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god is evil
in Religion

By awaketowhereawaketowhere 30 Pts edited June 2017

Here are a few verses in the bible where god states that he is “evil”. So why do christians not take their god at his word that he IS in fact “evil”? It certainly would solve a lot of problems. 
There are also a few verses where god's buddies say he's evil. So once again, why don't christians take these characters at their word who certainly know one heck-av-a-lot better than they do? 

Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." 

2 Samuel 12:11-14 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. 13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. (theevilbible.com) [The child dies seven days later.] This has got to be one of the sickest quotes of the Bible.  God himself brings the completely innocent rape victims to the rapist.  What kind of pathetic loser would do something so evil?  And then he kills a child!  This is sick, really sick!

1KI 22: 22-23 “And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” 

2 Chronicles 18:22,”Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.”

Jeremiah 19:3 “And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.” 

Jeremiah 19:15 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.” 

Jeremiah 23:12 “Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.” 

Amos 3:6 “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” 

Deuteronomy 30: 15 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;" 

2 Kings 22:16 "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:" 

2 Kings 22:20 "Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. 

JU 9:23 “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:”

aarongSilverishGoldNovawith_all_humility
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  • PowerPikachu21PowerPikachu21 207 Pts
    edited June 2017
    Why is the word "evil" in quotations? Do you personally believe God to be evil? Do you believe the term 'evil' is subjective? I haven't read the entire bible, nor am I planning on doing so, but I believe God is kinder than Anti-Theists might believe. [PS I'm an Atheist]
  • SuperSith89SuperSith89 138 Pts
    edited June 2017
    You changed the first verse.  It is supposed to be "I bring prosperity and create disaster."  Be careful with what version of the Bible you use and keep in mind that even then there are mistranslations.  

    This is the full chapter here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2 Samuel 12.  Keep in mind, this is Nathan talking to David who had been sent by God to tell him his wrongs.  David had taken Bathseba and killed her husband.  This was the punishment for that.  Discipline, not evil.  I know that word is the same as evil these days, but take this for example.  There is a video of a momma seal pushing her baby into the water.  It screamed bloody murder and hopped on land again.  Us humans, if it was our child, would comfort them, give them candy, and set them in front of the tv.  But no, the seal pushed it back in many times.  Most would say, how evil!  Abuse!  No, that seals knew that if that baby never learned to swim, it would die.  It had to let it learn the hard way, and David did the same.  

    Again, the full chapter is here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Kings 22.  A spirit did this and not God.  You can't pick and choose what you think a verse says.  

    This next verse is exactly the same as the one above, same answer.  

    The true word is again disaster.  Be careful with translations.  I am using the NIV, a very good version of the Bible.  Not sure where you got these from.  

    Wrong word again.  Disaster is the actual translation.  

    Again, disaster is the word.  Not evil.  Disaster and evil are totally different things.  God cannot be evil, but does bring disaster as punishment and discipline.  

    Disaster, not evil.  

    This is actually destruction.  Not much different  from disaster, but you never know.  Maybe it got mixed in translation since they are extremely similar.  

    Next two also are not the word evil.  Also, same chapter as before for 2 Kings.  

    That word is in fact animosity.  Different from evil.  

    So none of these actually had the word evil in them at all, and many of these were out of context.  So these are a few verses anyways, what about the verses of God being good?

    Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever"

    Paslm 145:9 "The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made"

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  
    http://www.allaboutgod.com/gods-goodness-faq.htm

