Destructive Snippets: The Pitfalls of Contextual Ignorance
by Josiah David
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)
When the prosperity preacher quotes the scripture, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in Glory” (Philippians 4:19), the true context is most often left out. This statement was made by the apostle Paul, one who would have been very unlikely to paint God as the personal money tree that so many do today. In order to get what is being said here we must take look at the life and full message of Paul, an apostle fully devoted to the message of Jesus.
The burden which weighed most heavily on the heart of Paul was the need for the true gospel to find its way to the hearts of the lost rather than temporary riches to the pockets of the saved. Not once did he endorse the latter. Rather he spoke of contentment in every situation, never attempting to lure his audience with cheap satisfaction found and lost in perishable things. Paul never painted the devoted Christian walk as a lavish and comfortable experience. He was not in the business of creating entitled sheep.
Take time to read the whole of Philippians chapter 4 to better understand the heart and life of this humble and diligent apostle. Truly it was worldly riches that were knowingly and willingly left behind in order to pursue what Paul understood to be the greatest treasure of all (see Philippians 3). Yet so many still manage to get this powerful truth twisted, and in its twisted form it becomes destructive rather than fruitful. Believers become self-seeking misers rather than Christ-like servants and willing givers. We must be careful to avoid such pitfalls. Whether through careless interpretation or intentional manipulation, certain bites of scripture wreak much havoc on worldviews within Christian circles. Of course our worldview is what shapes and drives us, and our perception of God lies at the very center. We must always be vigilant to dig deeper if we truly know what is at stake here…
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