I have been thinking about my theological journey. The main influence in my life as I grew up was fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Fundamentalism did give me a strong love for God's Word and desire to hold the Word in highest respect.
Yet as I have studied the Bible I have found context is important. As Dr. Witherington states, "a text without a context is a pretext." The problem is my fundamentalist friends have often slam the door on context discussion as adding things to the text. I remember my English classes through high school. As we read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, we encountered the "n" word. This lead us into the discussion over the culture these books were written in--their context. In doing so, we were able to analyze how Mark Twain uses the terms of the day but tells a story of a moral and good person who was called such a derogatory name. This analysis and the deeper meaning of these books came through understanding the culture Twain lived in and wrote in. Disregarding the context is to disregard the People of God, their Culture and God's activity in real space and time. God spoke to people in a real time and a real place. God stepped into our world in a specific culture. To discover as much as we can about the context of Scripture can only enrich our experience of God and the Word. It can only help us truly treat the Bible with the utmost respect.