    No seriously, what version are you using?
    ethang5
  • @SuperSith89 Oh no. Sorry. I didn't change anything. Would you like to try again? And this time use a little lemon squeeze K barf-o-matic? Just because you use an abomination for a translation, that's not my problem, that's yours. See that's precisely why no god, none would EVER use text as a form of communication so everybody could get it wrong. And with no updates in at least 2,000 years, you have no idea what you are reading. None. Neither does anyone else. So since you are reading a monstrosity as a translation, the rest of your conversation, is null and void. Contact me when you get it right, have evidence, and can actually believe what your god says is true that he is "evil". Oh and btw, that's just for starters. So what do you think about your god and slavery, do you think that slavery is evil and or morally correct? Y____? N____? Do you believe that gays should be stoned to death? Y____? N____? Do you believe that your god's deliberate genocides were justified which included murdering children and babies? Y____? N____? Do you believe that those who do not believe in god should be stoned to death? Y____? N____? 
    ethang5
  • .....seriously?  I refuse to continue with this if that's all your going to do.  You didn't answer my questions, you just threw out what I had to say, AND you expect me to refute your claims without using the Bible although you are using some false bible as your source.  Makes sense.  

    Also, what is so bad about God using text?  It's the backbone of our society!!!!  School is based off of text, our history is in texts, every single religion in the world has text, and science is almost all text.  What other way do you want Him to give us instructions on how to live a righteous life?  Just put it in our heads, the least safe place because of all the corruption of sin.  People still would say that is a bad way too.  Want Him to pop up in front of you?  Well I'd like to see macroevolution take place too, but even though you can't see that either it doesn't matter.  It's completely true there, yea suuuuure.
    EvidenceJamahoowith_all_humility
  • SuperSith89SuperSith89 138 Pts
    edited June 2017
  • ImbsterImbster 114 Pts
    edited June 2017
    @awaketowhere
    Ah a possible dystheist here.
    With the Biblical texts you present, I would agree.

    @SuperSith89
    try refuting 2 Samuel 12:11-14 
    11 
    Look, whether the translations are correct or incorrect, theists read it everyone reads it and most importantly as preachers claim, the people responsible for making a Bible(version) are under the guidance of God. If God guides them to speak or write in such way, why should a theist go against writing? Is it because God is depicted as evil? Look at other religions. Salute to them who STILL praise their god/s even if scriptures tell them they're evil. They still acknowledge that god.

    And also it's clearly seen in the old testament God is not the loving father we have all heard. He's a creative God that loves to play with his sims. Who do you think made psalms? God? It's just people and their self interpretation of God based on what happened to them written as songs.
    Paslm 145:9 umm Flood, Desert, the philistines( he just looked at David take 200 foreskins forcefully, human rights?). Maybe it should've been translated to "he HAD compassion on all that he has made". I don't think it's compassion with all the words he blurted out on the old testament. He's biased in sharing his bucket of compassion with a race of people and won't even care about brainwashing the pharaoh himself so pharaoh turns christian. The New Testament is much better.

    God made us in his image and likeness. THEREFORE, he is capable of evil and has every right to do so like his creation. Like God who hath done all these, Man also hath or will. Satan made evil? Satan tempts us? Well let's go back to Job and learn that Satan can do NOTHING without God's permission.

    @SuperSith89
    Do you believe only one unity of people believing in Christianity should go to heaven?

