When you look at the picture below, I’m guessing your first though isn’t “Whoa, that is crazy awesome!”
However, when you see this same exact artwork from the right perspective, I guarantee it will blow your mind! You see, without the proper perspective, you are robbed of the right outlook. Without the right perspective, the most beautiful, inspiring things can become boring, irrelevant, or even dangerous.
Let me just show you what I mean with this same exact artwork from a different perspective:
Did that just blow your mind a little bit? I told you it would! How awesome is that?!
I’m fascinated with this form of art. The only problem is that if you don’t view it from the right perspective, you don’t get the full beauty of the work. In fact, if you’ve never seen this type of art before, and I told you how fascinating this work of art was and all you saw was the following picture, you may be inclined to call me crazy.
But if you saw the picture the way I saw the picture, from the proper perspective, it would make sense.
The same is true with Christianity. There are many people in this world who have a wrong perspective of Christianity. Some of them even consider themselves Christians, yet have a wrong perspective! This wrong perspective has tainted and warped their view of who Jesus is.
What is perspective?
Here are a few definitions I pulled straight from the dictionary:
per·spec·tive [per-spek-tiv] (noun)
- a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
- the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship.
- the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.
For the purposes of this post, here’s how I’ve summed it up:
Perspective is how we see something in relationship to all the relevant information we have. All the relevant information that we have is called context.
Perspective is gained through context.
So many times, the reputation of Christianity and Jesus Christ has been muddied due to something being taken out of context. When referring to God’s word (the Bible) it is not only foolish, but dangerous to take things out of context.
Every single cult of Christianity that exists today is a result of misunderstood, manipulated, or maliciously twisted context. You remember what happened earlier this year with Harold Camping and his followers. That’s just one of the more recent examples of someone taking scripture out of context and deceiving many.
How about the Church of God cult that believes God is a woman, and that Jesus returned in the late 1940′s as a cloud and a fig tree. Yes, true story. I’ve talked with these people multiple times.
Both Harold Camping, the Church of God cult (along with many others) have one thing in common: they have a false perspective of who God is because they have been given twisted, manipulated, or flat out wrong context.
We all need to make sure we understand context in order to gain the right perspective. Only when we gain the right perspective can we properly give it to others.
con·text [kon-tekst] (noun)
- the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: “You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.”
- the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
When you are reading your Bible, be sure to gain the proper context of what you’re reading. Some practical ways of doing this are:
- Read what takes place before and after the specific passage(s) you are reading. Sometimes you’ll only need to read a paragraph or two; other times you may have to read a chapter or two to really know what’s going on.
- Find a credible commentary by trusted Bible scholars. You can use sites like MyStudyBible.com, or read blogs like theResurgence.com.
- Take some Bible classes. One great resource is Mark Moore’s website. He is a professor at Osark Christian College in Missouri and he offers his lectures online for free here!
- Ask lots of questions! (Obviously you’ll want to ask credible people who know what they’re talking about.)
If you take the time to understand the context of what you’re reading, you will reap the benefits!
Have you ever seen the consequences of taking things out of context? You can leave a comment by clicking here.