"You're taking that out of context"?

This is a frequently repeated response to posts quoting the Bible (in order to disprove it).

Granted, sometimes it is a warranted response, but other times, several paragraphs are provided and Christians still say it is out of context.

Is this because these Christians believe the true meaning of any verse can only be revealed through the Holy Spirit?

And so the "context" includes the divinity of the Bible, and therefore, I as an atheist can't possibly quote a verse in context?

26 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    most times, it's because the quoted scripture makes valid sense in relation to the entire chapter/story. it's easy to take scripture out of context if you don't know the whole story. even Christians are guilty of this.

    Source(s): I am Christian
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    More likely it is because we understand Scripture in light of all Scripture.

    For example, understanding the original covenant that God made with the Israelites is essential to understanding the "New Covenant" that Jesus describes in the Gospels.

    Realizing that God didn't give the Law to the Jews until after they became the nation of Israel and were brought out to the desert is important information in trying to grasp some of the strange things people did in their own wisdom between the time Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and when God finally wrote the first commands for the people--many that go against earlier customs and beliefs.

    Understanding context is more than just seeing several verses, chapters, or even sometimes reading a whole letter or book of history in the Bible. It requires really digging in and looking at what all of Scripture has to say and having some understanding of who the original audience was and how they would have understood the passage.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are right but I want to substantiate it by the Catholic Catechism


    The Second Vatican Council indicates THREE criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.78

    112 1. Be especially attentive "to the content and unity of the whole Scripture". Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.79

    The phrase "heart of Christ" can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.80

    113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church"81).

    114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith.82 By "analogy of faith" we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.


    Notice that all 3 require the complete context at least for somebody.

    Faith is ONE.

    But I'm surprised this doesn't suggest a further question : Who's Bible ? Catholic ? or Protestant ?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They think that just because they believe it and an atheist does not, that they know more about it. But that is obviously not true. Most Christians for example have not read all of the bible and know nothing of its history.

    The are forced to cherry pick because of its many oxymoron's. They also take many things and put it into the wrong context more than everyone else put together. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    Practicing Shaman... quantum physics rocks.

  • 1 decade ago

    wow, I think you've made a very good point. Yes, the Bible is very deep, why else would there be so many different denominations with so many different spins on the interpretation of the Bible. Even now, with newer versions that are supposed to be simpler to understand, it still doesn't bring denominations to an equal understanding. You are the first atheist to make a good point in my opinion, and you don't seem arrogant or in your face, thank you, I hear what you have to say. I believe that the true meaning of the Bible can only be revealed through the Holy Spirit. Why? The Bible itself quotes:"Great is the mystery of Godliness." If you read the whole excerpt that is in, it's talking about the Godhead. But you can apply that to any part of the Bible. It depends on your intentions and purpose when you read the Bible, if you truly want to know the truth, and have a humble, sincere heart and willing to admit your mistakes and do something about them, all the sudden you see things in the Bible you never saw before. You can read a passage you've read a thousand times before, and all of a sudden, you have an understanding that wasn't there before. And whatever you see or understand, applies directly to you and your personal life. On the other hand, if you just read the Bible out of responsibility, or to find mistakes in it, or to prove a point to someone in a debate, then whatever interpretation you get from what you read is merely based on human intellect. I think God made the Bible that way on purpose, he wants to weed out the spiritual weeds, and the condition of your heart is what determines whether you are a weed or a furtile flower. We are all capable of being weeds and furtile flowers, and we can be a weed one moment, and in the turning of our hearts, we can become furtile flowers, or a better way to put it, moldable clay in the potter's hands. We are all clay molded by something, just depends on who the potter is, is it the world molding us with society's views or is God the potter? We are creatures of choice, we can freely choose to believe in God and live for Him, or we can choose that He doesn't even exist and we are blinded from all evidence of His existence because we choose not to see.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think people overquote random verses from the Bible. I think what my fellow believers are trying to say when they get defensive and reply "You're taking that out of context!", is that every verse is part of s story. The Bible is not a collection of random fortune cookie-like phrases that will mean something when read alone. The Bible is a story book. A collection of stories with morals to them. It's like life. You learn things from experiences, not from advice necessarily (because the advice is usually given out of personal experience).

    Source(s): Personal Opinion I can't speak for everyone, but that's my answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah, You need God (Holy Sprit) to actually get any verse you read in the bible. Can't disprove the bible. People wouldn't lie to say they saw a sign from God just to confuse you and mostly theirselves. lol but u see Atheist look at bible scriptures differently so if they were to turn christian (temperally) They'd take it a lil too serious and expect nothing, to happen until it suprises them. Oh not quite believing the true meaninig of any verse but following the verse. U can believe something going to happen.

  • Dan
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Well... this last refuge for a failed argument is used by christianists that really are not interested in the mind of god, rather looking for some justification for their petty hatreds and evil behaviours. When the same tool is used against them, something inside snaps and they realize their precious Bible is being used as a tool by infidels. It's what happens when people whore out their religion to attack people.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have seen verses cut in half. I have seen the last part like "God forbid" left out to change the meaning. I have seen lines from a parable where the "bad guy" is quoted like it was a command from God. That is taking it out of context.

  • 1 decade ago

    Plus it seems, you must be smart enough to (and willing) understand it in the first place.

    You actually prove our point with this question. There is no private interpretation of the Bible, and regardless of whether you are able to understand this or not, your private interpretation is a FAIL.

    Does this surprise you?

    Oh, and BTW, if you believe the Bible is divine, and not inspired, you have a problem right there.

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