6 Commonly Misused Verses In Scripture
The mishandling of scripture results from a myriad of selfish ambitions: to build our self-esteem, to cater to our feelings, to validate our personal opinions, or out of ignorance of the scriptural context (a lazy attitude toward studying scripture). We can avoid this by remembering that the bible is not about us, but FOR us! Anytime the focus becomes man centered rather than God centered, you can be sure misunderstanding is afoot.
Scripture is about God and should increase our total dependence on Him for everything! When interpreting scripture, context is key: who is it written to? what is it talking about? what is the cultural context? when did this occur? why is this being said? What is the genre of language? How much effort are you willing to put into knowing God? He tells us to seek Him diligently with all our hearts! (JER29:13, DEUT4:29, PROV8:17)
6 COMMONLY MISUSED VERSES IN SCRIPTURE
JER29:11 “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” In this verse, God is speaking to the Israelites. They disobeyed God’s commands which resulted in exile to Babylon! This verse is not about us, but for us! A reminder of how God will not forget us! And like them, we are spiritual Israel and thus also are promised a future and hope: eternal salvation and peace with God. Suffering WILL come upon us and we should expect it. Therefore we are not promised physical prosperity in this life, but in the next. As 1PET4:12 s
ays, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
PS46:5 “She shall not be moved” Women often use this as a self-help verse, changing the focus from God to us. But this verse is not about a woman, “she” is the City of God. And this passage is about God being a refuge and strength in times of trouble. God is in the midst of the city even though calamity is all around them. Consider in JONAH1-3 where God hurls a storm at Jonah and then he was physically cast into the sea. Then he was moved into the belly of a great fish, where he was moved to repentance! We are not to rely on our own power and ability, but on God’s!
MATT7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged” A lot of people use this to say that we should not judge others adding that “Only God can judge me!” in order to justify our wrong behavior or minimize our sin. However, this same verse goes on to clarify in verse 5 that we ARE to judge, after first examining our own sin! Futhermore
scripture teaches that we are commanded to judge other Christians (not the world) (1COR5:12), that we can tell if one is a Christian by judging their fruit (MATT7:16), it tells us how to deal with these judgements (MATT18:15-17), it tells us HOW to judge based on the heart and not external appearances (JOHN7:24) and not to show favoritism in our judgments (LEV19:15). We are never told to condemn others, but we are commanded to observe, confront, and judge their sin and their fruit: in the hopes of steering them towards Christ.
ROM8:28 “All things work together for good” This partial misquote is used to suggest that if we love God we will receive wealth, health, and prosperity. But the full verse entails a qualifier, for “those who are called according to His purpose”. The following verses 29-30 go on to clarify that the ‘ones who are c
alled are also predestined’ and they were ‘predestined to be conformed to the image of His son’. The ‘good’ and the ‘purpose’ in this verse is God’s good purpose of conforming us into the image of Christ. Not everything will work out according to your ideas, plans, and wants. God’s plans trump ours everytime (PROV19:21), we are going to suffer and should continue to do good even in the hardship (1PET4:13,19)
MATT18:20 “where two or three are gathered, there I am with you” Many churches pull this verse out of context to call for prayer circles, thinking that God’s power is more manifest in groups.But this passage has nothing to do with how we are to pray, it is about church discipline. Jesus is promising that if we follow these steps when dealing with sin in the church, He will be with us in our final decision (MATT18:15-20). This is a promise of His sanction of their decision, not His presence in prayer. God is everywhere, so He is already there with the believer when he is praying in secret or with others (ISA41:10). And there is nowhere we can go to escape His presence (Ps139:7-
PHIL 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” This verse is misused to tell us that we can do whatever we set our minds to! The reality is that we cannot and should not accomplish all of our human desires, nor is that what this passage is about! This verse is about contentment in any situation, it could read “I can ENDURE all things” as Paul states in the previous verses, “not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever sintuation I am to be content”…”I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do (ENDURE) all things (PLENTY AND HUNGER) through Christ who strengthens me”.
There are many more misused and misquoted verses in scripture that most everyone has been guilty of using. So we at Stonewater just encourage you to take the time to be thorough and sincere in your study of God's word. You don't have to wait for others to tell you about God, you can know yourself through reading the bible! And what you find will be beautiful, sufficient for all of your needs, and more than enough.