Not enough people are abusing scripture these days. It seems everyone is struggling to rip verses out of context and apply them to suit their own purposes. If you’ve been struggling with that too, here are 10 great ways you can abuse scripture this year.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heartPsalm 37:4
Always a favourite with the health and wealth crowd, this verse allows you to claim that you love the Lord whilst indulging whatever sinful desire you have set your heart upon. This is a good one because you can literally claim that your desire for anything at all is something given to you from the Lord because you love him so much, obvs.
Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19
Another cracker for all those times you want the Lord to sanctify whatever decision you have already made or thing you have set your heart upon. The problem with this one is that you need someone else to agree with you but – in a ‘if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ kind of deal – you can surely find someone to agree with you, so long as you’re willing to agree with them whenever they want random stuff too.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Of course, this was originally written to the surviving Israelites in the midst of exile in Babylon. But, if we don’t concern ourselves with that minor detail, we can assure ourselves that nothing bad will ever happen to us.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
All things folks. You name it, you can do it. It’s a shame none of the apostles – not least Paul – thought of this while they were being beaten, flogged, imprisoned, stoned and the rest. Could have saved a lot of hassle if they used it like we will.
Judge not, that you be not judged Matthew 7:1
That’s a clear no-go on any kind of judging. I don’t want to hear a Christian utter the phrase, ‘I think that might be sinful’ or ‘I think that behaviour is wrong’ because Jesus is clear about judging stuff here. Jesus didn’t tell us to obey his commandments so you could expect those that love him to actually follow them. Listen to the man!
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20
This is good for lots of things. You can stop people praying on their own by insisting Jesus isn’t there when they do; you can insist you have a functioning church any time you bump into your Christian mate in the supermarket; you can insist your church is functional even though there aren’t enough of you to lead, preach and still have someone in the congegation to listen. This is the classic that just keeps on giving.
I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:3
This is a helpful one. Quite clearly we can be sure anybody who says, ‘Jesus is Lord’ is definitely a Christian. This is even more helpful when we use it in conjunction with 1 John 4:7-12 (making sure to skip vv9-10, of course). Chuck in Matthew 7:1 and we have a powerful case for never being able to think someone who says they’re a Christian isn’t. This is especially helpful if you’re very keen to grow your church membership without worrying about whether people actually know the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. James 5:15
If you’re sick, it’s your fault. If you had more faith, any faith, you’d definitely be alright. You’ve obviously got sin in your life that you’re not dealing with. If you can’t be bothered to comfort those who are sick, you can blame it on the person suffering and refuse to visit until they exercise the faith to be made well at which point they will be well and don’t need a visit. It’s a real time-saver this one.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31
Hopefully you won’t carry on reading until Genesis 3. If you shut your Bible right now, you can claim that everything God makes is good and – as he made you – you must be very good too, just as you are, no change necessary. Pelagius basically made the same argument and it worked out great! Not for Pelagius, obviously. But his argument is now a key one for those who call themselves “affirming.” Yes, he was condemned as a heretic but his views now form the entire argument of one vocal wing of the church, so that has to be a net win for Pelagianism.
And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9
What an awesome promise. Pop that one into your journal and claim that bad boy! Don’t bother reading the preceding verse, it’ll only ruin it for you.