     It's already official doctrine that salvation is through John 3:16 not the good deeds bad deeds santa clause story. Therefore a priest child molester that always believed Jesus' death and resurrection, had his 'confession' and he repented so hard equal to how he treated the kid, goes to heaven. I wouldn't wish to enter a filthy heaven with major sinners but major believers. I'd rather enter hell where some people are atheist but haven't sinned/ have least sinned, people of different religion who were very religious but believed in the wrong one.
  • @Imbster ;@awaketowhere Well I know a lost cause when I see one.  Even Jesus knew when to stop because of peoples' disbelief.  
  • @awaketowhere
    Yo man chill. It's a debate, not an excuse for you to be smug towards people who disagree with you.
    ImbsterWhyTrumpSuperSith89EdrilAlaires
  • ImbsterImbster 114 Pts
    edited June 2017
    Dude @awaketowhere God is both evil and good at the same time not just all malevolent nor all benevolent
  • @Imbster No such thing as being both evil and good in complete and polarizing directions. Look at it this way... You have a maniac who rapes, beats and tortures and chops up 6 five year old girls. There's 0 chance he's good. And if ever caught he's gonna get the chair and rightly so. So why doesn't this god character get the chair for doing far worse? After all this god guy knowingly creates children to be raped, beaten and tortured by their abusers quadrillions of years in advance. Right? That is if god is god. To knowingly create children to suffer through horrific pain and despair is as evil and as hateful as it gets. You cannot get more evil and hate more than that if you wanted to. So why should this god guy be let off the hook when he shouldn't?
    Even better is that evil and hate does not have to exist! Evil and hate is not a need. Its not a necessity its not a requirement. But in god's world it most certainly is. Buddhists, Hindu's, the aborigines, Gaia Mother Earth, and nearly all Native American Indian tribes before the white man sweaty greasy pig christian brethren nearly wiped them out most certainly did NOT nor does NOT practice nor teach evil and hate the ways christians do. Not---even---close. 
    SuperSith89AceTheCosmo
  • edited August 2017
    So this is the obnoxiously aggressive anti-theist pikachu mentioned
    Retired DebateIslander, Former Earth Science Community Moderator, and ex-Flat Earther. 
  • Imbster said:
    Dude @awaketowhere God is both evil and good at the same time not just all malevolent nor all benevolent
    I remember us having a debate where I said that and you disagreed. People can change their opinions, sure, but why the sudden change in opinion? (I am legitimately curious, no hostility intended)
  • The word evil has many different meanings outside of moral evil. The majority of those verses listed can be explained that easily.

    As for the others, some were taken out of context, or have nothing to do with God.
  • @SnakesOfferingApples
    Haha not a sudden change of opinion but he did some things in the bible interpretable  as good and other rather questionable things. Remember the definition of those terms starts with all. All good all evil. Being created in likeness according to catholics, our attributes, his attributes. 
  • If someone creates evil, they are evil.

    God created everything, including evil.

    Therefore God is evil.

    someone234with_all_humility
  • @Edril If someone creates good, they are good.

    God cre-

    oh wait, I think I'm typing bullsh**
    EdrilDrCereal
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • @someone234
    Explain.
  • There are not good people or evil people, everyone is selfish and out for what they see as the best means of pleasure.

    God is as helpless in its fate as are we. You can say he's evil for creating evil but then equally he is good so you create an oxymoron since he also created good.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • EdrilEdril 66 Pts
    edited December 2017

    @someone234

    You don't forgive a murderer who also does good things. Why should we do this for God, the supposedly omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient creator of existence?

  • @Edril yes I do... Don't tell me what I do or don't forgive.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • @someone234

    Sorry, I should have said most people as well as society as a whole.

    I smell a troll..


    If a person regularly tortures people for no reason but also does nice things, most people would call that person an evil person even though he also does good things.

    God not only admittedly has committed atrocities, but he also watches all evil being done, has the power to stop or even prevent it, but decides not to.

    And all that is besides the fact that ultimately, God is literally the root cause of anything that can be called evil.

  • someone234someone234 605 Pts
    edited December 2017
    @Edril wrong. If God is the root of all evil, God is the root of God in your model of judgement.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • EdrilEdril 66 Pts
    edited December 2017

    @someone234

    Most theists believe that God is causa sui (self caused) or that he didn't have a cause....

    so yes, that's what I'm saying.

    If the being you're talking about is contingent, then you're not actually talking about god; you're talking about some lesser being or demi-god.


    There's that troll scent again...

  • someone234someone234 605 Pts
    edited December 2017
    @Edril God is theoretically the only being to operate in the eleventh dimension. You and I (assuming you are of humankind as I am) are both operating on the 3D plane. We easily can interpret manipulating 3d objects but what we physically interpret is actually 2D this is how a flat screen can show you a movie or game and you can feel as if it totally makes sense as a 3D scene.

