Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Ever catch the tail end of a story and not quite understand what was going on? Or maybe you walk into a room where everyone stops laughing, and you just assume they were talking about you, because that's the easiest assumption to make?
When we take passages out of the Bible and read them without context, it can be dangerous, because you can twist things to make it sound like they mean things they really don't intend to mean. For instance, some early Christians were persecuted because people thought they were cannibals, and if you take passages like this one out of context, it's easy to see why they might have thought that.
But Jesus is always shifting our vision to the whole story. We aren't meant to simply read bits and piece, to isolate any one part of the Biblical story. No, we're meant to read it all, to understand that the entire witness of Scripture is pointing us to a God who is always reaching out, to a God who runs to our mess, rather than away from it, to a God who loves and is radically inclusive. All of Scripture sings the song of this God, and we are wise to read it all, rather than just bits and pieces, because in only reading part, we miss the bigger picture.