On Hunting and Hermeneutics

iStock_000002760597XSmallYesterday, while paying for gas I saw a donation bin on the counter for a Christian ministry to outdoorsmen. Printed on the side was a Bible verse: “He was a mighty hunter before the Lord” (Genesis 10:9). Of course, this suggested that hunters might find some level of affirmation for their sport from that verse.

However, there is strong reason to believe that Nimrod, the subject of the verse and the founder of the first world empire that included the construction of the Tower of Babel, was probably not a good guy, but a bad guy. “Before the Lord” can simply mean that God was aware of his activities… but “awareness” falls short of “approval.”

Do you want to use a verse describing a man who was offensive to God and apply it to your hunting ministry?

If you really want to understand a Bible verse, it’s always important to understand the “context” of the verse… you need to ask: what is the overall message and background of the passage and book that it comes from? Otherwise, you may reach a misleading conclusion regarding the verse’s meaning. A scholar explains why…

“A text without a context is just a pretext for whatever you want it to mean.” – Ben Witherington, during New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Feb. 15, 2013 Greer-Heard Forum

Do you want to know God? He has revealed everything you need to know about Him on this side of heaven through the Bible, not in the form of systematic lists of dogma, but as truth-filled encounters between God and ordinary individuals just like you. Much of the Bible contains stories of God revealing Himself and His activity in the world… and He has not changed… but be sure to read more than a sentence or two!

Especially if you like to hunt.

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