, but also in an every day reading the Bible setting. It’s really pretty straightforward and does not require any special knowledge or training. It’s as simple as being mindful of just a few things as you read scripture. Oh, and if you haven’t read my intro. on context, check it out here. Continue reading “DON’T FORGET TO CHECK ABOVE AND BELOW: A LOOK AT LITERARY CONTEXT”
The sun beats fiercely down in Castile in August and at siesta time every road is deserted: not a man, not even a dog. I am wrong, however. In the distance a dark blob shows up against the light which is so brilliant that every speck of dust is separately visible. A friar. A pilgrim perhaps? His brown habit which is all in rags sweeps the dust, the Franciscan hood is well down over his eyes. Not that he is afraid of being blinded by the dazzling light — the brilliance of his interior vision is more intense than any sunlight — but he despises the world which he treads beneath his bare feet. Vagabond that he is, he has never consented to travel otherwise than as the very poor do, begging his bread; he has been all over Spain and Italy with his regular, measured tread. Moreover, he asks for alms but seldom: with a hunch of bread every three days, he has as much as he wants. “It’s a matter of habit,” he says. Witnesses affirm that he has sometimes remained a whole week forgetting to take any earthly nourishment. 1
I had to think about how to frame this without coming across as pretentious. I don’t know if it’s really possible, so I’m just going to say it anyway and hope you perceive my intentions correctly. I have been growing increasingly concerned with regurgitated, derivative Christian literature that’s being mass produced. I think this is particularly true amongst evangelicals, of which I would consider myself. By derivative, I simply mean imitative; imitative to the extent that I think we, collectively, should reject it. Disapprove by refusing to purchase another catchy but ultimately empty book. Here for a moment, then gone. Trending momentarily, but ultimately unmemorable. I’ve read entire books only to reflect that I couldn’t recall a single coherent theme or progression. Many of these titles are simply collections of anecdotes and lack spiritual depth.