13 Bible Verses, Oft Times Used Improperly, That Don’t Mean What You May Have Come To Think They Do
Reprinted from Equipping Godly Women
By Brittany Ann
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
ADDITIONAL CONTENT added by the administrator of A CROOKED PATH and is highlighted in BLUE TEXT.
1. Philippians 4:13 Doesn’t Mean We Can Do Anything We Want
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
This well-known verse has inspired and encouraged millions of people to try hard, keep going, and accomplish their goals.
Unfortunately, the apostle Paul wasn’t making the claim that Christians can achieve any goal we set our minds to (like finishing a marathon, finding a job, or sticking to our diets). Rather, he was stating that he could endure any hardship or persecution for the sake of the gospel.
It’s not about accomplishing good things. It’s about enduring bad things.
2. Matthew 7:1-2 Doesn’t Tell Us Not to Judge Anyone Ever
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”– Matthew 7:1-2
While this verse seems very straightforward, again, we have to read it in context.
Jesus wasn’t telling his followers they should never judge. Rather, he was warning them to be careful when and if they chose to judge, as they would be judged by the same standard.
This is why, just a few verses later, Jesus instructs his listeners: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Similarly, there are many, many other verses in the Bible that tell believers to judge wisely.
For a full explanation (backed with tons of Scripture), see also: Yes, Christians Should Judge. Here’s Why
3. Ephesians 2:8-9 Doesn’t Teach We Are Saved by Faith Alone
“For it is by grace you 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 2:8-9
Many people believe Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that we are saved by faith alone.
Yet, the only verse in the Bible that contains the phrase “faith alone” specifically says that we are not saved by faith alone.
James 2:24 says, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul isn’t saying that our works don’t matter for our salvation at all. When read within the context of the chapter, we see that Paul is saying we can’t earn our salvation through the good works that we do.
For a full explanation (backed with tons of Scripture), see also: Sola Fide: Is Faith Alone Enough?
The FRUIT WE BEAR DAILY matters. Are we the salt of the earth? The light of the world so that when folks see us they see God the Father in us and glorify His name? That’s what it means to be a light unto the world.
Liberty, as written and defined in God’s Word does not mean anything goes as long as we say with our lips we have faith in God, we have faith in Jesus. Unless truly regenerated, transformed of heart and mind from within, CHANGED INTO A NEW CREATURE, renewed of spirit and mind by the Supernatural power of the Spirit of God — thus lacking the desire for those things we once did, once were, having REPENTED, turned aside, turned away from those things to live for Christ.
Yes, we are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone but that is only the first step in the journey fighting the good fight to THE END. Being separate from the ways and doctrines of the world, a peculiar people, visibly different in how we carry ourselves, speak, work, and live — with Christ in us. Becoming more like Christ by the fruit we bear each day.
4. Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn’t Promise All Christians Will Prosper
“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Jeremiah 29:11 is such an uplifting, encouraging verse! It’s no wonder you often see it on Christian mugs, tote bags, t-shirts, and more.
The only problem? It wasn’t written to us as Christians today.
In this passage, God is speaking specifically to the Southern Israelite kingdom of Judah. God is warning them that they will be be conquered by the Babylonians because of their great sin, while reassuring them that He will ultimately redeem and restore them.
God does not promise Christians peace and prosperity today. In fact, Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
True Christians will encounter greater trials and tribulations, and tests of their faith than people in the world will receive. It’s how we respond that matters. This place, this earth no matter where we live, what our position or station in life is not who we are for eternity. This place is not our home. We, as true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, true children of God are pilgrims here. Sojourners. This is but a very temporary stop on our way to eternity. Keep that in mind continually. Live accordingly. It isn’t how comfortable, how successful according to the world, how many material things we have, how much money we make — the prosperity and comfort gospel is a fs gospel, another gospel than what is written and taught in God’s Word — do not be deceived.
5. John 14:14 Doesn’t Teach That God Will Give Us Everything We Want
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” – John 14:14
When taken out of context, this verse seems to clearly state that God will give us everything we pray for. (Wouldn’t that be nice!)
Unfortunately, when we read it in the context of the chapter, we can see that this isn’t what Jesus is talking about at all.
In this passage, Jesus is telling his disciples that those who believe in Him (not just anyone) will do great miracles.
The key to this verse is in the phrase “in my name.”
Jesus isn’t promising to give us everything we ask for in prayer. Rather, he was promising the disciples that, if they would align themselves to God’s will, God would allow them to perform incredible miracles.
Context is EVERYTHING. I have posted permanently the words of Myles Cloverdale;
“It shall greatly help ye to understand the Scriptures if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth after.”
Or, if for some reason having difficulty understanding those words, in more modern English so that none has an excuse…
“It will greatly help you to understand scripture if you note – not only what is spoken and written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows.”
