10 Popular Bible Verses Taken out of Context - Meet The Need Blog (2022)

10 Popular Bible Verses Taken out of Context - Meet The Need Blog (1)

The last straw for us was the sermon series immediately following Easter – “What Jesus’ resurrection gives to you”. My wife and I left the church before the end of the 6 week series. I think we made it through “Victory”, “Freedom”, “Power” and “Joy” before we could no longer stomach the concept that Jesus suffered and died to make us more happy and comfortable. To me it felt as dirty as when I finished going through the Titanic exhibit, only to be forcibly routed through the gift shop profiteering off the deaths of hundreds of passengers.

Megachurch consultants had recently been hired to rejuvenate that aging church. Much had changed – discipleship and local missions were disbanded, worship music became a concert, the kid’s ministry was converted to Romper Room, and teaching focused on what God does FOR “me” and not what God requires OF “me”. Throughout the post-Easter sermon series the pastor fed us a steady diet of Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 but failed to provide context to those verses – not mentioning the adjacent verses that qualified those promises.

That church, like most today, worries that it won’t survive in this day and age if it fails to attract and retain members. Therefore, pastors are more careful about the words they use and the scripture passages they read.

As the measuring stick for “success” has become more size-based than impact-based, the filter through which churches process every decision has shifted from “how do we make them disciples” to “how do we get them to commit to Jesus and our church.” We count professions and baptisms but as we discussed last week, the buck shouldn’t stop there. Jesus wants us to make sold-out, transformed disciples – however, pastors and staff have in effect already moved on the next unsaved person once a new believer comes to Christ.

Yes, we are saved by grace through faith but I doubt the sincerity of a profession of faith if that person’s life doesn’t change significantly. Given the magnitude of the gift Jesus gave us and how much He suffered on our behalf, shouldn’t we be transformed by His grace? Wouldn’t we want to serve others eagerly and share our good news widely. How can so many go back to business as usual, cussing a little less but keeping their newfound salvation to themselves outside their circle of Christian friends.

We’re left to wonder whether nominal or carnal Christians are really Christians at all. Are they truly saved? Yet churches in America implicitly approve of converts living as they did before by making discipleship, repentance and sanctification optional out of fear of asking too much of people that they want to come back next Sunday. As a consequence, recent studies have found that Americans don’t believe their Christian neighbors live or act any differently than their non-Christian neighbors.

It’s a disservice to churchgoers everywhere and to the Lord to regularly quote attractive-sounding verses while withholding the less alluring context of those passages of scripture…

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10 Popular Verses & Their Overlooked Counterparts

1. Romans 8:28And we know that in all things God works for the goodof those who love Him, who have been calledaccording to his purpose.”

Romans 8:29 – “For those God foreknewhe also predestinedto be conformed to the image of his Son.”

Context – Jesus defines “those who love Him” in John 14, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching”. Obedience and discipleship are joined at the hip. The latter part of verse 28 and verse 29 are typically avoided because they reference calling and predestination, a touchy, uncomfortable subject for most churchgoers – we’d prefer to have control than leave it in God’s hand. “Conformed to the image of His Son” is also challenging because Jesus was first and foremost obedient to the Father.

2. Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For it is by graceyou have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works,so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork,createdin Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Context – These two verses seem at odds, but though salvation is a free gift, we should respond by exhibiting the same mercy and grace we have received in how we treat others.

3. Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope forand assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:2-40 – Examples of how the great heroes of faith did more than believe, but acted in dramatic fashion on that belief.

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Context – Faith is not just belief; it is belief that inspires action. As James says in 2:18, “Show me your faith without deeds,and I will show you my faithby my deeds.”

4. Matthew 6:33But seek first his kingdomand his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 5 and 6 – We prefer the 2nd half of 33, getting “all these things”, and rarely analyze what “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” really means, which is explained in detail by the long sermon Jesus gave “on the mount” in chapters 5 and 6.

Context – Verse 6:33 is rarely connected back to the sermon it concludes, meticulously defining how Christ’s followers are expected to behave.

5. Romans 12:3-8 – Pastors routinely cite these verses about using our spiritual gifts (parts of the Body) to serve the (institution of) church.

Romans 12:1-2 – “In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Do not conformto the pattern of this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Context – Pastors don’t often relate vs. 3-8 to the verses that precede them, more willing to tell us what we should do for the (collective) church than how we should undergo (individual) transformation. Likewise, they put in place more support structures around the former (internal ministries) than the latter (discipleship).

6. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 – “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

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1 Corinthians 9:15-27 – Whereas 13-14 refers to pastors and church staff, Paul goes on to describe the responsibilities, training, dedication, and endurance necessary to live out the ministry calling every Christian shares as the embodiment of church (the “called out ones”; “those belonging to the Lord”).

