The Importance of Reading the Bible in Context

“Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

(Matt 19:21)

Yes, Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions and give to the poor. But why? The context tells us and the context is key. The rich young ruler thought he could earn his way into heaven through good works. Jesus, however, used his possessions to show him that was not true.

In the case of the rich young ruler, he may have kept some of the commandments but when it came to putting other gods before Yahweh, he failed. He worshipped his possessions, which is idolatry. When asked to put away his idols, he refused.

Our hearts are desperately wicked. An idol factories even. We don’t need the secret combination of works. Selling your possessions does no more to earn you a place in the kingdom than does keeping all the rest of the commandments. It is not about our actions, but our heart. Our heart is sick with sin. We need a complete heart change. We need a Savior. We can’t be our own. We need Jesus to pay our debt because we can’t pay it ourselves.

Be a responsible Bible reader. Don’t read verses in isolation. Read the context. It is important to understanding God’s will.

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