If we are living, believing, attempting to get through this Christian life one verse here, one verse there, out of context that is like attempting to sit and be nourished and sustained on a single grain of rice on a plate, a single morsel of food thinking it is a meal and will keep us alive and thriving, alive and healthy.
It’s all CONTEXT. Discerning wisely and well. Taking the time. And living out what the Lord shows is through His entire Word.
6. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Doesn’t Mean Women Can’t Preach
“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but mustbe in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” – 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Many Christians wrongly rip these verses out of context to “prove” that women can’t be involved in ministry. And yet, we must remember that Paul was writing to a very specific people at a very specific point in history.
Elsewhere in the Bible, we see plenty of examples of amazing women involved in Christian ministry.
For example, the Bible holds Abigail, Rahab, Esther, Ruth, Judith, and Mary in high regard for the roles that they played in salvation history. The Bible tells us that women were the first ones to announce Jesus’s resurrection.
The Bible tells us that Moses’s sister, Miriam, was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20), Deborah was a prophet and judge who lead Israel (Judges 4:4), and Phoebe was a deaconess (Romans 16:1–2).
Whatever the women in Corinth were up to, the Bible certainly does not teach that all women must be silent.
Again, CONTEXT and knowing the Holy Bible. Women certainly are not forbidden to preach the gospel, the spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. But to lead a congregation? To be a pastor teaching men and women as the head shepherd of a flock in a church? That is wrong. Not according to me. According to God’s Word. God working in and guiding the apostle Paul, who, contrary to modern ignorance and words of lost men and women professing faith was not a woman hater. He was instructed by God. With good reason. Not of his own words or ideas. Instructed by the Spirit of God. Do you believe this or don’t you?
Women are key and vital to the furtherance of the faith. Women, such as Esther specifically are credited with the preservation and protection of God’s chosen people! Women have been a key part in the protection, furtherance, and building of the faith. Leading by example. Godly women. So important.
Women just are not to be heads of churches, pastors, preachers in churches to congregations of people. There are many other ways to minister, to spread the gospel, to do the Lord’s work. But to be a woman pastor, a woman installed and leading a congregation is wrong. According to the Word of God;
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”
1 Timothy 2:12-14
The apostle Paul wrote those words by his hand — as directed and guided by the Spirit of God. Those are God’s words. With reason. God’s reason. Not to be willfully ignored or misinterpreted. Abandoned due to willful desire, worldly desire, the rise of paganism [feminism and the constant work of removing the patriarchy to be replaced by the goddess system, the pagan system and that is exactly what feminism is rooted in — true godly men do not need worldly, pagan feminism in order to know how to treat a woman, love a woman, understand a woman, and respect a woman.
Women are so vital and important. To God. To Christ. To men. To their families, friends, co-workers, and within their churches. They just are not to stand within an assembly of men and women, as pastors, as shepherds of that flock, and preach. There are so many other ways to further the Word of God, to minister, to spread the gospel, and to be a light unto the world and to those around them in the faith.
If taking umbrage with this I suggest you turn to the Word of God. And to fervent HUMBLE pray and seek the Lord and not our own ways.
Just as truly godly men must do when self appears to dominate and set aside the clear eternal Word of God.
7. Exodus 20:7 Doesn’t (Just) Say We Can’t Use God’s Name as a Curse Word
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” –Exodus 20:7 (ESV)
While it is accurate to say that the command to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” means we shouldn’t use God’s name as a curse word, this verse means a lot more than just that.
It also means that we must be extremely careful not to carelessly throw around the phrase “God told me” or “Jesus says,” putting words in God’s mouth that He never said.
We must never use God’s name as a weapon to justify our own misguided beliefs and opinions.
Where is the reverence? The awe? The understanding of just how mighty, awesome, beyond our comprehension is of our God. This ought to give us pause, with the fear of the Lord within us to not take lightly the speaking, and writing of the name of God, of Jesus Christ as punctuation, as if Their names are like any others on this earth. Reverence. Humility. Awe. Wonder. Submission. Discernment. Getting back to understanding what the name of God, the name of Jesus means. And only speaking, writing Their names appropriately according to the Word of God’s instruction to us.
8. Matthew 18:20 Doesn’t Mean God Is More Likely to Answer Group Prayers
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
While many people think Matthew 18:20 means that God is more likely to hear (and answer) our prayers if we get multiple people to pray with us, this isn’t what this verse is saying at all.
This portion of Scripture isn’t talking about the effectiveness of prayer, but of church discipline.
In those days, the law said: “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut. 19:15).
In this passage, God is saying that He would be with the people in their efforts toward reconciliation, not that their prayer would be more powerful the more people they got to pray.
9. Matthew 5:38-40 Doesn’t Mean We Should Allow Others to Mistreat Us
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” –Matthew 5:38-40
Unfortunately, many have used Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” to say that Christians should be doormats, allowing others to mistreat them. Thankfully, this is not the case.
