Selected scriptures are often commonly parroted by well meaning and also some not so well meaning Christians in America that are simply misapplications of God’s word. I will point out a few here but if you are a serious student of the scriptures others may come to your mind so feel free to share them here. I hope if nothing else this post will get people to look at the full context of a passage in the light of all of God’s word so they will not use selected misapplications as spiritual applications for today. Here are five examples of commonly used misapplications of selected scripture passages.
Who has not heard this misapplications of scripture scripture used claiming that God will heal America if Christians in America would just humble themselves and pray.
2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Sounds great, but the passage was not given to Christians. In context that passage applies to Israel. You really have to rip it out of context to apply it to Christians living in Gentile nations. Try selling the common American application of this scripture to Christians that are being persecuted in North Korea, Iran, Burma, Sudan etc., or try telling Christians in Haiti, Cuba etc., that God will heal their land, if they the Christians, turn from “their wicked ways”. I think they would rightly take that suggestion as a insult. Yet, many in America want to claim that obeying this scripture will heal our land.
God never promised Christians lands at all. We are a spiritual people and our home is in heaven. If a nation is wicked the few Christians dwelling in it will not save a evil nation. There is no instruction for Christians in the Bible telling them to intercede for nations that do evil. Our mission on earth is more like that of Jonah to the Nineveh’s of the world. When God spared Nineveh it was because the whole nation repented not because Jonah repented. If a nation becomes wicked the whole nation must repent of their evil not just God’s spiritual people in the nation that really should not be practicing evil anyway. God knows how to provide for his people in a wicked nation but the land will not be healed if Christian’s repent but the nation continues to live in wickedness.
Here is a favorite misapplication of scripture from the pulpits of America.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
If you read this verse in context of the passage it is clearly talking to national Israel not Christians. Again, try telling Christians in Haiti, Cuba or the Sudan that the way they will receive abundance is by tithing or even tell that to farm labors in the United States and see how it fly’s with them.
What God was telling Israel is that the reason Israel was cursed was because they were not being obedient and thus they were under His curse. The passage is not directed at Christianity. Since when are Christians under God’s curse? Besides, there is not a word about tithing given to the Church in the New Testament. The NT only teaches free will giving. I really have no problem with those who teach that the tithe is a good standard for Christians to try to meet or exceed. Those that freely give will abundantly receive but they will not necessary receive material things on earth. However, to teach tithing as a spiritual law or a requirement for Christians is a misapplication of scripture, it is legalism. Further, Israel had three tithes so just giving one tithe does not make Christians compliant with the tithing scriptures. By the way, those nuts on TV that promise a hundred fold blessing for what you give them are just con artists. There is no such concept in the Bible. Don’t send them a wooden nickle.
This next misapplication of scripture is usually used with good intention but the way most use this passage shows real lack of understanding of the whole prophetic passage and it puts Christians under self condemnation and is sometime used to try to put Christians under legalistic bondage. The misapplication of this passage is often used by teachers that have no real understanding of Bible prophecy.
Mt:25,31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Many use this passage to imply that Christians should do good works but some also imply that Christians that do not do what Jesus said here are in danger of losing their salvation and they could go to hell if they do not do good works to other Christians. But what Jesus said is not talking to Christians at all. The passage is about the sheep and goat judgment at the end of the age after Jesus returns to earth to set up His kingdom in Israel. The brethren are Israelis and more specifically they probably are the 144,000 Israelis that preached in the tribulation and now follow Jesus wherever He goes (rev 14:4). The people Jesus is talking to are the people that lived through the tribulation. They will now either be allowed into the Kingdom on earth that was promised to Israel or they will be cut off from the earth on the basis of how they received the 144,000 that were preaching the gospel of the coming Israeli kingdom during the tribulation.
Jesus is not directing what He said to any Christian in this passage. Christians are saved and are already married to Christ when He returns. For anyone to imply from this passage that Christians will be saved or condemned by their own works toward other Christians is heresy. They are preaching a salvation by works theology whether they realize it or not.
Here is the favorite misapplication of scripture used by Charismatics leaders to justify that anything they say or do should never be criticized.
1Ch 16:22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Ps 105:15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
In both cases God was telling kings in and around the land of Canaan that He gave the land of Canaan to Abraham, Issac and Jacob who were His prophets and that the kings should do them no harm. In context there is simply no way that these passages can be applied to today’s self anointed Charismatic leaders.
Who in America has not heard this misapplication of scripture used?
Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Was Jesus really telling people not to judge between right and wrong? I will let Brannon Howse explain this one to you in How the Most Misquoted Verse in the Bible is Destroying America. Below is his summery from this article. I totally agree.
If Americans don’t start to judge and punish evil instead of accepting all ideas and beliefs as equal, we will become a nation that welcomes same-sex marriage, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, euthanasia, and likely a host of moral aberrations so bizarre they’re still hidden in the darkest reaches of the Internet.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “you know we are not to judge people; even the Bible says ‘judge not lest you be judged’.” Americans had better start getting comfortable with politically in-correct, non-humanistic forms of making intelligent judgments on moral issues because even if we don’t make them, I’m concerned there is Someone very willing to hold our nation accountable for what we allow. And He doesn’t respond well to intimidation, name-calling, flawed logic, or being quoted out of context.
Don Koenig is the founder of ThePropheticYears website. He has been publishing articles on the Internet on Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and Christian worldviews since 1999. You can find well over a thousand articles and thousands of comments written by Don from the homepage of this website.