Read in context. The immediate context refers to the sections directly before and after a passage. The best way to grasp the literary context of a passage is to read it yourself. Misunderstanding a portion of the Bible can lead to misapplying it in our lives as well as teaching something wrong to others. Obviously, in both the immediate context of I John 4 and when contrasted with other passages, the reference is to human "spirits" or intellects, not Satan or demons. 2. One of the great values of a book overview is getting an outline of the author’s flow of thought and purpose in writing. The main reason it is important to study the Bible in context is in order to obtain a correct understanding of the passage. After seeing the structure, consider the narrow and broader literary context. Another example of a verse clarified by the immediate context is Mat 3:11 . Every passage is situated within the immediate context of its book, and also the broader context of the whole Bible. Ask, How do the immediate and whole-Bible contexts inform the meaning of this text? But the broader literary context matters too.