Mark wrote his Gospel in 60AD. His Gospel records events that occurred within 20-30AD. What effect do those two facts have on how I read it?
Herod wasn’t a nice guy when it came to Jesus’ time. Rome was chaotic in 60AD. Why do I care about that?
Honestly, I struggle to care about the historical context of… anything. If you can’t tell from my other posts, emotions are the driving force within me. I love thinking about big ideas. I can talk about the trinity and I can talk about free will versus real will, and never really be conclusive in the conversation because they’re confusing topics. But man, it feels good! Historical context is a matter of clear, concise fact. Not much room for thinking, unless you lean towards new perspective when it comes to Paul’s letters and then you see plenty of creativity. I’m not good with cold, hard facts.
They bore me.
But they do matter, and not just because I’ll fail an assessment if I don’t decide that they matter enough to look into. If I tell you a story about my life, it has a lot more meaning if you understand the stuff that is happening around it. The historical context of the Gospels help us understand that when Mark wrote the first sentence that we often skim over, he was saying something really controversial and political. When we understand the context, we see the bigger picture and are less likely to fall into the trap of subjecting our own cultural rules onto a completely different time and area.
So while it isn’t as interesting to me and it doesn’t keep me talking for hours about how epic it is… Historical context matters.