God's Word is getting beaten and bloodied all the time by phony "pastors" who really don't care what it actually says, or what it actually means. Often, these false teachers don't even bother to quote the whole verse. Here's a quick look at some of the most popular Bible verses getting abused and misused:
1.) Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”
This verse is often printed on greeting cards and plaques (or used in a peaceful looking meme); it works really good as a “feel good” saying, but it’s not meant to do that; no verse in the Bible should be removed from it’s proper context just to make us feel good (and sell stuff). This verse is a promise to the ancient tribe of Judah in a particular time when they were being held captive in Babylon because of their rebellion against God. God was assuring them that they would eventually be freed-which finally happened 150 years later.
This is not a universal promise from God for all believers in all times, no matter how many times you “declare it” or “claim it.” Here's a great article with more detail: What Is God's Plan for Me? Examining the Context of Jeremiah 29:11
2.) 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Again, this is not a universal promise to all believers in all times. This verse starts in the middle of a sentence-that should give you a clue that it is being taken out of context. This promise is given specifically to God’s covenant people Israel, and it shouldn’t be universally applied to the church, or especially to any nation.
Truthfully, we are blessed much more so in our time, because of Jesus and His sacrifice to atone for our sins, no matter which country we live in, or how much worldly prosperity we have (or don't have).
3.) Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”
This one is, perhaps, the all-time most abused and misused verse in the whole Bible. It’s used to prop up the pagan heresy that we can “speak things into existence,” and that “our thinking determines our future” or something like that. This is one of the very few verses that “Word of Faith” teachers can use that appears to validate their ridiculous teaching (which comes from the world of sorcery-not the Bible).
First of all, it has to be quoted from the King James Version in order to say what they want it to say; read it in the NIV and it says, “for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost.” In the ESV it says, “for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.” Not exactly a “positive thinking” statement…
Secondly, it’s the second half of a sentence (just like the previous verse)-it’s not even a complete thought by itself. Here’s the same verse (in bold) in the ESV, with the proper context of the verse before and after:
“Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.”
Any pastor/teacher who knowingly misuses this verse to teach the “power of positive confession” or the “law of attraction” or any such thing, is completely disqualified for ministry. You may need to let that sink in for a while, because this means that what many very popular pastors/teachers are saying is 100% wrong. Completely and utterly WRONG. Here's a great WWUTT Video on this verse.
4.) Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”
This half-of-a-verse must also be quoted in the KJV in order to be misunderstood and abused. “Vision-casting” pastors often use this verse to prop up their false teaching, which says that God gives them special visions that everyone else is required to follow. It can also be used to make people think that whatever idea they have in their head must be a vision from God, and that idea (or “vision”) is what keeps them alive. This is just a spiritualized version of the business/success teaching that encourages people to be focused and excited about their long-term business goals, because that enthusiasm produces positive results-or something like that.
What’s crazy is that false teachers who twist this verse are actually doing the very thing this verse condemns! Here’s the whole verse:
“Where there is no revelation (or prophetic vision), the people cast off restraint; but blessed (or happy) is he who keeps the law.”
This verse is really about people casting off the restraint of God’s Word (His revelation or prophetic vision); which is contrasted against those who are blessed because they keep the law (or listen to God’s Word).
It is the height of blasphemy to twist God’s Word to change the meaning of this verse so that it no longer condemns us for twisting God’s Word; but instead it demands that we follow the “vision” of a man! By the way, having goals for your life and/or business is fine; just don’t emphasize it above your faith and trust in God.
Here's a great WWUTT Video on this verse. Here's an Old Testament passage that these false teachers should be using:
5.) Habakkuk 2:9 “Write the vision, and make it plain (on tablets, so he may run who reads it).”
This is the other verse that “vision-casting” pastors twist in order to maintain their authority. Also, there are false teachers using this (partial) verse to encourage people to write personal vision statements or to construct vision boards with pictures of what they want (sometimes called a “dream board”).
This verse is a specific thing that God told the Prophet Habakkuk at a specific time-it’s not a universal promise from God that you’ll get whatever you want if you just write it down. In fact, the LORD told Habakkuk to write down a vision of the Israelites being taken into captivity by the Babylonians-because they had rebelled against the LORD, not because He was so excited about giving them their dreams!
6.) Malachi 3:8-10 “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Bad pastors will often use these verses to drum up business in their church. It’s usually a lose/lose situation for parishioners; either you’re a bad Christian because you don’t give enough (and you’re hindering the work of God with your lack of faith) or you’re a broke and confused Christian, because you “gave until it hurts” (like you were supposed to), but the windows of heaven haven’t opened up for you yet.
The simple explanation is that this verse is not to be applied to people in churches today. Again, this was God speaking to specific people in a specific time. Simple question: If this was a universal promise from God to the churches today, don't you think Jesus or the Apostles would have mentioned it in the New Testament? Here's a great WWUTT Video on tithing.
7.) Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."
Like a lot of the verses on this list, this one is often used as a "feel good" saying on a plaque or poster. But in its proper context, this is not a good news verse; it's an Old Testament warning to the armies that oppose God and His people. Here's a great article to explain it: "Be Still and Know That I Am God" is Bad News.
8.) Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
Whenever a false teacher/prophet is exposed (because of unbiblical teachings, blatant sin, corruption/greed, prophesies that don’t come true, etc.) they can often maintain the unquestioning support of their followers by the using this verse (taken out of context, of course). This verse is not saying: “don’t ever judge anyone ever!” In reading the whole passage, it’s easy to see that this verse is warning against unjust, hypocritical judgment in our personal dealings with others. It’s not about evaluating the teachings that are being taught by a teacher. Christians have been systematically programmed to ignore all scripture about the accountability of leaders… because their leaders said so. Ironically, the false teacher ends up judging his theological critic who is (supposedly) guilty of being judgmental. Here's a great WWUTT Video on this verse. And here's a longer article on this topic: Does the Bible Tell Christians to Judge Not?
It's time to stop listening to false teachers & pastors who abuse and misuse God's Word-no matter how famous and popular they are! Here's something that Bible-twisting false teachers don't want you to read: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know!
This article will be updated with more verses in the days ahead. Here are some other good resources on this vital topic:
Here's a great little three and a half minute video from the White Horse Inn called "How to Read the Bible:"
Steven Kozar started The Messed Up Church; he is an artist, musician, blogger and stuff.