How to determine the Primary context

Last week we considered the Primary Context. This dealt with the area of a single paragraph and understanding how words were used within that context. This week we will learn about the Expanded Context.


The Expanded Context can be larger than a paragraph. In Matthew 24-25, Jesus is preaching a single sermon (the Olivet Discourse), these chapters should be read together. Sometimes reading an entire work, the book of Mark for example will lend to better comprehension of the scriptures. There are several rules to help the reader better understand the Expanded Context.

  1. Find the flow of thought. Ask question of the text such as: Who, How, Where, When, Why, What
  2. Look for key terms. Ever wonder what the book of 1 Peter has to say about suffering? Reading the book specifically for keywords can make all the difference. Mark words that occur repeatedly and then reread the book to notice the emphasis.
  3. Look for the speaker and audience. One mistake we make is failing to see who is speaking and who is being spoken to. Is Jesus speaking? If so, who is he speaking to? Is Satan speaking? If so who is he speaking to?


These are but a few rules to consider when looking at the Expanded Context. Each will help the Bible student to better understand the context as a whole and thereby make application of the text.