The Problem of Bible Proof-texting

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It is said that you can make the Bible say almost anything you want it to say. That’s why paying attention to context is so important—it helps safeguard against proof-texting, which is the practice of bringing your ideas to the biblical text and forcing the text to prove your own presuppositions. In this series of Seven Minute Seminary videos, Dr. Craig Keener walks us through a number of biblical passages that are often ripped out of context and forced to say something the Bible never intended to say.

Part 1: Psalm 50:10; Psalm 118:24; Song of Solomon 2:1; Joel 2:9; Joel 3:10

Part 2: John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10; Philippians 4:13; Matthew 3:11

Part 3: Romans 10:9-10; Romans 10:17; Matthew 18:18-20

Part 4: Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 11:1

Get The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig Keener

Get The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament by John Walton

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Craig Keener is Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has authored over 17 books, four of which have won book awards in Christianity Today. His IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament has sold more than half a million copies. He and his wife, Dr. Medine Keener, reside in Wilmore, KY.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for the excellent studies! I think some believe that to look deeply into the Word is to be a killjoy. “Give us something we can take home!” The truth is that to go deep into context is to find wellsprings of joy. It is a joy to know that Jesus was lifted up on the cross, that God will judge the nations, that the powerful coming of Messiah burned up the chaff and immersed the repentant in the Holy Spirit, that our calling is to endure to the end in faith. We tend to pooh-pooh “little” mistakes of exegesis (by going off on the word “now”), but the sad truth is that such teaching creates fragile faith that can become shipwreck. Blessings in your work.

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