This post was originally written in 2012. A few days ago something occurred that reminded me of it so I changed it up a bit and decided to post it out there. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, my best friend and I went for coffee. We sat outside on a curb and talked for hours about work, marriage and kids. Typical hot topics you could say. I was telling her about a heated conversation I had with someone not too long ago. In the midst of the conversation I was having with this person, the person starting quoting scripture. Then, I started quoting scripture. It didn’t take long before we were both arguing and using scripture to back up our arguments.
As I was explaining this to my friend, she quickly said, ‘you were shooting Bible bullets.’
Think about that.
I told her I was going to use that phrase again one day and today is the day. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people take scripture out of context and use it to back up an argument, make a point or to be honest, make an excuse for their own behavior.
We have all heard that at one time or another. I am not saying you cannot use scripture to make a point, but what I am saying is that you had best be using the right scripture or at least, be using it in the right way.
The person I was in deep discussion with was quoting scripture that only benefited himself taking it completely out of context.
How many times have you heard the scripture ‘resist the devil and he shall flee?’ (James 4:7) People quote that all the time when temptation comes their way. However, the most important part of that verse is the beginning, the part that is much less quoted which says, ‘Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he shall flee.’
That changes everything.
Here’s another example….get ready, this one is a hot topic for sure…
If you read through Ephesians 5, you’ll find the oh-so-popular scripture, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do unto the Lord…” (Eph 5:22). This is usually the point where the women stop reading. And all the ‘Are you kidding me?’ phrases start coming out.
However, if you keep reading you will find this…’Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph 5:25). There is no greater love than the love of Christ to us. No greater love. Imagine if your husband loved you with the love of Christ. That is, a love so deep and pure and full of respect and honor that he would be willing to lay his life down for you.
The beauty is in both parts of that scripture not one part over the other. Both the husband and wife operating in love and respect for one another-wouldn’t that be nice?
Living in the Bible belt is rough, I truly believe many people around here know enough scripture to be dangerous and that’s about it. Scripture being taken out of context is commonplace. Many times, it is done only for the purpose of making the person look or sound better than everyone else or to keep up the illusion they have created. It’s a shame, really.
Scripture was not meant to excuse wrong behavior nor was it meant to be used to win arguments. In fact, making excuses for our own behavior will only hurt us in the long run and using scripture incorrectly to defend ourselves could hurt our witness. Quote scripture and quote it often, just make sure to quote it correctly. Remember, the Word of God is a sword and it should be handled carefully. You wouldn’t just go throwing a sword around at people would you?
Live your life by the Word of the Lord and it will defend you when you need defending and protect you when you need protecting. You don’t have to twist it to make it work for you, the Word of God created the entire universe out of nothing, I’m pretty sure it is powerful enough on its own that it does not need our help.
All I am saying is that the next time we start quoting scripture to back up our arguments or behavior, we must take the time to read the entire scripture. If we start shooting Bible bullets, someone could get hurt.
Sarah Ann is an author, speaker and media personality committed to honesty, vulnerability and authenticity. She has a passion for empowering people who are willing to be honest and walk out life in Christ together. Sarah holds a Bachelors in Biblical Studies and a Masters in Theology and Apologetics, she also owns a clothing company, Ascent516.com and is the creator of SarahAnnSpeaks.com and the Sarah Ann Speaks Podcast. Sarah is featured daily on GEB TV.