“Never quote a bible verse” Plus 7 examples where Christians forgot this advice


It’s not like I’m going through life looking for arguments. I’m just a lucky, tousled rascal who leaps through life and whistles a cheerful tune that’s inexplicably caught off guard by some bonkers Christian arguments begging for nothing but a good beating. It would be rude to ignore them.

In fact, I’m happy to agree with Christians when I can, and just to prove it, let me highlight an article by Greg Koukl, “Never read a Bible verse.”His point is that you should never read correct verse from the Bible, but instead read the entire paragraph or even the entire chapter to understand the context.

That’s good advice as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. It is true that broadening your reading to the local context can clarify the meaning of the verse and is a more accurate way of approaching this verse. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee us that the Bible doesn’t say something contradictory elsewhere – it’s a big book. In other words, the actual context is the entire Bible. Do not cite the Bible as an authority until you can assure me that the Bible never undermines this message elsewhere.

The problem can be illustrated by a familiar source of simplistic Christian apologetics.

Flyer chicks

The Chick tracts are little comical pamphlets that use a story to illustrate conservative Christian tenets (or attack the usual evangelical rascals of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, evolution, etc.). A typical story will have a sinner frightened by a glimpse of hell, for example. Printed tracts are cheap enough that street evangelists can distribute them to potential converts.

Let’s use Chick’s tracts as examples where a larger biblical context would make a very different interpretation of the point they make.

1. False prophecy

The greatest story ever toldIs the condensed gospel story, and she can’t help repeating several of the five statements of prophecy fulfilled in the first two chapters of Matthew. He first quotes Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son.” Yes, I realize that the author thought it was a prophecy from Jesus, but it is not. By simply following the rule “never read a bible verse,” we can see from the context that this statement had to be fulfilled only a few years after it was made, in Isaiah’s day. (Following here.)

The tract also says, “The Bible prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5: 1-2). Still wrong, and you would find out if you read the context. These verses speak of a ruler who will push back the Assyrians, who began to conquer Israel in 740 BCE. Micah 5: 9 says, “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your enemies will be destroyed.” Whose story is this? Certainly not that of Jesus.

2. Belief in Jesus is obligatory

Back from the dead?”Is the hilarious story of a person who visits Hell during a near-death experience. In it, Jesus is quoted in John 14: 6: “No one comes to the Father except through me. “”It’s not your fault”Quotes John 3:18, who makes a similar point:“ He who does not believe is already condemned. ”

This is the one where the whole Bible is the context. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one man many shall be made righteous.” That is, we have not opted for the sin of Adam, and we do not need to opt for the salvation of Jesus. No belief is necessary.

Christians seem overwhelmingly eager to harmonize inappropriate verses like these, but they are still unsuitable. An omniscient Creator would have ensured that his message reached the world in a clear and unambiguous manner.

3. Jobs don’t take you to paradise

God turns revenge into love in “The shot!Someone says, “The only way anyone can get to heaven is by faith in Christ alone” with a reference to Acts 4:12. It’s standard Chick: make a statement and then save it with just a Bible reference. I agree that this verse confirms it (“Salvation is not found in anyone else”), but this is just a reference without context.

A character in “Back from the dead?“said:” You can’t do it [to heaven] by good works ”and quotes Ephesians 2: 8-9 and Titus 3: 5. In “It’s the law” We read, “[No,] good works will be not take away our sins!

But let’s look at the whole Bible, and we find the Parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25: 31-46), which clearly shows that those who come to the Kingdom do so by their good works. There is no mention of faith.

4. God hates slavery

Kidnapped!Deals with child slavery, and he tries to portray the Old Testament as anti-slavery by quoting Exodus 21:16, “He who steals a man and sells him.” . . will certainly be put to death. (Unsurprisingly, Chick prefers the King James version.)

No. God has no problem with slavery. In reality, biblical slavery was roughly the same as American slavery.

5. God hates queers

In “Birds and bees”, Teaches us a lesson on homosexuality. Referring to the inhabitants of Sodom: “Today those same kind of people are back, but now they call each other The gays!”With a reference to Genesis 13:13.

Sorry, little girl, read the story. The “sin of Sodom” was rape. Yes, that’s a bad thing, but it’s bad whether it’s gay or straight.

The little girl then said: “But God always says being gay is an abomination! with a reference to Leviticus 18:22, but she must “never read a verse from the Bible”. Read more widely, and it is clear that Leviticus 18-20 is full of ritual abominations. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seeds and do not wear clothes woven from two kinds of materials (Leviticus 19:19); do not cut your hair (19:28); don’t use fortune tellers (19:31) (and kill them, by the way, it’s in 20:27); the death penalty is the punishment for cursing one’s father or mother (20: 9); and don’t forget your kosher food laws (20:25).

Today we ignore these ritual abominations. You can’t go back to grab one you like.

6. It is only through Jesus that sins can be forgiven

A gang murder gone wrong is the story of “Gomez is coming. “In the enthralling conclusion we are told, ‘Only he who was without sin could pay the price for our sins’ (1 Peter 3:18).

Not really. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said to his disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Restrictive means prohibit and lose the means to allow, both by an indisputable authority. The parallel verse in John 20:23 is: “If you forgive someone’s sins, his sins are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven. Apparently, forgiving sins is not that big of a deal.

If Christians today say that the Great Commission does not apply only to the original disciples of Jesus, but also applies to Christians today (it’s not), maybe they are bold enough to tell us that they can forgive sins too.

7. The ten commandments

It’s the law”Quotes Exodus 20 and 34 in its references to the Ten Commandments. Oops, this is where being honest about the context bites them. Exodus 20 lists the original set of the Ten Commandments. But remember that Moses broke them in anger and went up to retrieve another one, which was placed in the Ark of the Covenant. The second set is listed in Exodus 34, and it’s a very different set.

Let’s rephrase the advice we started with: never quote a Bible verse to convey God’s position on an issue unless you are certain that it is unambiguous what the entire Bible says about it.

See also: Overwhelming retreat of Christians in the “difficult verses”

Anyone who actually does everything the Bible commands
would be a criminal in every country on this planet.

– Aron Ra


(This is an update to an article that originally appeared on 8/24/16.)

Image by Kamil Porembiński (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)


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