I love spending time in God’s word. He shows me and teaches me things when I spend time with Him. Sometimes they are things I have been looking for. Sometimes they are things I didn’t know I needed to hear.
All 66 books of the Bible were inspired and authored by the God. The Bible is not a collection of quotes or one-liners, it is literally God speaking. That is why we need to approach it with respect. That is not how I have seen God’s word being used in recent years. I see lots of people using specific Bible verses as quotes for social media captions, tattoos, and other mainstream purposes. That is all well and good as long as you are using the verse in the right context. Except, most times, they are misused, misquoted, or misunderstood. We may turn to a specific verse to quote in certain life situations to justify an event or action. Or, we may hear others misquoting verses. They sound right in the moment, but the whole meaning of the verse is out of context. Here are the 4 most abused and misused verses in the Bible.
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. This verse has nothing to do with scoring well in a sporting event, doing well on a test, or landing your dream job. This verse was written when the Apostle Paul was under house arrest awaiting trial. This trial could condemn him to death for preaching about Jesus’ resurrection. Instead of being distraught and dismayed by his situation, Paul uses this opportunity to teach others that he can endure any and everything this life throws at him because he has a strength that can only be found in Christ through the Holy Spirit, even in prison.
- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. This verse is usually given to people who are having a tough time, on a graduation card, or after reaching a big milestone. Taken out of context, this verse looks to be promising a life of popularity, riches, health, and the American Dream! In reality, this promise was given to a group of people, not just one individual. God promised the Hebrews exiled in Babylon that He had not given up on them and that even though times were tough, they still had a future and a hope. The promise is that He will see His plan through, and you as His child will get to be part of that plan.
- “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Matthew 7:1. I can remember in high school that a big bad word was “judging.” “She’s judging me!” “She has no right to judge me.” Those are phrases I heard often and they made this verse a popular one. Don’t judge me or you will be judged! Of course, that is not what this verse actually means. It means that we are living in a culture of tolerance. If you disagree with someone about their beliefs, lifestyle or opinions, we are labeled as intolerant. We may even quote Tupac and say “Only God can judge me!” No. This verse is to tell you that it is okay to tell our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when we see them falling into traps and doing things they know better than to do. The Bible calls us to help others wage the war against sin. If we are going to correct someone, then we must be held to the same standard. If we judge rudely, then we will be judged the same. This verse is a warning against self-righteousness.
- “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Let’s face it, we have all seen this verse on bedroom walls, coffee mugs, notebook covers, phone cases, you name it. This is only part of the verse, though. The whole verse says “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” You really have to do the verse justice by quoting the whole thing. What an awesome comfort and reminder to know that we can be still and know that God is in control. As His people, we can know the truth that He will be exalted in the nations across the earth. There is nothing that can stop God from accomplishing His will.
Knowing a verse in it’s intended context helps it mean so much more.