Ignoring the Context
Hernando Cortez returned from his exploration of the New World with the recommendation to King Charles I of Spain that a passage to India be effected by digging a canal across the Istmus of Panama. King Charles is said to have consulted his advisers and then rejected the plan. His reason? It was felt that to do so would be to violate the Bible’s injunction: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” !
Of course this statement of Jesus, found in Matthew 19:6, has absolutely nothing to do with cutting a passageway across the Isthmus of Panama.
Those who made such a grossly erroneous application of these words were guilty of ignoring the context in which they were spoken. But then, this is no more absurd than the ideas many glean today from the Bible by failing to pay attention to the setting, or context, in which a particular statement is found.
We need to carefully heed the admonition of Paul, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” (2Tim 2:15)