The Bible. Potentially the most confusing book you’ve ever heard of. So plenty of chances for misused scripture. Or we could look at it as what it actually is….a book inspired by God and written by man to show us who God is. In other words, it’s not a book about us.
The Bible isn’t a map of self discovery. It’s a story to spell out the character of God. Infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign.
When reading the story of God and His character, it’s important to know the context of the part of the story that you are reading. You know that who, what, when, where, kinda stuff. A lot of times, once you figure that out, you no longer want to use a verse as a motivational poster. I can personally say that I trashed a small piece that used to be on my desk because it was definitely not about me. Even if it reminds me of God’s character, it just didn’t sit right with me. Now I’m just trying to keep learning. More about the story of scripture and more about the wonder of God.
*I’m no bible scholar, but I’m learning. And I’ve claimed, said, written, and pinned all these verses as inspiration. But I’m on the know better, do better train so as I learn I want to continue to grow in my knowledge and ability to share.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The “you” in this passage isn’t you or me or even a person. The “you” in this passage is Israel. The whole wandering in the desert for years and years, God was promising a future for Israel.
Does this apply to us? If you look at it through the lens of how this describes God then YES! This continues to show how loving and caring God is. That though there’s suffering, he’s not abandoning them, and reminding them His plan will work….for his glory.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Not a motivational poster. Paul wrote this while in prison. He wasn’t saying that he can win a sporting game or give birth without an epidural. He was saying that through Christ he could have strength (and be content) in all circumstances.
Does this apply to us? YES! We should be content in Christ no matter what we’re going through.
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; know, and it will be opened to you.”
Jesus’ response to the disciples request to learn to pray. Not asking for the winning lottery numbers. In Luke 11, Jesus shares the Lord’s prayer. He’s teaching them how and what to pray for and then tells them to ask and seek.
Does this apply to us? Yes, we can easily learn to pray just how Jesus taught the disciples!
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Just because you’re a believer and follower of Christ this verse doesn’t mean that “good” will be your only outcome. All things work together for God’s glory. There’s a promise of suffering and life not being easy, this one verse doesn’t trump all of the other things.
Does this apply to us? Yes. We just have to look at it through the full context and not pick this one verse out. Remembering the Bible is about God and not us is very important.
“And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Again, not a motivational poster. A father had previously ask for Jesus to save his son from a “spirit that makes him mute”. Once Jesus talks to him, he says “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And this verse is how Jesus responds. Then the father says, “Help my unbelief” and Jesus goes on to heal the boy.
How often do we need God to prove things to us so we believe? I know I’ve said it before. Not that I want to admit it, but you go through those bargaining moments in your head. You want to just ask God to prove/show himself to you, to help your unbelief. We can learn from this dad and son!
I hope this encourages you to dig deeper and continue to learn more about the characteristics of God and the story of the Bible. We must remember context and take that into consideration when we “claim” scripture.
The Bible is a book about God – a book to teach us more about Him. Not a book about us to learn more about ourselves.