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Exegetical Forum discuss Bible Verse Most Taken out of Context? in the The Scriptures forums; OK, what's your vote for the Bible verse most taken out of context? I am casting my vote for Revelation 3:20... Behold, I stand at ...

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    carlgobelman's Avatar
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    Bible Verse Most Taken out of Context?

    OK, what's your vote for the Bible verse most taken out of context? I am casting my vote for Revelation 3:20...

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me
    Nearly every time I hear this verse talked about in evangelical circles, it is always misquoted as an evangelistic verse ("Jesus, stands at the door to your heart and knocks. Won't you let him in?").

    It seems to me more often than not that churches that interpret this verse in that way are the ones being talked about in that pericope...
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    "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
    -David, 2 Sam. 12:23(ESV)
    I often see this verse interpreted as David referring to his son as being in heaven. Now I'm not saying his son did not go to heaven, but all David is saying here is that he too will die and be in Sheol.

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    I John 4:16 .....God is love........
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    In all contexts, I'd have to say "Judge not lest ye be judged," Matt. 7:1 -- even the nonbelievers will trot that one out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.
    -David, 2 Sam. 12:23(ESV)
    I often see this verse interpreted as David referring to his son as being in heaven. Now I'm not saying his son did not go to heaven, but all David is saying here is that he too will die and be in Sheol.
    Although, if we take this text in the light of CofD 1/17:

    Since we are to judge of the will of God from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children, whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

    that would mean that David had no reason to doubt the election and salvation of his child.
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    Ooh, another "MOoC" thread!



    edit: Maybe we should give out MOoC Awards...
    Last edited by Skyler; 10-13-2009 at 07:37 PM.
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    "Where two or three are gathered..." and "Judge not lest ye be judged..."

    In both cases, the chapter context is pretty clear.
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    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. " John 10:10

    The prosperity crowd loves this verse to name it claim it.
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    John 3:16

    16.For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    "I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness".-Valley of Vision ( collection of Purtan prayers)

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    Jn 3:16, we all know how its done, I need not expound on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.
    -David, 2 Sam. 12:23(ESV)
    I often see this verse interpreted as David referring to his son as being in heaven. Now I'm not saying his son did not go to heaven, but all David is saying here is that he too will die and be in Sheol.
    What you state isn't Scripture taken out of context, IMHO. In fact, historically it's been the common understanding of this passage by Calvinist and Reformed Bible commentators. See as follows some examples of this point.

    Matthew Poole states:

    "I shall go to him; into the state of the dead, in which he is, and into heaven, where I doubt not I shall find him."

    Matthew Henry states:

    "I shall go to him. First, To him to the grave. Note, The consideration of our own death should moderate our sorrow at the death of our relations. It is the common lot; instead of mourning for their death, we should think of our own: and, whatever loss we have of them now, we shall die shortly, and go to them. Secondly, To him to heaven, to a state of blessedness, which even the Old Testament saints had some expectation of. Godly parents have great reason to hope concerning their children that die in infancy that it is well with their souls in the other world; for the promise is to us and to our seed, which shall be performed to those that do not put a bar in their own door, as infants do not. Favores sunt ampliandi - Favours received should produce the hope of more. God calls those his children that are born unto him; and, if they be his, he will save them. This may comfort us when our children are removed from us by death, they are better provided for, both in work and wealth, than they could have been in this world. We shall be with them shortly, to part no more."

    John Gill states:

    "I shall go to him; to the state of the dead, to the grave, where his body was, or would be; to heaven and eternal happiness, where his soul was, as he comfortably hoped and believed: from whence it appears, that the Old Testament saints did not suppose an annihilation at death; but believed the immortality of the soul, a future state after death of eternal life and bliss:"

    1599 Geneva Bible notes:

    "2 Sam. 12:23 - But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? (n) can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

    (n) By this consideration he appeased his sorrow."
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    Keep 'em coming. I've been thinking of preaching a series on the worst out-of-context offenders.
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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by BertMulder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.
    -David, 2 Sam. 12:23(ESV)
    I often see this verse interpreted as David referring to his son as being in heaven. Now I'm not saying his son did not go to heaven, but all David is saying here is that he too will die and be in Sheol.
    Although, if we take this text in the light of CofD 1/17:

    Since we are to judge of the will of God from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children, whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

    that would mean that David had no reason to doubt the election and salvation of his child.
    I agree he had no reason to doubt the salvation of his child. I just don't think he was referring specifically to heaven here.

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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    On further reflection, though, this is certainly not the most misinterpreted verse by any stretch. It's just one I've seen misused in certain contexts.

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    John 3:7.
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    Matt. 24:34
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    Mal 3:10
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    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

    Misused to support a pretribulational rapture.


    Revelation 20:4 ...They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

    Misused to support a premillennial view of the millennium.


    2 Peter 3:9

    9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    God desires all men to be saved...
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    Gen 1:1 , scholar says

    According to Ellen van Wolde, Gen 1:1 has erroneously been interpreted to mean that God created the earth. Rather, 'bara' should be understood as "separated."

    God is not the Creator, claims academic - Telegraph
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    According to Ellen van Wolde, Gen 1:1 has erroneously been interpreted to mean that God created the earth. Rather, 'bara' should be understood as "separated."

    God is not the Creator, claims academic - Telegraph
    I don't know that this counts as "most" taken out of context... though I suppose one could argue it's taken so FAR out of context that it is.
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    How can we forget this one...