    The fourth dimension involves travelling physically through time but 4D beings cannot see time or sense it, they can only perceive it in a physical way that you and I can't even if we did invent a time machine, the machine would be 4D but you and I would remain 3D. The tenth dimension is universe level (it can warp every law of physics as if it was kicking a football). This universe is a ten dimensional being while galaxies are none dimensional, the ninth dimension can't sense other ways the laws of physics are being applied outside of their particular set but what they can do is manipulate everything except gravity and laws of physics.

    The eleventh dimension (which string theorists deny is real but m-theorists support) is the dimension in which the only dimension beyond would be total nothing is that can render any law of physics or even any amount of anything void. It surpasses boundaries of any physical kind and is only real due to the links it makes between universes (versions of reality). 

    So, even if god really is an eleventh dimension entity and that entity is somehow as conscious as you and I, it isn't evil, it is merely carrying out its deterministic duty. It could not  help but enable what you label as evil because it has to run all versions of reality and of course many will contain this supposed evil.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • Someone deleted my reply to you.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • @someone234
    Did it violate some site rule? You can inbox me if you want. You'r not capable of offending me.
  • @Edril God is theoretically the only being to operate in the eleventh dimension. You and I (assuming you are of humankind as I am) are both operating on the 3D plane. We easily can interpret manipulating 3d objects but what we physically interpret is actually 2D this is how a flat screen can show you a movie or game and you can feel as if it totally makes sense as a 3D scene.

    The fourth dimension involves travelling physically through time but 4D beings cannot see time or sense it, they can only perceive it in a physical way that you and I can't even if we did invent a time machine, the machine would be 4D but you and I would remain 3D. The tenth dimension is universe level (it can warp every law of physics as if it was kicking a football). This universe is a ten dimensional being while galaxies are none dimensional, the ninth dimension can't sense other ways the laws of physics are being applied outside of their particular set but what they can do is manipulate everything except gravity and laws of physics.

    The eleventh dimension (which string theorists deny is real but m-theorists support) is the dimension in which the only dimension beyond would be total nothing is that can render any law of physics or even any amount of anything void. It surpasses boundaries of any physical kind and is only real due to the links it makes between universes (versions of reality). 

    So, even if god really is an eleventh dimension entity and that entity is somehow as conscious as you and I, it isn't evil, it is merely carrying out its deterministic duty. It could not  help but enable what you label as evil because it has to run all versions of reality and of course many will contain this supposed evil.


    Ignoring the massive burden of proof you just laid on yourself, you still seem to be describing some lesser deity.
    This conversation is about the biblical god, the hypothetical personal entity that is responsible for the deliberate creation of everything that exists.

    THIS being chose to create and sustain evilness. This makes him evil. You have not refuted this point.

  • Edril said:

    If someone creates evil, they are evil.

    God created everything, including evil.

    Therefore God is evil.

    Can you justify your first premise?
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @DrCereal

    Saying that someone is evil is the same as saying they perform evil acts.

    What else could it mean to say that someone is evil?

    DrCereal
  • Edril said:

    @DrCereal

    Saying that someone is evil is the same as saying they perform evil acts.

    What else could it mean to say that someone is evil?

    I was simply getting at your reasoning.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @DrCereal

    Maybe I need to elaborate that first premise.

    Being responsible for a deliberate evil act makes one evil.

    God created everything, including evilness.

    Therefore god is evil.

  • All scriptures about the Divine were written by man who claimed to be divinely inspired. Today in the age of “fake news,” one wonders. 
  • Mike said:
    All scriptures about the Divine were written by man who claimed to be divinely inspired. Today in the age of “fake news,” one wonders. 

