Step # 10: Consider the theological context of the Bible.

Step 9: Familiarize yourself with the theological context of the Bible. ; Since the Bible is a revelation of the infinite mind of God, a rule requiring interpretations and applications to harmonize with the nature of God and forbidding them to contradict His nature is axiomatic.  The nature and purpose of God and the Christian religion must always be considered as weightier than the letter of the law.  Some tend to see God through narrowly focused blinders.  They are so focused on a particular attribute of God that they are blinded to his other attributes.  By being so focused on the love of God, some fail to see His intolerance toward rebellion and disobedience.  Conversely, some who are so focused on the judgment and intolerance of God toward the disobedient fail to see the mercy and tolerance of God toward the ignorant and those who are misled.

We must maintain a balanced view of God and interpret and apply His word in harmony with the following.  Although submission to God requires us to seek to know and do His will, He extends mercy and grace toward believers who, through human limitations, fail to achieve perfection (1 John 1:7-9).  However, He also threatens severe judgment upon all who reject His mercy and grace by refusing to believe or acting against good faith (Heb. 10:26).  Those focused only on the grace of God see Him as an indulgent Father and handle His word with a permissive bent.  On the other hand, those focused only on the judgment of God see Him as a merciless tyrant and handle His word with an intolerant bent.  Nevertheless, those who maintain a balanced view of God will handle His word with neither a permissive nor intolerant bent.

In their zeal for the letter of the law, the Pharisees neglected the weightier matters, judgment, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).  God is love (1 John 4:7,8).  Love does no harm to its neighbor, but is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10).  Any act that is unloving contradicts God’s nature, and contradicts the law rather than fulfills it.  Interpretations and applications which justify unloving acts are wrong, even though they might fulfill the letter of the law.  In such cases, they may fulfill the letter of the law while contradicting the purpose of the law.

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