Below are a few examples of how scripture has oftentimes, been taken out of context.
It’s important to see the entire content when reading The Bible. We are all guilty of pulling certain sections out and then elevating them without seeing how they fit in from the reading within the chapter.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.
This verse is often used as a personal rallying cry to win a game or get through a tough test, achieve our goals, or a number of things to get through something tough.
But when Paul wrote this verse that’s not what he had in mind. In fact, it’s not even close.
However, what the apostle was actually referring to was being able to be content whether one was hungry or full, having plenty or little, in prison, or free.
He is saying that God will get us through those seasons in our lives that are quite difficult, but not that we can accomplish whatever we want to.
“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.
This verse is often quoted during a difficult season in life as a promise that God has a specific plan and will bring us through it.
Many read this verse and think that if we trust God, then not only will we be brought through it, but we will prosper.
In other words, we read it kind of like the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ for ourselves. If we follow God, then we will have a good life, the money we want, a nice house, and plenty of vacations.
The verse was actually a specific promise to the people of Israel, for the promise was for their deliverance in the ending of the Babylonian captivity.
At this time there were very few true prophets and many of the false ones were claiming that God was to deliver His People soon.
In reading the surrounding verses you will see that God told His People that they would have to endure 70 more years before this was to happen.
The verse is meant as a form of encouragement and that no matter when things were not going their way that God was still in control.
This is the essence of Faith, in that we must look beyond our circumstances to see the promises of God.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” Matthew 18:20.
If I had a dollar for every worship pastor that has misquoted this verse….
This verse is used many times to declare that when there are two or more people in the room that God is there.
Certainly He is there in our midst, but the interpretation isn’t anywhere close to what is actually being said in its context.
When one reads the verses surrounding this in Matthew 18, the message becomes clearer. When reading these surrounding verses, Jesus is actually giving instructions about what to do when having a conflict with a person.
So when having a disagreement with someone, it’s important to go with other people, and this isn’t a blanket statement about God’s presence.
“But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Matthew 6:33.
Matthew 5 and 6 — Many want the second half of 33 by “getting all these things” rather than first seeking His Kingdom and Righteousness first.
To know more fully what it means to “seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness”, we must look at the long sermon outlined in detail in chapters 5 and 6.
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” Mark 16:17-18.
The overall point is that it’s not a command to pick up snakes or drink poison, but to preach the gospel, regardless of what happens.
Paul had one occasion when he was bitten by a poisonous snake but didn’t die (Acts 28:3). We must be very careful to read scripture in its context to know the overall meaning of it, particularly when all of us have a tendency to pull certain popular verses and elevated them over others.
“Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good,” Jeremiah 10:1-5.
A man plants a tree (his own labor), and cuts it down (his own labor). Half of the tree he burns in the fire (it certainly does him no good, other than to warm him and cook his food).
The other half the man fashions into some “god,” the product of his own hands. He created this “god,” and he must carry it around.
We worship the God who created us, and carries us. How foolish to worship something made of wood, rather than the One True God.
If people were praying to their Christmas trees or worshiping them as deities, these passages would certainly apply.
However, I don’t believe that Christmas trees have ever been used as an act of worship. Christmas trees were never appealed to for blessings nor incorporated into religious rituals or acts of worship.
While the exact origin of Christmas trees is unknown and highly disputed, the tradition seems to have come into existence as late as the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
There is no evidence that Christians ever used them as anything other than home decorations for the holidays.
There is nothing in this tradition that is innately idolatrous or in any way contrary to the biblical prohibitions against carving trees into false gods.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?