    What is it that you wonder; that parts of the bible would have been omitted if today's atmosphere had existed when the bible was compiled, or that things that are happening now would have been added if we were living in the atmosphere of the past?
  • @CYDdharta
    Point being humans are fallible, including those who write scripture.  
  • @PowerPikachu21 @PowerPikachu21

    Actually, it is "evil." Anyone who claims that Isaiah 45:7 spells out "disaster" is using an unfriendly translation to the original Hebrew. But let's get serious here, is G-d really evil, or is it more along the lines of this: I create both good and evil in a means to test you. . . to see if you'll DO good, as your forefathers. Just see Deuteronomy. 
  • God could be a evil entity. It actions and creations may show how violent its character may be.
    Nathaniel_B
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? " ~Epicurus

    "We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes." ~Gene Roddenberry

    "A communist is like a crocodile" ~Winston Churchill
  • pocopoco 87 Pts

    Isaiah 45:7 in the King James Version reads, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” With Isaiah 45:7Ithere are two key facts that need to be considered. (1) The word translated “evil” is from a Hebrew word that means “adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, misery.” Notice how the other major English Bible translations render the word: “disaster” (NIV, HCSB), “calamity” (NKJV, NAS, ESV), and “woe” (NRSV). The Hebrew word can refer to moral evil, and often does have this meaning in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, due to the diversity of possible definitions, it is unwise to assume that “I create evil” in Isaiah 45:7 refers to God bringing moral evil into existence.

    (2) The context of Isaiah makes it clear that something other than “bringing moral evil into existence” is in mind. The context of Isaiah 45:7 is God rewarding Israel for obedience and punishing Israel for disobedience. God pours out salvation and blessings on those whom He favors. God brings judgment on those who continue to rebel against Him. “Woe to him who quarrels with his Master” Isaiah 45:9. That is the person to whom God brings “evil” and “disaster.” So, rather than saying that God created “moral evil,” Isaiah 45:7 is presenting a common theme of Scripture – that God brings disaster on those who continue in hard-hearted rebellion against Him.

    If your other verses are of this nature, I would suggest that you investigate contextual meaning b4 passing judgement on God.

  • Is the argument that god exists and is evil or that god does not exist?
  • edited August 9
    @Edril

    Can you give evidence for your conclusion, or is this purely an opinion? 
  • @awaketowhere ;

    For those who like to use Isa 45.7 as a prooftext that God creates/created evil.  You need to do a little more research than just cherry-pick a verse out of the King James Version (KJV) The word in the original Hebrew meant calamity or natural disaster. Here are other versions of the Bible and their interpretation and use of the word ra from the original language.

    (CSB)  I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I am the LORD, who does all these things.

    (ERV)  I made the light and the darkness. I bring peace, and I cause trouble. I, the LORD, do all these things.

    (ESV)  I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.

    (ESV+)  I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and R1 create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.

    (HCSB)  I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, Yahweh, do all these things.

    (KJV)  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    (NASB)  The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

    (NIrV)  I cause light to shine. I also create darkness. I bring good times. I also create hard times. I do all of those things. I am the LORD.

    (NIV)  I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

    (NKJV)  I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'

    So just from reading other translations, we can see the word being claimed as creating "Evil" does not literally mean evil, but don't take my word for it.  We can evaluate the original word. 



    Here is a word tree from a Bible sense lexicon (notice evil is by no means even a root word for the Hebrew word ra



    If you want to know where evil comes from just read the book of James, and I'll forewarn you now it is not from God.
  • JoesephJoeseph 209 Pts
    @with_all_humility


    A typical  piece of Christian apologetics and a much used one when the lamentable “out of context “ defence fails .

    A reading of the Bible clearly demonstrates the god of the Bible as the essence of evil , just total up the amount of deaths , infanticides , abortions , commanded by god then factor in his slaughters through jealous rages , pestillance , famine and disease and yet Satan who killed Jobs family with gods approval is the bad guy ???

    What a tremendous PR job by Christians job to paint god as the good guy 

  • There's no apologetics in the application of Isa 45.7, the word that KJV calls evil is not the what is being claimed to be.  I clearly provided evidence to the contrary not my opinion.  It is not rocket science to know and understand that context is very important.  Again I will give you a real-world example and not my opinion to illustrate the point.

