It’s been claimed that many Christians regularly misuse the wildly popular Bible verse Philippians 4:13, but are there other tidbits of scripture that are similarly being touted in an improper context?
Thomas Turner, an author and program manager at the International Justice Mission, penned a recent blog post for Relevant Magazine in which he highlighted Philippians 4:13 along with four other verses that he said are “constantly used out of context.”
“When we open our Bibles, we read words that are thousands of years old with twenty-first century eyes. We read words literally written in stone tablets on tablets made of plastic and metal,” Turner wrote. “With such a gap in time comes a context problem. Basically, when we open our Bibles, we are faced with a problem: We don’t know what that culture and time in history was like, so we often take things the wrong way.”
He noted that this is a problem for popular uses of Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 5:18, Luke 6:20 and Philippians 4:13.
Turner argued that many people miss the communal aspect inherent in Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Rather than recognizing that this verse is about God speaking to the “whole people of God, Israel and the church,” Turner said that some Christians internalize it and assume that it’s God’s personal address to each and every individual.
“The context does not negate that fact that God wants us to put on the armor of God by living virtuous lives of spiritual discipline or that the God who made us has a plan for us,” he wrote. “What the context of passages like Jeremiah 29 or Ephesians 6 implore us to do, as the people of God, is to be in this together. For God works in this world primarily through the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ.”
And then there’s Luke 4:18-19, which reads, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.” Turner said that Christians tend to spiritualize captivity, taking for granted the fact that physical freedom doesn’t exist for all.
Jesus, he said, was speaking about both material and spiritual healing.
“These people lived in a country where the provincial ruler could order every baby boy under two years of age slaughtered and no one stopped it,” he explained of those living under Roman rule to whom Jesus was talking. “This is often missed on us who take for granted physical freedom.”
Turner continued, “[Jesus] saves us body and soul, not one or the other. He wants to save us from our physical captivity and our spiritual captivity. That’s why he healed people and he forgave their sins.”
….it is essential to look at the verse in context….
By Billy Hallowell – The Blaze –