By Deolu Akinyemi
When we take the text out of context, what we are left with is con! Yes, those who use Gods’ word to serve their personal agenda are con men – No matter their ranking, history or hierarchy! Taking a scripture out of context and using it is one of the errors we have inherited from our fathers of faith, we can’t use that as an excuse however. Our generation has Bible’s in high supply, to understand what God is saying sometimes you need to read the entire paragraph, chapter or back it up to the entire book. Beyond the entire book, there is no way you will understand scriptures if you don’t first see Jesus and get the help of the Holy Spirit to reveal him to you. Some claim this was the interpretation the Holy Spirit gave them? Well, Jesus defined the role of the Holy Spirit – He will take from what Jesus has, and declare it to His disciples (John 16:14). You really can’t claim to hear from the Holy Spirit if what you are hearing contradicts Jesus.
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
For years, this was my favorite verse for raising offerings, I didn’t even think about it, I took it as it was handed to me. If you read the verse in context however, you’ll see that it has nothing to do with giving to God. It has nothing to do with giving money! It has nothing to do with giving with the anticipation to receive. This was about being careful how you give judgement and criticism, because what you give will come back to you in good measure from other human beings! I repented, you need to as well!
Mal 3:8-12: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”
I used this verse for years to encourage people to give tithe and to encourage myself to be consistent. This is a text completely taken out of context! First, the only people who can take the tithe into the storehouse are the priests, only they have access to the storehouse (Neh 10:38). The people who were robbing God here were priests! They were robbing God of the part of the tithes that the people reserved for the widows, orphans, foreigners and Levites (Deut. 14). Secondly, the blessing that God was promising the people of Israel here was Christ! This was God’s last message to Israel for 400 years before they will hear again from John the Baptist. To directly take symbols from the Old testament and transpose them into the new without considering their parallels is wrong. To deal with God on a trade by barter basis in the new testament, is to lack understanding of what Christ came to do!
3. Prayer of Agreement
Matt 18:18-20: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again I say[c] to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them”.
This one, I bastardized! I can see the picture already, of a few of us gathering together to conjure God and get him to do things on our behalf. It’s a scripture taken out of context! The topic there was church discipline, what to do when a brother errs. You don’t need anybody to gather before Jesus is with you! You also can’t use this as a basis of not belonging to a family of believers who have a common mission – disciple nations. This scripture is basically saying in order to correct an erring believer, whenever 2 or 3 of you agree on a verdict, Jesus is in alignment.
4. I Can Do All Things
Phil 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Ah, I rocked these scriptures in my early days! It had a magical effect, whatever the challenge, I can do it! Nothing is too difficult for me! This was used totally out of context, and still gets used. Read verses 11 to 12 and you’ll see clearly that the type of everything Paul was talking about was – I can suffer, I can go hungry, I can have plenty.. It doesn’t really matter, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. The author of this letter was in Prison – hungry, tired, cold and alone, yet he had learned that whatever the occasion, he can adapt because he has Christ’s strength available to him. Can you also do all things? Suffer, be denied, endure hardship, lack, plenty and all by His strength?
5. Touch Not My Anointed
Ps 105:15, 1 Chron 16:22: “Saying, touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm”.
I also rocked this one, it was some kind of immunity for holy rollers! Reading it within context however shows it’s a scam! Back up both verses to read the context and you’ll see clearly it’s not talking about any man of God! It’s talking about Israel as a nation. The word touch there is also literal (naga) it means physical touch! This is not an insurance cover for Pastors to get out of line and enjoy the immunity from public criticism and judgement! No! Interestingly according to the Bible in context, we are commanded by God to do the opposite! We are warned about false teachers (Rev 2:2)(Rom 16:17)(Gal 1:6-9)(1 Tim 1:3)(2 Jn 1:10-11) and false prophets (Mt 7:15)(1 Jn 4:1), and told to judge them!
6. Judge Not
Matt 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged”.
This is probably the most popular verse in the Bible! More popular than John 3:16. It’s a scripture the church and people who don’t even understand Christ or is assignment are quick to pull out when someone outrightly condemns what is wrong. We flag it out, the Bible says we should not judge! This is totally out of context of the verse, and very out of context with the overall message of Jesus! Read the verse down to 4, you will see that the reason why you should not judge is because you also have logs you have not dealt with. Jesus is saying, sort yourself out, get rid of your own personal judgement, then you will be able to exercise righteous Judgment. If you read Matt 18:15-20 on church discipline you’ll see that believers are meant to Judge. John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” How on earth can we read the words of Jesus in the Bible and ever conclude that those who represent him will not judge with righteous judgement? Jesus declares he’s the Only way to the father, that brings immediate judgement on all other ways! Jesus himself harshly judged hypocrisy, castigated the Pharisees and religious leaders, over and over again. Our example of non Judgmental easy on sin preachers is certainly not modelled after Christ.