Quick Thought: The Power of Context

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 06/04/2015

Several years ago I went to a state prison because the chaplain wanted me to equip the Christians prisoners to witness to the Muslim prisoners.

At the end of my teaching, a Muslim said, “Did you know that Jesus in the Bible prophesies the coming of Mohammad? In John 14:16 Jesus says, ‘I will send another helper who will guide you in all truth.’” The Muslim said this: “The Greek word for helper is parakletos. In the Qur’an, Muhammad is referred to as a paraklitos. Perhaps the Bible just got some of the text wrong in the Greek. Perhaps what Bible meant to say ‘he will send another helper (paraklitos).’ Jesus is predicting the coming of Mohammad.”

I was standing in front of a huge audience, and I didn’t know Greek. I opened up my Bible to the passage and quickly scanned the context. In verse 14:26, Jesus identifies the helper, comforter, and advocate.

It says, “I will send a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will guide you in all truth.” By identifying who this helper is, Jesus rules out the possibility of Mohammad. Simply looking at the context, I was able to respond to this Muslim (who conceded that my argument made sense). This was just one example of how context can be so powerful in helping you address common challenges.

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