It is wise and biblical to set Christian boundaries with unbelieving family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
10. 1 Corinthians 10:13 Doesn’t Mean God Won’t Give Us More than We Can Handle
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
You may have heard the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
While 1 Corinthians 10:13 does promise us we won’t be tempted beyond what we can bear, this verse isn’t talking about the general hardships, grief, and suffering people often apply it to.
In fact, the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”
God does give us more than we can handle… so that we can learn to rely on Him.
I can provide firsthand experience to this. While I am never TEMPTED beyond what I can bear, thanks be to the Lord for His promise in that, I was, and have been given more than I could bear physically. I was stalled, shutdown, harnessed, kept low and slow, hindered, and given permanent chronic pain — that on certain days dominates my physical life here on earth. Sometimes more than I can bear and I protest. I need to go back to the doctors. I need more surgeries, and so on. Not fun is it? But I do endure it, bear it up, and give thanks daily, nightly.
How? Why? Because no matter if I were to live another 100 years in constant pain and physical limitation could it compare, diminish, or hinder my eternity with the Lord? Where everything — EVERYTHING — from and of this world will be forgotten and removed. FOREVER. And there will be a new body, a new name for me in eternity with the Lord. Beyond my finite comprehension.
And I know this for a fact — where is not for this affliction, this slowing me down, this altering of my physical life I do not know, I do not believe I would have responded to the Voice of the Lord in my life. At least not to the degree of humility, understanding, and wisdom I have due to the physical limitations and afflictions. Give thanks in all things. I realize certain diagnoses and conditions are extremely difficult to give thanks for — but in every instance, every circumstance THAT IS WHY we keep our eyes, our hearts, our minds, our lives on Jesus, on God, within God’s Word. Knowing whatever may befall us here is but a twinkling of an eye — the blink of any eye, which humanely lasts no more than 300 to 400 milliseconds — and a lifetime of trials, suffering, pain, and bearing so much here is nothing, nothing compared to what awaits the true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true child of God in heaven — ETERNALLY. FOREVER!
The apostle Paul endured much suffering. Much physical suffering and troubles. To the point of being stoned to the point where everyone thought him dead. A thorn in his side permanently which we do not know but was greatly troubling and debilitating to him physically. And he, along with Silas were imprisoned in a Roman jail. Not a comfy resort Club Med prison of America by comparison. Chained. In darkness. In hard coldness. And what did they do? Why they sang hymns and REJOICED and were GLAD!
The apostles in Acts rejoiced for having suffered for the gospel!
Think you got it so terrible, so bad? Think again…in prayer of thankfulness to the Lord!
11. 1 Timothy 6:10 Doesn’t Say Money is the Root of All Evil
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” -1 Timothy 6:9-10
It is a theme in modern Christianity to have discomfort with money because of a misunderstanding over this verse. The evil is not money itself; this verse describes an individual who “longs” for this money and “loves” it, speaking of a heart condition that puts money before God.
When we create a false idol out of money, whether we have that extra cash or not, it will cause “many sorrows.”
12. James 5:16 Doesn’t Promise Every Prayer Will Get a Yes
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
Righteousness does not mean perfection in the sense of a person without any temptation, who shows up to church every Sunday and never forgets to bless their food before they eat it. Rather, righteousness is a state of the soul after one has repented and chosen to follow Jesus.
Therefore, a righteous person’s prayers are powerful and effective because they are in a state of rightness with God through the blood of Jesus and live a life focused on His will for themselves and whomever they are praying for.
God knows much better what each of us needs in order to grow, to serve Him, to prosper, and learn spiritually. Much better than we know ourselves. And instead of praying so much with self in mind and heart, in our offerings up to God, many asking for things, asking for material help, how about praying spiritually, faithfully, praying for others more than for ourselves, praying for the growth of the kingdom of God, the spread of the gospel, that sound doctrine be taught and heard, that evil be quelled and that the Lord reign supreme in the hearts and minds of ourselves and others?
God knows much better what we need than we do.
And quite often we ask, we pray amiss. And sometimes a “No” is actually a “Yes” in another way that draws us closer to the Lord. And isn’t that what it ought to be all about while here?
13. Luke 2:7 Doesn’t Mean a Pregnant Mary was Turned Away to Have a Baby in a Barn
“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:6-7
An “inn” within Jerusalem’s culture of the time was a guest space and often an upper room of a typical village home. Not a bed and breakfast.
The home’s main living area would have a small, clean space dug out for the family donkey or livestock. Reading the passage through an understanding of the place’s culture and time, one would not even consider a pregnant woman, especially a descendant of David, to be turned away. Within the culture, turning away a guest would have brought disgrace upon the household and the entire town.
Instead, this describes a packed house where the hostess made a place for an honored guest with the means left to them. It is still a humble beginning for the newborn Christ but not a story of a hard-hearted innkeeper.