Context – Few churchgoers want to hear how hard they would have to work to win the Great Commission “race” or “boxing match” Paul refers to in those verses.

7. Philippians 2:1-2 – “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy completeby being like-minded,having the same love, being onein spirit and of one mind.”

Philippians 2:12 – “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.

Context – In verses 3-11, Paul goes on to define the love of Jesus referenced in verses 1-2 – in humble obedience to the Father and putting the interests of others above your own. The challenges of obedience and selflessness are so counter to our natures that in the verse that follows (v. 12) Paul describes the ongoing process of sanctification (and discipleship) as one that involves “fear and trembling”.

8. Galations 5:22-23 – “But the fruitof the Spirit is love,joy, peace,forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”

Galations 5:24 – “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the fleshwith its passions and desires.”

Context – Without the transformation in Christ’s image that accompanies being “crucified” such that “Inolongerlive, but Christlives in me”, we can’t bear the fruit of the Spirit. Churchgoers also don’t want to hear the list of terrible sins and dire consequences outlined in the immediately preceding verses (vs. 19-21), knowing they may be guilty of a few.

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9. Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him whostrengthens me.” (NASB)

Philippians 4:12 – “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want.”

Context – Pastors and churchgoers prefer the NASB translation because it stands alone, delinking from the prior verse about being content in every situation. The NIV phrases v. 13 as “I can do all this”, referring directly to Paul enduring hardships as a result of living out his faith no matter what the cost.

10. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plansI have for you,” declares theLord, “plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13 – “Then you will call on me and come and prayto me, and I will listento you. You will seekme and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Context – The book of Jeremiah leading up to chapter 29 is about Israel’s disobedience and God’s punishment. In fact, chapter 29 is written to the exiles in Babylon, who were there because of disobedience (see chapter 25 and 27). The promises in chapter 29 are for restoration following judgment understanding that discipline will bring obedience (vs. 12-13).

It’s Your Turn

What other verses have you heard churches take out of context, offering cheap grace and a better life without any need for repentance or discipleship?


What Bible verses were removed from the Bible? ›

The sixteen omitted verses
  • (1) Matthew 17:21.
  • (2) Matthew 18:11.
  • (3) Matthew 23:14.
  • (4) Mark 7:16.
  • (5 & 6) Mark 9:44 & 9:46.
  • (7) Mark 11:26.
  • (8) Mark 15:28.
  • (9) Luke 17:36.

What is it called when scripture is taken out of context? ›

Exegesis is drawing out a text's meaning in accordance with the author's context and discoverable meaning. Eisegesis is when a reader imposes their interpretation of the text.

What is Oprah's favorite Bible verse? ›

Oprah quoted the verse, “Delight thyself in the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart.” She likened this verse to the golden rule or karma in the sense that if you do good, good things will befall you.

How do you quote a Bible verse from a blog? ›

Use a comma after the reference, followed by the version abbreviation in capitals, to indicate the specific version you quote: John 3:16, KJV. (For a list of Bible versions and appropriate abbreviations, see Bible Gateway.)

What was removed from the King James Bible? ›

Since that time most modern editions of the Bible and reprintings of the King James Bible omit the Apocrypha section. Modern non-Catholic reprintings of the Clementine Vulgate commonly omit the Apocrypha section.

What is the most accurate translation of the Bible in the world? ›

The King James Version is the world's most widely known Bible translation, using early seventeenth-century English. Its powerful, majestic style has made it a literary classic, with many of its phrases and expressions embedded in our language.

Who was Jeremiah 29 11 written to? ›

Historical and Literary Context of Jeremiah 29:11. For historical context, Jeremiah spoke these words to Jews who had been living under the domination of the Egyptian and then Babylonian Empires before eventually being carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Does the Bible need context? ›

It is important to place scripture in proper context.

Therefore, the meaning of an individual portion of text must be understood in relation to the work as a whole, such as a word in its sentence, a sentence in its paragraph, and so on.

What are the 4 modes of exegesis? ›

In the history of biblical interpretation, four major types of hermeneutics have emerged: the literal, moral, allegorical, and anagogical.

Does Oprah Winfrey read the Bible? ›

Winfrey sees herself as both both a Christian and a critic of Christianity, says Lofton. She was raised in the Baptist church, describes herself as a consistent reader of the Bible, and through her television show, basically built the church that she wanted.

Where is Orpah mentioned in the Bible? ›

Orpah (Hebrew: עָרְפָּה ʿOrpā, meaning "neck" or "fawn") is a woman mentioned in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. She was from Moab and was the daughter-in-law of Naomi and wife of Chilion.

