People always misinterpret scripture to fit their own views. Given below are six verses that people misinterpret very often. I have provided the misinterpretation and correct interpretation followed by each verse. Do you know any other instances? Let me know in the comments.
1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
Misinterpretation: This verse permits mix marriages (Marriages between believers and non believers.)
Correct interpretation: The above idea is a wrong interpretation and definitely collides with 2 Corinthians 6:14. Then what does it mean?
First, this verse has nothing to do with the unmarried Christians. The apostle is talking here about couples already married, when one of them becomes a Christian. (Corinth was a Pagan city and there were many who had entered into mix marriages prior to conversion.) Now there was a problem (which is the context). Should a Christian continue to live with his/her unbelieving spouse? Paul is saying if at all possible, they should remain together, unless the unbelieving partner, whether man or woman refuses to remain. Therefore this verse is applicable only to those who became Christians after the marriage.
Secondly, the “sanctification” in this passage only relates to the unbelieving spouse’s standing and status with the local church body; it does not relate to his/her condition concerning salvation. Besides salvation is not hereditary – nor it is automatically passed onto your spouse & children when you get saved.
2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (KJV- Emphasis mine)
Misinterpretation: This verse doesn’t forbid mix-marriages.
Correct interpretation: This verse doesn’t forbid mix marriages in a direct fashion. The principle is reflected in it’s context. Some of the Corinthian believers were nervous about having anything at all to do with the unbelievers. Paul’s writes in this manner to say Christians should never condemn unbelievers but shouldn’t form close attachments (like marriage) with them.
Paul is using an agricultural metaphor when he says “do not be unequally yoked”. The Greek word used in place of “unequally yoked” is heterozugeo? (also used in Deuteronomy 22:10 and Leviticus 19:19) It means “to have fellowship (or even sexual intercourse) with one who is not an equal” – which in turn forbids forming intimate attachments with non-Christians. Therefore this verse forbids mix marriages indirectly.
…Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.”…
False claim: There’s nothing wrong with consuming (actually abusing) alcohol because Jesus promoted it in the first place.
First lets find out who has such lame excuses? These people are not just consumers of alcohol – rather they are abusers of it.
- Drunkards who make themselves at home in the Tavern!!!
- Drunkards wasting their daily/monthly wage only to get drunk!!!
- Cowards who get drunk and beat their wives!!!
- Silly young men who thinks it’s a manly or cool thing to do!!!
- Irresponsible individuals and family men who ignore their families for the sake of alcohol!!!
But Jesus turned water into wine?
Jesus wasn’t promoting alcoholism when he performed this miracle. In Jewish culture the bridegroom is obliged to provide everything needed for the wedding banquet including wine. In this situation they were running short of wine and the bridegroom was about to be humiliated. Thus Jesus saved the bridegroom’s reputation by miraculously turning water into wine.
The Bible never says it’s a sin to consume alcohol. (Ecclesiastes 9:7;Psalm 104:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:23) – but it says that abuse of alcohol is wrong (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12).
However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is usually best for anyone to abstain entirely from drinking alcohol.
…Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd…
False claim: Software/movie/music piracy is legal because Jesus did the same when he multiplied 2 fishes and 5 loaves to feed 5000 people.
1. This is one of the latest misinterpretations. Nonsense!!! This story has nothing to do with illegal file sharing.
2. You violate God’s will by violating the laws regarding intellectual property, (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17).
3. Take my advise and read Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19.
4. Listen to your conscience.
Discipline your child, for there is hope…
Incorrect application: Some parents (some Christian leaders too…) physically, emotionally and verbally abuse their children in the disguise of disciplining.
Correction: The above verse is not a license for physical, emotional and verbal molestation. If you have a problem with my claim, carefully read the phrase that follows immediately. It says,
…but do not set your heart on causing his death…
Disciplining is biblical only when it’s motivated by hope and rooted in love. The moment you do it for wrong reasons (anger, frustration, disagreements with spouse etc.) it becomes abuse.
…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…
Misinterpretation: The more I sin the more God will give me grace because I am a Christian. Once saved always saved.
Correct interpretation: First read Romans 6:1-2. The verse in question is actually talking about the unlimited opportunity available for any sinner through the blood of Jesus Christ (starting from the child who steals a candy bar from a super market to rapists, serial killers, murderers, thieves, prostitutes and you name it…). No sin is too big that God can’t forgive through Jesus. This is why Paul says,
“…grace abounded all the more when sin increased…”
And the line is drawn there. Now imagine, The sinner who becomes a born again Christian deliberately and intentionally continues to sin. Can he expect to be saved by God’s grace? Certainly not!!! To Repent is to, confess sin and turn away from it- not to repeat.