Commonly Misused Scriptures

24 11 2011

There are many Scriptures that are commonly used out of context in our day of topical preaching. I’m not entirely against using verses out of context to make another point as long as the preacher says what he is doing and the point he is making is Biblical. The problem is that we have heard these verses misused so much that most people don’t know what the verse really means. This is not an exhaustive list but a few of my favorites.

1: Galatians 6:7: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

This verse is a common one one given to youth groups and is used to say that how you live your life will determine what your life reaps in the fututre. This is not a bad point and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be used to teach people that the way we live matters. Let’s see what the verse is actually saying by including more of the text around it. “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Vs. 6-10)

Verse 6 is telling us to give to those who teach the Word of God. In the early church their were travelling ministers kind of like the old circuit riding preachers or even modern day evangelists who travel and minister to others. He is telling them to give to those people and to share with them since they are going around ministering as servants of Christ. Verse 7 then says that God is not mocked we reap what we sow. The next verse tells us that if we sow to our flesh that is on things that matter only in this world then we are wrong but if we sow to the Spirit, that is give to those who teach then we are storing up eternal treasure. The next verse gives us encouragement that we will reap a reward if we don’t cease doing good and the next verse tells us that if we have opportunity we should do good to everyone but especially those who are believers and in need. The overall context of that verse is giving not living.

2: Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

The most common way this verse is applied in churches today is regarding salvation. We stress that Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart and if you will open the door He will come in and dwell with you. All those statements are true however, that is not the context of the verse. This verse is speaking to the lukewarm Laodicean church and Jesus is on the outside of the church not included in it’s activities, and for those who open the door those people make up the true church where Christ dwells among His people. I am not entirely aginst using this verse for salvation appeals but the problem is that most christians don’t know or understand the true context of it and if preached in it’s proper context then it has the potential to change the church completely.

3: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I have not been to a Christian’s funeral but that this verse is quoted at least twice. In fact I grew up thinking this verse was talking about Heaven until I began to actually read the verse. Now let me just say it’s not improper to use this verse in that context but at least teach it in it’s actual context so people understand. Anyway, to see the context let’s look at a little more of that chapter. “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (Vs. 4-10)

It’s comparing the wisdom of the world to the wisdom of God in verses 4-7. In verse 8 it tells us that the princes of this world could not understand God’s wisdom or else they would not have crucified the Lord. So it was the fact that they did not understand God’s plan that explains their actions. It goes on in the next verse to say eye has not seen, and ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those that love Him but He has revealed them unto us. It’s talking about the cross and God’s redemptive plan not Heaven.

4: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 4:19

This is a common verse used by prosperity preachers, but it’s also used by preachers of all denominations. To use this to encourage somone that God will meet their needs is not a bad thing but in it’s proper context it has a much narrower meaning. Let’s look at more of the text. “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Vs. 14-19)

Paul is speaking of how they have provided for him personally and his ministry work. He reminds them that God will provide their needs since they have supported his needs. This goes along with the context in Galatians 6. The context of this verse is missions giving. When you give of your money to provide for those taking the Gospel to other places then God will supply your need and you’ll not lack because of your giving. That verse is inseperable from the context in which we find it.

These are just a few of the most commonly misquoted, misused, and abused verses of the Bible. Remember don’t interpret Scripture in the light of how you have been taught but in it’s actual context.

Written By. Rick Garland

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