Whether it be for the understanding of prophecy or a general passage of Scripture, it could be so easy to ignore the actual details of the passage. If this is done, the reader would not grasp what God is trying to say in the Bible. It is vital to keep in mind the situation when reading the Word.
Observe the person that is talking. Unless this is done a doctrine could be developed and lead to poor theology. For instance, John 9:31 can be misconstrued as fact. However, this was a statement made by a man just healed by Jesus in which he says God is not hear sinners. We know this is not true because all of us are sinners and when we asked for God’s forgiveness he will come into our hearts.
Observe the circumstances during which a Scripture is cited. In John 11:37 the power of Jesus is questioned by some people. To follow this through and its implication it would seem that Jesus has limited authority to heal. However, the circumstances are such that Jesus intentionally waited to come to Lazarus for a divine ultimate purpose.
Observe the person or persons that is to hear a biblical statement. Matthew 24:3 is an important Scripture to notice that Jewish disciples were asking three questions of a Jewish Messiah. This chapter is highly important for prophetic sake and must be taken into consideration for that much of what is said about the Jewish future.
Observe the culture of the day to better understand the Bible passage. 1 Corinthians 14:34 shares that a woman should not speak in church. In those days men and women sat separately and if a woman had a question about a sermon, she would call out across the room to her husband and be disturbing to the whole group.
Observe the custom of a local group mentioned in Scripture.1 Corinthians 15:29 is a prime example for the misuse of Scripture. Entire denominations have developed the practice mentioned of baptizing for the dead. Notice the difference between an observation of a custom and a directive that is intended for everyone. Paul does not say that everyone should do this. Instead, he is using the custom of the Corinthians as an example to prove his point.
These are just some examples to encourage us as we study the Bible. Do not force anything into a verse nor draw something out of a verse that was not intended. Avoid using a verse to prove a point. We must approach the Scripture with humility and with an open heart and an open mind.