Being that you have seen the title, I’m sure that you are wondering, “What the heck could this guy be talking about?” Well I’m going to tell you. I’m talking about Contextual Covenant Understanding!

Without assessing the covenant and canon that a particular verse exists within, you can’t properly interpret it. This becomes especially dangerous when you attempt to apply laws to your life and others that were not written to you.

Following the institutionalization of the New Covenant, Paul can be seen in every book following bringing correction to those who were still dragging outdated laws into a New Covenant. When you gain understanding of the covenants, covenant types and canons (authoritative texts that surround the covenants containing their culture), it radically impacts the the true meaning versus what may appear as truth void of this understanding. 

The Bible shouldn’t be approached as one big letter that was written to you. Click To Tweet

The Bible was not written to you. This is something that must be grasped. The Bible is an exhaustive conversation between God and man in various covenants. To properly understand the Bible, it must be interpreted through the lens of the speaker and the audience who was receiving the message at that time.

Stepping into the shoes of the audience of that day enables you to extract what was truly being said.

What is a covenant?

In the years of old when two parties would make a covenant (agreement) there would be a written guide associated with the covenant which was signed (often in blood). This is what bound the parties to the agreement. 

Types of Covenants

  • Vassal Covenant – When a greater and lesser form a covenant based upon the greater’s ability to obliterate the lesser. In this covenant the greater presents options in the place of destruction such as collecting taxes, obtaining slaves and etc. The lesser has no power in this covenant. 
  • Kinship Covenant – This is common in the covenant that is established when people get married. In this covenant two equal parties are represented with a list of obligations. 
  • Royal Grant Covenant – This covenant involves a greater and a lesser. In this covenant the greater takes on all of the obligations and the lesser only has to receive from the greater (this is the covenant you are presently under in Christ.)

Five Covenants

  • Noahic Covenant (Royal Grant Covenant)
  • Abrahamic Covenant (Initially Vassal because the stipulation was that Abraham had to get up and follow God to the land that He would show Him (Gen 12:1), but following this point it becomes a Royal Grant Covenant because the blessing, presence and provision of God isn’t based upon Abraham’s works.)
  • Mosaic Covenant (Vassal Covenant)
  • Davidic Covenant (Royal Grant Covenant)
  • New Covenant (Royal Grant Covenant)

If you approach the New Covenant with an Old Covenant mindset you diminish the potential power that is accessible in Christ. Click To Tweet

Each covenant was “cut” between God and a man that represented a body of people. The Noahic through Davidic covenants were cut between the named men of those covenants.

In the New Covenant God did something He hadn’t previously done before. Instead of cutting covenant with a man, He cut it with Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Covenant sets the parameters of our relationship with God.

We have been invited into the same relationship that Jesus has with the Father. Click To Tweet

What to do when reading the Bible

  1. Determine the Covenant.
  2. What is happening within the canon of that covenant?
  3. Determine what was said meant to the author in that time.
  4. How would the audience interpret what the author is saying in relation to that time period?
  5. Smile as you have completed the steps to rightly dividing the word of God.

What’s Next?

  • Go review the covenants through the lens of their covenant type.
  • Take your favorite passage of scripture and see how this understanding impacts the interpretation.

Stay tuned for part two of this series. We are going to look at how context impacts some of the most popular scriptures.

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