Misquoting the Scriptures

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: II Timothy 2:14-19


I.         Atheists will often use short quotes from the Bible to make it appear that the Bible is contradictory or teaches something that people would find repulsive

            A.        But then, when you lift words from their context, you can make almost any point you want

            B.        To be true to author’s intention, you have to use his words as intended - II Timothy 2:15

            C.        It is easily to point out others flaws, but what about ourselves?

II.        I have plans for you - Jeremiah 29:11

            A.        By itself it is a motivational statement, but it isn’t about hard times at the office or trouble getting your bank account to stretch to cover your expenses.

            B.        Because of Judah’s continued sin, their country was destroyed and God sent them into exile for 70 years.

                        1.         They could spend it time in misery or they could get on with their lives - Jeremiah 29:4-7

                        2.         They were not to listen to false prophets who would try to raise false hopes. They will be in exile for a long while - Jeremiah 29:8-10

                        3.         God knows what He is doing. This punishment will bring about positive changes - Jeremiah 29:11-14

                        4.         The “future and hope” was for their grandchildren. Most of the exiles told this would not survive to see their homeland again.

            C.        This passage is not about personal prosperity

III.       All things work together for good - Romans 8:28

            A.        People use this to say that a death or tragic disaster will eventually work out best for the person.

            B.        But this talking about all of God’s people. It doesn’t mean I won’t face disasters. I might even die in the service of God, like the early Christian martyrs. But I can take comfort in the fact that my personal trials can be used by God to accomplish good for His people as a whole.

            C.        The ultimate goal is the redemption of His people - Romans 8:18-23

            D.        It is not about our personal comfort here on earth, but the salvation of as many people as possible

IV.      Ask and it will be given to you - Luke 11:9

            A.        This is quote is used to claim God will give people anything they want. All they have to do is ask

            B.        But the larger context is in answer to a question on how to pray - Luke 11:1-13

                        1.         What kinds of thing are being asked for? Bread, forgiveness of ourselves and others, delivery from sin

                        2.         It is not general asking, but according to God’s will - I John 5:14-15

                        3.         It is more than asking, it is persistence, seeking, and creating opportunities. In other words, we are putting in effort toward the answers we desire.

V.        I can do all things - Philippians 4:13

            A.        Sometimes this is used in sports. I can accomplish anything with Jesus’ help.

            B.        What did Paul have in mind? - Philippians 4:11-14

                        1.         Paul is talking about contentment through good and especially bad times in life.

                        2.         This is more about: I can endure all things when Jesus is there encouraging me.

VI.      Short quotes are short on context

            A.        The shorter something is, the easier it is to misunderstand the intention.

            B.        It looks good on Twitter or in a meme, but it doesn’t lead to clarity.

            C.        We can accidently do the same when we oversimplify things like the plan of Salvation, the points of worship, or the name of the church

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