If you know me, you know I have a few serious concerns about the Church and a few, much less serious pet peeves. One concern that’s in between those two levels is the Bible-verse-ification of Christianity. Sometimes, the most Bible a person gets in a day or week or month is what they see hanging next to their bathroom mirror or next to the door as they leave.

“For this is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

Jeremiah 29:10-12

Now, don’t get me wrong, let’s not all take down our “this is the day the Lord has made” signs or throw out our “with wings like eagles” t-shirts. We just have to make sure we know why those verses are meaningful in context.

I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty.

Philippians 4:12-14

Looking to the New Testament, Jesus and his apostles often used Scripture in the form of short excerpts to make their points; these references indexed larger passages. They were not simply using four-to-six word sections of Scripture to make a point but were in fact counting on their listeners or readers knowing the passage being referenced, or at the very least being able to use the quote to find it later.

Context is key! When one verse is spoken, the whole text should be known, not only for our good, but the good of the people we are sharing the Good News with.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published October 13, 2021