Context is Key

Let me give a simple demonstration of the importance of knowing the context of the verses in Scripture for understanding their true meaning.  Take these two verses

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
(Isaiah 40:28)

Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
(Isaiah 1:14)

One says God does not get weary, the other does.  It looks like a contradiction, but when you pay attention to what each verse is saying, it’s obvious that it isn’t.  Isaiah is talking about physical weariness, which God does not experience since He isn’t physical.  You can tell because of verses 29-31 afterwards

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

The second verse is similar to how we say we’re “sick and tired of” something.  We aren’t literally “sick” or “tired” in a physical sense.  I think it’s clear the passage means this when you look at verses 11-13 before it

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

The chapter/verse distinctions in the Bible are useful for finding the passages we’re looking for easily, but people can tend to separate each verse and divorce them from their context, which can lead to erroneous interpretations of the verses.  Avoid doing this.  For more on this, I highly recommend Never Read a Bible Verse by Greg Koukl.

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