What are your favorite Scripture verses? Do they mean what you think they mean? A significant part of my ministry has been to help in two areas regarding Scripture:
Seeing what the Bible actually says
Learning from what the Bible does not say
Those two skills are very valuable and informative. So let me share some thoughts that may help.
Favorite Scripture Verses: Does The Bible Say…
I still run into this misconception: God helps those that help themselves. Some people really do believe that’s a verse of Scripture.
And what about the Book of Hezekiah? That’s usually just done for laughs. Anytime some pastor or teacher asks the group at hand to turn to Hezekiah you will hear pages turning as people look for this imaginary book.
These are lighthearted examples of a serious subject. So it should not surprise you that an article on misused and abused Bible verses caught my eye. I found it in Relevant Magazine. The author only cites 5 misunderstood verses. And I imagine that most of these are on your favorite Scripture verses list! I know I have had discussions with people about each of them!
Part of the Relevant post is below. There is a link to the entire article if you want see it.
Soli Deo Gloria!
5 Most Misused and Abused Bible Verses – Shane Pruitt
1. “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” – PHILIPPIANS 4:13
Out of Context: This verse has nothing to do with dunking a basketball, hitting a game-winning homerun, bench-pressing a bus, winning the lottery or closing a business deal.
In Context: The Apostle Paul is under house arrest awaiting his trial, where he may possibly be put to death for preaching the resurrection of Jesus.
However, instead of being defeated by unfortunate circumstances, Paul is using this opportunity to teach the young church in Philippi that he can endure any and every circumstance—ups and downs, highs and lows—because he has a strength that only comes from Christ.
This supernatural strength to endure all seasons and situations is always with Paul because the Holy Spirit of Christ is always with him, even in prison.
2. “FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.” – MATTHEW 18:20
Out of Context: This verse is usually quoted as an encouragement to one another when there is low attendance for a worship service or given as a benediction during a prayer meeting.
In fact, if someone really wants to stretch this verse, they may use it as justification for skipping church to “worship” with their family at home, while the football game is playing in the background.
In Context: This verse falls specifically within the context of church discipline and dealing with wayward believers.
It is meant to be an encouragement to church leaders during tough times of loving confrontation to say that God would be present with the two to three witnesses as they are intentional in correcting and restoring a fallen brother or sister.
3. “FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, DECLARES THE LORD, PLANS FOR WELFARE AND NOT FOR EVIL, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.” – JEREMIAH 29:11
Out of Context: This verse is typically given to someone as a sentiment during a difficult time, or on a graduation card after crossing a stage receiving his or her diploma or degree.
As a stand-alone promise, it appears as though God exists to make us all popular, rich, healthy, and powerfully well known! God declares the American Dream over my life!
In Context: This incredible promise is given not to an individual, but to a people group—Hebrews exiled in Babylon. God promised that He had not given up on His people and that even though things looked dire, they still had a future and a hope!
So, the word “prosper” doesn’t refer to money or material blessings; it refers to physical and spiritual salvation. It’s a beautiful promise that God is not done with His people and that their future and hope were only found in Him.
The promise is that He will see His plans through, and His people get to be a part of them.
4. “JUDGE NOT, THAT YOU BE NOT JUDGED.” – MATTHEW 7:1
Out of Context: We’re living in a day that values tolerance above all, unless, of course, someone disagrees with our beliefs, lifestyles, or opinions; then, we’re extremely intolerant. We may even boldly shout, “Only God can judge me!” However, this is Tupac theology, not Biblical theology.
In Context: This verse is not a warning against speaking out against certain actions or behaviors. In fact, in other places of Scripture, we’re told “we’ll know them by their fruit.”
We’re also commanded in the Great Commission to “make disciples,” which includes helping others wage war against sin. However, Matthew 7 is a warning against self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
If we’re going to correct someone, then we must expect to be held to the same standard. If we judge with aggression, then we can expect to be judged with aggression.
Even though we remove the plank in our eye, Jesus still says we must remove the speck in our brother’s.
5. “BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH!” – PSALM 46:10
Out of Context: Honestly, the most common travesty committed toward this verse is that only a piece of this verse is quoted.
On coffee-mugs, desktop screensavers with roses in the background, and paintings with a mountain, you’ll see a section of this verse carved out from the whole thought: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
In Context: The greatest justice we can provide for this verse is to actually quote it in its entirety. What an incredible comfort and reminder to know that we can be still and know that God is in control.
As His people, we can rest in the truth that He will be exalted in the nations across the earth, and there is nothing that can stop God from accomplishing His will.
- KB: What other verses could have been addressed? Our favorite Scripture verses (and understanding!) are worth sharing. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. LINK