OFTEN MISQUOTED BIBLE VERSES
by Jim Kaness
Discussed below are some verses from the Bible that frequently make their way into movies and talk shows in a form that suggests the speaker last looked at a Bible when it was used to swear in a crooked politician.
HUSBANDS AND WIVES
We often hear "The wife is supposed to submit to her husband" thrown out as an excuse by those men who believe that "she's my woman and I can do what I want with her". If those men could only read and learn to tell the truth they would know what the Bible really says.
Yes, in Ephesians 5:22 it does say, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord", but the men who love to quote that verse are usually silent about Ephesians 5:25 where it says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...". In Ephesians 5:33 it is all summed up as "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Colossians 3:18-19 and 1 Peter 3:1-5 echo what is said in Ephesians 5:22-33. Leadership, not dictatorship, is indicated here.
THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
Jesus said in his 'Sermon on the Mount' given in Matthew 5:5 that "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." which echos the words in Psalm 37:11. The popular definition of the word 'meek' is weak or timid. That is incorrect.
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word 'meek' as 'enduring injury with patience and without resentment'. The synonyms include 'humble' and 'modest'. The antonyms include 'arrogant' and 'conceited'.
A meek person is not afraid or incapable of retaliating, but has their pride under control and chooses to meet life's problems with patience and humility and humor. A meek person tries to meet life's problems peaceably.
Jesus sets the example for us regarding being meek. On many occasions he talked his way out of tricks and accusations. Matthew 12:22-37 is only one example of this. One of the strongest actions recorded about Jesus is when he kicked over the tables of the money changers and dove merchants in the Temple. [Matthew 21:12-13, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-16]. The issue was not exchanging money or selling doves to the devout pilgrims who travelled long distances to worship there, but the merchants in the Temple knew they had a monopoly and were cheating the devout with high fees and prices, making the Temple a "den of thieves".
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER
In Exodus 20:12 we find the commandment, "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." The word "honor" is defined in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary as "To revere, to respect, to treat with deference and submission". Honoring someone is very different from obeying that someone. Obedience may be commanded by someone in authority over us. Like love and respect, honor can not be commanded; it can only be freely given by the giver. We do not honor our parents by obeying them against our will, afraid of some threat or retaliation ("Do what your father says, or you'll be sorry!").
We honor our parents by accepting and believing that they have our best interest at heart and choosing to pay close attention to what they tell us, placing high value on their experience, advice, and love. And, yes, there are some parents who may not be worthy of our honor. Parents are not perfect, but they are more likely than anyone else to want what is best for us. That is why this commandment includes the promise or reward of living a long life and retaining our inheritance.
I was raised in Christian circles where a Christian was often defined as one who did NOT drink, smoke, dance and attend motion picture shows. Those same Christians could be found cheating on their wives and husbands, and cheating on their customers and business associates, but that was harder to detect and easily went unnoticed by their fellow church members who were too busy making sure they themselves did not get caught when they drank, smoked, danced, and sat up in the balcony at a motion picture show.
There are many good Bible verses that define how a Christian should conduct himself or herself. The “Gold Standard” for this is found in Matthew 22:34-40 which simply says we should love God with all we can muster (choosing and obeying God as our personal lord and master), and we should love others as much as we love ourselves (giving to others the same level of concern and consideration, fairness and honesty, as we give to ourselves).
A less familiar passage, but one with some pretty clear and simple advice (probably why it is less familiar), is found in Matthew 15:10-20. In verse 11 Jesus says, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’.”
Jesus’ disciples were folks just like you and me and did not have a clue about what this meant. Jesus patiently went on to explain in verses 16 through 20, “Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' " This is also found in Mark 7:14-23.
For those who would prefer an Old Testament reference for this, I suggest Proverbs chapter 3 and Ezekiel chapter 18 which say pretty much the same thing.
For the record, Jesus is my Lord and Savior. That makes me a "Christian" by the original definition. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am no better than anyone else out there---just tired of being lied to and cheated by some who claim to be Christian.
Today one often hears that "God loves everyone, and therefore God will surely forgive everyone for our disobedience of God's laws". Such a deal! I can murder and rape and help myself to your wife and car and house and God will forgive me! No wonder this lie is so popular!
Sorry to disappoint you, but that is not how the Bible explains it. Yes, God has great love for each one of us - so much love that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty we owe for ignoring and disobeying God. [John 3:16-21] In other words, God loves each of us as individual people, but that does not mean He loves the things each of us might do such as the evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander listed above.
In Psalm 89:20-37 God says this about King David: "If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes...I will punish their sin with the rod...but I will not take my love from him...".
The Bible clearly says God will forgive us if we confess and repent of our sins. If you or I or God forgive someone without that someone first confessing and repenting of their disobedience, then we are just ignoring what they did and accepting it as OK. The requirement for confession and repentence as a pre-condition to forgiveness is repeated throughout the Bible. [Leviticus 5:5-10, 1 Kings 8:46-51, 1 John 1:8-10]
Another popular misquote from the Bible is to say that "Money is the root of all evil", but that lie is not what the Bible says. In 1 Timothy 6:10 we read, "For the love of money is a root of all evil." It is the love of money, not money itself, that is often a problem. A person who loves money will lie, cheat, and steal to get more of it, without regard to who gets hurt in the process. They will put their faith in their money and make money their God instead of putting their faith in the God of Heaven who cares for them. In Hebrews 13:5 we read, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' "
JONAH AND THE WHALE
The debate is still on whether Jonah could have survived three days in the belly of a whale. But that is not what the Bible says. In Jonah 1:17 we read that the Lord provided a large fish to swallow Jonah for three days and three nights. Other translations available to me call it a "great fish", "big fish" or "huge fish" and so on. The type of fish is not given. Was it a whale, a type of shark, or something uniquely created for the occasion? We just do not know. What the Bible does say is that God provided a fish that could do the job of hiding and protecting Jonah for three days and three nights. The National Marine Mammal Laboratory says, "Blue whales are the largest animals to have ever lived on Earth with some individuals reaching lengths of nearly 100 feet (30.5 meters). Yes, they are even larger than dinosaurs!" Today, blue whales are a problem to shipping because they are not afraid of large, modern ships.
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