Surrounding Context

“And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.'” Matthew 4:9 ESV

The above passage sounds great until you realize the person speaking is Satan, and he is tempting Jesus. Without the verses before and after this passage, you might want to put it as your inspirational verse. Yet, the surrounding passage gives you the information you need to know this is not a promise about your welfare. It is a temptation for Jesus to sin. Thank God that Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”(Matthew 4:10, ESV)

When you read only one Bible verse, you run the risk of misinterpreting the passage. The previous verses might contradict the verse you are reading. Like the passage above, one verse can completely change the meaning.

The phrase “let’s rob a bank” can be completely taken in a different direction if the previous phrase is, “Bob the bank robber said, ‘let’s Rob a bank’, and I turned him into the police.” The previous phrase goes from a call to rob a bank to story of turning someone in for planning it.

Key point when reading the Bible you need to find the complete thought before you make principles and applications to a passage. The Bible doesn’t promise us that if we worship God He will give us everything we want. In fact, if we do the right thing and worship God, repent from our sin and trust in Jesus, God promised we will face suffering (Matthew 5:10-12). Yet, in the end when Christ returns, we are promised we will receive eternal life and inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 510-12). If one worshipped Satan, he or she might receive temporary pleasures but they will have eternity in Hell to pay (Matthew 5:27-30).

I hope this post has blessed you. Read God’s Word to know and love Jesus more. Check out the resources section. These materials will greatly enrich your study in God’s Word. Lord bless you.

Where Jesus was tempted.

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