Sunday, April 20, 2008


Take a look at these two images. They are of the same type of flowers, perhaps even on the same tree. They were taken the same day, in the same light, by the same photographer (me) using the same camera. What is the difference between them?

It is the background. The out of focus, unimportant background makes all of the difference in the two images. In one, the white flowers and the light sky behind the "focus" of the image has no contrast with the white flowers. In the second one, the pink flowers behind the white ones, even out of focus, make the the subject of the image just POP. We can see the white flowers -- their outlines, edges, shapes, etc, because of the pink ones.

In photography and in Bible study, context matters. It occurred to me, as I looked through these images, once again how true that fact is.

In Bible study, the context of the verse -- it's surrounding information, the person who wrote the passage, the audience to whom it was written, the needs of the people hearing the message, the culture of the time -- all of those facts, even though out of focus, and not the subject of the study, are important. Without them, we will miss what is right in front of our eyes. We will not see that upon which we are focused because the background is important.

Images: Both were taken in our park yesterday.

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