    Romans 8:29

    "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

    Common Arminian Interpretation: God looked into the future, saw who would believe in Him, and chose those only who would believe in Him (by their own free will).

    "I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness".-Valley of Vision ( collection of Purtan prayers)

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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    "Do not quench the Spirit."
    -1 Thess. 5:19(ESV)
    To many charismatics, this verse means that you cannot question or apply discernment to any claim of revelation from God, or you might "quench the Spirit."
    Last edited by AustinW; 10-13-2009 at 10:02 PM. Reason: typo

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    Wasn't there a book written cataloging these things?
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlgobelman View Post
    OK, what's your vote for the Bible verse most taken out of context? I am casting my vote for Revelation 3:20...

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me
    Nearly every time I hear this verse talked about in evangelical circles, it is always misquoted as an evangelistic verse ("Jesus, stands at the door to your heart and knocks. Won't you let him in?").

    It seems to me more often than not that churches that interpret this verse in that way are the ones being talked about in that pericope...
    So then what would you say is the proper view of this verse?

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    John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." Growing up in a liberal church, it's not that this verse gets taken out of context; rather this verse is the context that everything else Jesus said is taken out of.
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    Galatians 3:28

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewenlin View Post
    Wasn't there a book written cataloging these things?
    D.A. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies takes a crack at some of them. ISBN 0801020867

    Also Sire's Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible. ISBN 9780877846116
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    Matthew 24:34 Truly, I ay to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

    Most people have never even heard of the A.D. 70 context. And that is a shame.
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    Quote Originally Posted by D. Paul View Post
    So then what would you say is the proper view of this verse?
    The context is Jesus speaking to the CHURCH of Laodicea. They have become like the putrid lukewarm water that flows into that city; in essence, they have become Christless. Jesus is asking his servants to let him back inside his church. Therefore, it's not a call to unbelievers to let Christ into their hearts, but for the church to return to its head and master.

    -----Added 10/14/2009 at 06:36:39 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Tick View Post
    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

    Misused to support a pretribulational rapture.
    I always got a kick out of this one because even in my pre-mill dispy days, I knew that this passage alone did nothing to support that view; there are absolutely no timing markers presented in this passage. You always had to combine this with other passages to make a 'case' for that view.

    -----Added 10/14/2009 at 06:38:17 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookmeister View Post
    Jn 3:16, we all know how its done, I need not expound on it.
    If you don't mind, could you expound on it a bit?

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    1 thes. 5:22
    the sin sniffer's favorite

    and heb 13:4 (i've heard horrible interpetations on THAT one!)
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    Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection I hear this quoted so often but they never quote and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

    People hate when you bring up suffering.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned John 10:10 everyone wants that abundant life. For it goes with no suffering.

    -----Added 10/14/2009 at 09:07:57 EST-----

    Regarding John 3:16 I read a survey taken at the football stadiums across the nation asking people if they ever seen the signs stating John 3:16. They were asked what did it mean and the number one response by those surveyed was that it was John Maddens weight.
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    Christ will come "as a thief in the night" (II Peter 3:10), is used to prove that Christ could possibly come in His Second Advent at any time, and thus against postmillennialism, which teaches that Christ in His Second Advent is not coming for a long time.

    But the teaching that Christ will come as a "thief in the night" is not incompatible with Postmillenialism

    (a) Because for most people Christ will come for them in death.

    (b) We are told in I Thessalonians 5:4 that that day does not need to overtake believers as a thief. Not because we know the day or hour of our death, or because we know the year, thousands of years from now, when Christ will return, but because we are ready by being justified by Christ's blood, and in a sense can be even more ready by not being in a state of backsliding when He comes for us.

    In this respect I don't understand Christians who say, "If the Lord tarry" As far as I'm concerned, if they're talking about the Second Advent and End of the World, we know that the Lord is going to tarry until all nations are Christianised, at least.
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    Clearly Matthew 7:1. Also 1 Chronicles 16:22, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Chronicles 4:10, Philippians 3:13, Matthew 18:20, John 18:36, Romans 3:23, Psalms 2:4, Galatians 3:28.

    And let's not forget everyone's favorite "healthy living" verse:

    "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own," (1 Corinthians 6:19)

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    Verses a good or bad invention

    Has the use of verses led to the use of scripture as soundbites. I just wonder if breaking scripture down into tiny fragments called "verses" has hindered proper exegesis.

    Then again are the people making such basic errors really going to pay attention?
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    Any of the texts in the Psalms having to do with "singing a new song". Much maligned out of context as justification for new compositions, which may be either here or there.

    Rather, the context informs the phrase, and "singing a new song" has to do with the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles.
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    I know this will ruffle a few feathers but I have heard people try to isolate Romans 8:28 to try to comfort those who are in grief. While the context of the verse is in our future hope, it is not meant as a verse to comfort the mourning of a loved one, especially when those whom the grievers are grieving over are not regenerate.
    Chris Bryant
    Member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA), McKinney, TX
    M.A.R., WTS/Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, TX (in progress)

  39. #39
    puritanpilgrim's Avatar
    puritanpilgrim is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    "I stand at the door and knock..."
    Aaron Josh Wright
    Grace Family Baptist, Spring TX
    http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.as...d=Aaron_Wright

  40. #40
    Romans922's Avatar
    Romans922 is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Exodus 20:8ff (4th Commandment)
    Elder Andrew Barnes (PCA)
    Christ Presbyterian Church (Kansas City, MO)
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