When studying the Gospels, it is essential to examine the other parallel passages and accounts. This is a wonderful way to determine if the readings are describing the same event. However, be sure to take a little extra time to look at the context that precedes and follows the verses you are studying, looking for relevant background information. Let me give an example of why this is so important.
Are you familiar with the “Parable of the Lost Sheep”? This story is mentioned twice, once in Matthew 18:12-14 and once in Luke 15:4–7. But if we look more closely at the context and the audience, Matthew’s account reveals the sheep are believers, whereas, in Luke’s account, the sheep are unbelievers. Thus, these are not the same events, but two different occasions, with two different audiences, each with a different interpretation.
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