Who said I can do all this through him who gives me strength? ›

Philippians 4:11–13

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

What are some good verses in the Bible? ›

15 Bible Verses to Encourage You
  • John 16:33. "In the world you will have tribulation. ...
  • Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. ...
  • Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV) ...
  • Psalm 34:4–5, 8. ...
  • Romans 8:28. ...
  • Joshua 1:9. ...
  • Matthew 6:31–34 (NIV) ...
  • Proverbs 3:5–6.
23 Mar 2020

How do you write a Bible verse in a post? ›

When citing a passage of scripture, include the abbreviated name of the book, the chapter number, and the verse number—never a page number. Chapter and verse are separated by a colon. Example: 1 Cor. 13:4, 15:12-19.

How do you write a Bible verse in an essay? ›

Always use quotations around scripture verses and include the book, chapter number and verse number at the end of the quotation. Provide the name of the Bible version in your first in-text citation.

Why was Book of Enoch removed from the Bible? ›

I Enoch was at first accepted in the Christian Church but later excluded from the biblical canon. Its survival is due to the fascination of marginal and heretical Christian groups, such as the Manichaeans, with its syncretic blending of Iranian, Greek, Chaldean, and Egyptian elements.

What are the 7 books left out of the Bible? ›

Did you know that the Catholic Bible contains seven books that are not included in the Protestant Bible? These special books of the Bible—Sirach, Wisdom, Tobit, 1 Maccabees, Judith, additions to Daniel, and Esther—contain harrowing stories of family, resurrection, and prayer.

Why is Enoch not in the Bible? ›

The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas (4:3) and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ.

Which Bible is the original Bible? ›

Geneva Bible
Full nameGeneva Bible
NT published1557
Complete Bible published1560
4 more rows

Where is the original Bible? ›

Written on vellum or calf's skin, the codex has been in the Vatican Library at least since 1475. Along with Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important manuscripts of both the Greek Old and New Testaments.

Is the Quran older than the Bible? ›

Knowing that versions written in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament does predate the Quran, Christians reason the Quran as being derived directly or indirectly from the earlier materials. Muslims understand the Quran to be knowledge from an omnipotent God.

What does Jeremiah 29 5 mean? ›

The message is clear: the exiles are to establish their own community in Babylonia, prepare for a long stay there, and hope for the continued prosperity of Babylonia itself, of which the Judeans may partake.

What is the meaning of Romans 8 28? ›

The promise of Romans 8:28 that God works for our good “in all things” is reassuring. It means that no matter the circumstance, there are only two qualifiers for God to be working all things together for our good.

Who was the youngest prophet in the Bible? ›


How do we read Bible in context? ›

How to Study the Bible in Context! - YouTube

What is the value of reading the Bible in context? ›

Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.

Why is context important? ›

Context provides meaning and clarity to the intended message. Context clues in a literary work create a relationship between the writer and reader, giving a deeper understanding of the intent and direction of the writing.

What does Romans 5/12 say? ›

Everyone died because of Adam's transgression, but because of Christ, everyone can live. Everyone was judged guilty because of Adam's sin; everyone can be judged righteous through faith in Christ.

What are the 3 spiritual senses of the Bible? ›

The three spiritual senses are the allegorical, the moral (also known as the tropological), and the anagogical.

What are the 4 Scriptures? ›

Another common typological allegory is with the four major Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

What has changed in the NIV Bible? ›

The 2011 New International Version (NIV) replaces references of just men, to both men and women. In the 1984 NIV Mark 4:25 says, "Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." The 2011 version replaces the "he" and "him" with "they" and "them."

Does the Hebrew Bible include the Apocrypha? ›

Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, but not in the Hebrew Bible.

How do you know the Bible is true? ›

Evidence for the Bible

We have copies of the manuscripts and throughout history these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Despite common skeptical claims that the Bible has often been changed through the centuries, the physical evidence tells another story.

Is there a gender neutral version of the Bible? ›

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was one of the first major translations to adopt gender-neutral language. The King James Version translated at least one passage using a technique that many now reject in other translations, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matt.

When was the Bible last changed? ›

With this group behind the wheel for the past 40 years, the NIV has seen three revisions: the original in 1978, the second in 1984, and the most recent in 2011.

What do Jews think of the Book of Enoch? ›

The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas (4:3) and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ.

Who removed apocrypha from Bible? ›

There is no question that these books have always been part of the Bible in Oriental Orthodox Churches, so they were definitely not added in the 1500s. Around the year 80 AD, the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin) decided to cut the books from the Hebrew Bible, but they stayed in the Christian Bible.

Why was the book of Enoch left out of the Bible? ›

I Enoch was at first accepted in the Christian Church but later excluded from the biblical canon. Its survival is due to the fascination of marginal and heretical Christian groups, such as the Manichaeans, with its syncretic blending of Iranian, Greek, Chaldean, and Egyptian elements.


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