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Read the Bible for Yourself

The title says it all.


You might be surprised to know that half of the "God says/does..." posts that are circulated on social media aren't actually in the Bible. Here are some common quotes that many present as Bible verses even though they are not:


"God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers."

"God helps those who help themselves."

"God will never give you more than you can handle."

"Money is the root of all evil" (It's the love of money--1 Tim. 6:10).


In addition to these common errors, verses are often used out of context. This is easy for anyone to do, self-included, especially since there is a cultural context that many believers are unaware of as well. No one has a perfect understanding or interpretation of Scripture, but it's imperative that we study God's Word for ourselves and seek to know Him through it. Reading the Bible not only helps us discern between Truth/lies and live in God-honoring, healthy ways, but it also teaches us about who God is and who we are. When we adopt these faulty interpretations of Scripture (or lack thereof), we base our lives around falsehood. While, again, no one's interpretation is perfectly accurate, you can have a much clearer and more accurate understanding of God's Word if you read it for yourself.


Below are some Scriptures often used out of context:


1. "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."--Psalm 46:5


Many share this Scripture as an encouragement for women. However, the "her" is actually personification of the city of God--Jerusalem.


"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells (v. 4)... Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts" (v. 6).


The verses above provide the surrounding context for verse 5, which helps us identify the "her" as personification of the city.


2. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." --Phil. 4:13


You've likely seen this verse plastered over the walls of every Christian school's gymnasium. Athletes often cling to this verse as fuel for their performance. While that's not necessarily wrong, Paul wasn't stating that believers could do whatever they want. This verse isn't a promise of performance between competitors. In the context of this passage, Paul is detailing his experiences (while in prison, mind you) of having nothing and having plenty but being content regardless. This verse is not a physical promise; it's about endurance in Christ regardless of your circumstances.


3. "There is no God." --Psalm 14:1


Some unbelievers try to use this verse to cause believers to stumble in their faith. I had someone tell me once, "The Bible even says there isn't a God." When I looked into it after our conversation, he was correct that those words are in the Bible, but he missed the entire meaning of the verse by omitting the context. Here is the entirety of Psalm 14:1:


"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'

They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;

there is none who does good."


With the context, we can understand the passage is referencing unbelievers, not making an absolute statement about God's existence.


While these are only a couple of examples, there are several that we innocently, yet inaccurately, share among each other. When we omit the context or accept man's quotes as Scripture, we lose the real meaning of the passage and/or develop incorrect views of God and His Word.


This is why we must study the Bible for ourselves to not only identify and discern these misconceptions but also to grow in our faith!


~Ally B.


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