A point that seems to come up continuously regarding biblical interpretation is that of context. The practice of wresting Scripture from its natural setting and interpreting and applying it in a user-friendly manner is nothing new.
The Puritans were as insistent as good scholars today that a given passage in the Bible must be interpreted in its context. One of them wrote, “It is the best rule to come to the understanding of the phrases of Scripture, to consider in what sense they were taken in that country, and among the people, where they were written.” William Bridge added, “If you would understand the true sense . . . of a controverted Scripture, then look well into the coherence, the scope of and context thereof.” William Perkins’s stock questions for a passage were: “Who? to whom? upon what occasion? at what time? in what place? for what end? what goeth before? what followeth?”
—Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Academie Books, 1986), 147.