Who are the Samaritans?
Recently I saw the importance of context again when I was doing some Bible study. I wanted to get a good understanding of the changes that had happened in the world between the books of Malachi and Matthew. The purpose of this study was not to be a history lesson, but purely to understand how the people of Jerusalem went from a small group of people led by a High-Priest and Governor, serving under the Persians, to a mighty nation lead by the High-Priest, Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes under Roman rule. While studying the Persian period after Nehemiah and Ezra, I stumbled across a part in the book of Josephus that described the building of the temple on Mount Gerizim. This small bit of information lead me to a more complete study on the Samaritans. This provided me with lot more insight into two incidents in the Apostolic Scriptures. I have decided to write up this study as an example of how the context could lead us to a more complete understanding of the text.