    Recently the NY Times has higher Sarah Jeong who has tweeted racist comments like..."White people are only fit to live underground like groveling goblins. They have stopped breeding and will all go extinct soon. I enjoy being cruel to old white men."

    Proponents of Jeong say that her tweets had been taken out of context and that she was simply defending herself for trolls on twitter. So which is it was Sarah Jeong racist or in defense of herself?  An evaluation of the context of her tweets would and will reveal the truth of she was only defending herself or if she was racist.  Correct?

    As for the Bible, the study of verses in context is critical, here are some reasons why.  A person can miss vital clues, present the wrong message, make extreme doctrines, or inject our own bias into the teachings of the Lord.  Below is an article in greater detail that emphasizes the point. 


    Vital Clues Missed

    Context is vital to our understanding of God’s revealed truth. Although the meaning of the individual words is essential (see “Meaningful Words,” Answers, April–June 2013, page 80), we cannot stop there in our search for the meaning of God’s Word. We must understand how the surrounding text influences the words used.
    Here is an illustration of the importance of immediate context. The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew. Written Hebrew did not use vowels but only consonants. Later Jewish scholars added vowel points, but the original text has no vowels! If you had only consonants to work within English, what would the word “hr” be? It could be hair, hear, her, hour, or here. Without the surrounding context, you couldn’t know which word was intended. Most of us don’t read the Bible in Hebrew, but you get the point. As people interpret and translate the Bible from the Hebrew for us to understand, they must allow context to guide them. 

    We apply this principle all the time, even in English. Some words sound alike or are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, if I say, “I cannot bear another day” or if I say, “The bear was after me,” you know by the context which word I mean.

    The Wrong Message

    Some time ago a local newspaper printed a picture of the beautiful Grand Teton Mountains with the headline, “I look to the hills from whence comes my strength!” This verse comes from a psalm of David. But what a misuse of that verse!

    The text says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1–2). In context, the verse gives an entirely different meaning than the newspaper headline.

    When we quote Scripture out of context, we can entirely miss the truth or, as our local newspaper did, assert the opposite! 

    When Paul says in Romans 9:3, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,” is he saying that he could actually expect God to trade his eternal inheritance for the souls of lost Jews? Of course not! We realize Paul was showing us the depth of love he had for his countrymen. The theology of the New Testament and the context of Romans 10:1 show that Paul is stating his heart’s desire, not an actual possibility. 

    Absurd Extremes

    Often people take one phrase or verse and run with it to an absurd extreme. For example, 1 John 3:9 states, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (ESV). Some Christians may claim this verse means they never sin! But the context includes the statement, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Which verse are we to believe? The key concept here is “practicing sin.” When we follow the desires of our old flesh, we sin—that is fact. But when we are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us, we will not continually practice sin. He says this clearly also in 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth [emphasis added].” 

    Careful Study

    Sometimes we can destroy the meaning of a text by an incomplete study of the context or by imposing our ideas on it. A great example is Paul’s instruction, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Some argue that verse 21, “submitting to one another in the fear of God,” mitigates or voids the instruction for a wife to submit to her husband. But closer inspection shows that verse 21 is speaking of submission within the body of Christ as brothers and sisters; verse 22 speaks of the husband-and-wife relationship in the home. 

    How can we be sure we are interpreting Scripture accurately in context? First, identify the theme of the passage. Then look for illustrations in the context that help make the teaching clear. Search the passage for other similar or contrasting words to help understand God’s point.

    The Bible is the Word of a perfect God who perfectly communicated His inerrant truth. But we must fight our tendency toward error and work to understand that truth. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). [1]


    [1] Context is King, Biblical Authority, Don Landis. https://answersingenesis.org/hermeneutics/context-is-king/ ;
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