In a moment of weakness* I prayed for my NFL team today (they won). If I’m not careful, next I’ll be quoting Scripture as if it applies to winning a championship or a gold medal.

How many times have we heard, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”? (Phil 4:13 ESV) And it’s only quoted by those who are successful of course. This is similar to the non-Biblical, “you can do whatever you put your mind to” except with the Biblical version God will help you be what you think you should be. One reading through Proverbs (or just James 4:13-15) should rectify that.

To make a point, how about a selective quote of:

Philippians 4:12-13 TNIV
I know what it is to be in need. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, hungry [and] living in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

This applies more to the poor and the weak.

Full quote so as not to misuse Scripture:

Philippians 4:10-13 TNIV
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Another confession: When I was the age of these fine young athletes and devout Christians, I also took verses out by themselves and used their apparent meaning for my own purposes and still do on occasion when I’m not careful.

But I would think it’s better to get Scripture out there than not. Would you agree?

*I’m not doing very well right now. If you could pray for me I’d appreciate it. I’d like the comments to pertain to the post though. I’ll remove this when I come out of it.

9 Responses to “Confession”

  1. 1 John

    Proof texting is my favorite way to misuse scripture. I can cover just about any situation, with any spin I need at the time. That’s why I am very wary when someone make a statement and tags one scripture verse along to show they’re right. Even in a sermon, especially a topical one, I’ll read the whole section rather that the few verses quoted.

  2. 2 Mitchell Powell

    We should also avoid simply writing an assertion and putting a verse in quotes, knowing that because we tag so many verses, nobody’s keeping count anymore and we can get away with saying just about anything (John 7:14).

  3. 3 Scripture Zealot

    Nice humor.

    But you have me thinking. I also believe that everything should be backed up by Scripture (every thought captive? not sure the verse). People may accuse me of “proof texting”, but I will always back things up with Scripture instead of just human logic. Sometimes a verse will do, given we understand what it means to an acceptable degree, but I suppose other times we should be quoting a whole idea/passage.

    The latest sports passage was 1 Peter 5:5-6 after winning. I don’t think “being lifted up” is winning a championship. !

  4. 4 Mitchell Powell

    You may well be right. Or, to put it a bit exaggeratedly:

    Every sentence should be followed by a citation (2 Corinthians 10:5)

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    Yes, I like the citations, but not exaggeratedly. I didn’t know that’s a real word. I used to judge books by whether or not they had Scripture references. Philip Yancey has one that had the references but he basically said, Look them up yourself but I know most of you won’t so I won’t bother putting the text in here.

  6. 6 Mitchell Powell

    You’re quite right. I’m just having fun with the extreme’s of semi-biblical thought. No big deal.

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    Yeah and I thought ‘exaggeratedly’ was a really good made-up word too. Oh well. Thanks for the reference. I didn’t pay attention to it at first.

  8. 8 Mitchell Powell

    Thank you. And thank you for not pointing out that I put a comma in “extremes.”

  9. 9 Scripture Zealot

    I’m surprised I didn’t notice it. I would give you a pass since it’s a comment and not a blog post. I’ve been catching myself with getting your and you’re mixed up and wonder how many of them get through. How embarrassing since it’s so basic.

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