Hermeneutics is the science of the correct interpretation of the Bible.
Context always rules in interpretation, whether you are studying a single word, one verse or a larger section of Scripture. Context is the setting in which something "dwells". If you take a fish out of water, it doesn't function well! This principle holds for any passage of Scripture which is taken out of context. The word "context" is derived from a Latin word meaning "to weave together"
J. I. Packer wrote that...
“The Bible appears like a symphony orchestra, with the Holy Ghost as its Toscanini, each instrument has been brought willingly, spontaneously, creatively, to play his notes just as the great conductor desired, though none of them could ever hear the music as a whole.… The point of each part only becomes fully clear when seen in relation to all the rest” (from God Has Spoken)
Words have meaning only as they are used in a context. And that context is influenced not only by the immediate situation of the speaker or writer, but by the larger historical and cultural milieu that shapes and informs both who is communicating and what is being communicated. context is crucial for understanding the meaning of words. And it is not just the literary context, the physical location within a sentence or paragraph as important as that might be to understand. For example, the English word “angel” has traditionally been used to translate the Hebrew word malak (as in Genesis 19:1). Yet in Hebrew the word malak means “messenger,” especially the envoy of a leader or king who communicates the king's wishes and represents the king (as in 2 Samuel 5:11). The word is translated simply “messenger” in the NRSV over 100 times. It has no inherent connection to any divine being.
J. I. Packer adds these comments on the "Interpretation" out of context:
"We cannot arrive at a true
understanding of God’s Word by detaching texts from their contexts to find
personal meaning in them and be feeding them into the world of our private
preoccupations and letting that world impose new senses on old phrases. A
theological student whom later I knew as a senior friend had committed
himself to starting his ministry in the north of
Next apply the principles that John Wycliffe
(1324-1384) gave to help us to keep
everything in CONTEXT (Context is the key
for a good sound Bible Study),
shall Greatly Helpe Ye to Understand Scripture,
If Thou Mark
Not only What is Spoken or Written,
But of Whom,
And to Whom,
With what Words,
to what Intent,
With what Circumstances,
Considering what Goeth Before
And what Followeth."