Six Bible verses wrongly used to justify wrong behavior

People often take a verse or two from the Bible and use them to defend or conceal wrong behavior. There are a countless number of verses used for this purpose. Given below are my top picks and their correct interpretation.

  • 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.

Should a believer marry a non-believer is a very common question asked in the Christian circles and sometimes the above verse is used to say the New Testament allows a believer to marry an unbeliever. It’s wrong.

This verse is found in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Corinth was a pagan city until Paul visited it in A.D 50 and began preaching the good news. His ministry won many converts and together they formed the church in Corinth. The majority of these believers were already married at the point of their conversion to Christianity. However there were some believers whose spouses did not convert and there was a question whether they should continue to share the bed with their unbelieving spouses? Paul is addressing these believers.

Paul is saying if at all possible, they should remain together, unless the unbelieving partner, whether man or woman wants to leave. This teaching is still valid for couples that converted after marriage but it does not permit someone that is single and a believer to marry an unbeliever.

The sanctification process Paul mentions here relates to the unbelieving spouse’s standing and status with the local church body. Not salvation. (Salvation is not hereditary – nor it is automatically passed onto one’s spouse & children when they get saved.)

  • John 2:7-10
    Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did.When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!”

This verse is often used to justify the drunkenness because Jesus did the same by converting water into wine but it’s wrong. The Jewish tradition demanded the bridegroom and his party to provide everything needed for the wedding banquet and that included wine. The banquet itself usually lasted up to one week. In the case of the wedding at Cana the bridegroom’s party feared  ran short of wine before the banquet was over. This would have been embarrassing if the guests found out they were out of wine.  Thus when Jesus turned water into wine he was actually saving the Bridegroom’s honor.

The point is creating a substance that can be abused does not make one responsible when another person foolishly chooses to abuse it. (Jesus did not promote gluttony when he fed the 5000) Creating alcoholic wine was in no sense encouraging drunkenness. Truth be told there are other verses in the Bible that discuss consumption of wine in positive terms, (Ecclesiastes 9:7; Psalm 104:14-15; Amos 9:14) But there are also verses that condemn the abuse of wine, (Ephesians 5:18; Proverbs 23:29-35; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:9)

  • Matthew 14:13-20
    Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, twelve baskets full.

This passage (Repeated in Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:5-15)  is wrongly used to argue that the Bible approves software, film and music piracy. Piracy is a crime is because the rights to those intellectual properties owned by someone. The bread and fish industries did not own the rights to those particular bread and fish that Jesus used. The boy he obtained them from did and he willingly parted with them without a fee.

  • Proverbs 19:18 (NET)
    Discipline your child, for there is hope, but do not set your heart on causing his death.

Sometimes people physically abuse their children and use this verse for their defense. It does not permit any form of abuse let alone physical abuse. In fact the Bible does not approve any evil behavior for that matter. Not that the verse also says but do not set your heart on causing his death meaning parents should not discipline their children for wrong reasons.

  • Romans 5:20 (NET)
    Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more.

This verse is often used to say one can continue to sin even after he becomes a born again Christian, because now he is under grace. This is also wrong and contradicts Romans 6:1-2 and John 15:2; 6. Paul is actually saying that no sin is too big for God to forgive if we repent.

  • 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.

Should a believer marry a non-believer is a very common question asked in the Christian circles and sometimes the above verse is used to say the New Testament allows a believer to marry an unbeliever. It’s wrong.

This verse is found in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Corinth was a pagan city until Paul visited it in A.D 50 and began preaching the good news. His ministry won many converts and together they formed the church in Corinth. The majority of these believers were already married at the point of their conversion to Christianity. However there were some believers whose spouses did not convert and there was a question whether they should continue to share the bed with their unbelieving spouses? Paul is addressing these believers.

Paul is saying if at all possible, they should remain together, unless the unbelieving partner, whether man or woman wants to leave. This teaching is still valid for couples that converted after marriage but it does not permit someone that is single and a believer to marry an unbeliever.

The sanctification process Paul mentions here relates to the unbelieving spouse’s standing and status with the local church body. Not salvation. (Salvation is not hereditary – nor it is automatically passed onto one’s spouse & children when they get saved.)

  • John 2:7-10
    Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did.When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!”

This verse is often used to justify the drunkenness because Jesus did the same by converting water into wine but it’s wrong. The Jewish tradition demanded the bridegroom and his party to provide everything needed for the wedding banquet and that included wine. The banquet itself usually lasted up to one week. In the case of the wedding at Cana the bridegroom’s party feared  ran short of wine before the banquet was over. This would have been embarrassing if the guests found out they were out of wine.  Thus when Jesus turned water into wine he was actually saving the Bridegroom’s honor.

The point is creating a substance that can be abused does not make one responsible when another person foolishly chooses to abuse it. (Jesus did not promote gluttony when he fed the 5000) Creating alcoholic wine was in no sense encouraging drunkenness. Truth be told there are other verses in the Bible that discuss consumption of wine in positive terms, (Ecclesiastes 9:7; Psalm 104:14-15; Amos 9:14) But there are also verses that condemn the abuse of wine, (Ephesians 5:18; Proverbs 23:29-35; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:9)

  • Matthew 14:13-20
    Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, twelve baskets full.

This passage (Repeated in Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:5-15)  is wrongly used to argue that the Bible approves software, film and music piracy. Piracy is a crime is because the rights to those intellectual properties owned by someone. The bread and fish industries did not own the rights to those particular bread and fish that Jesus used. The boy he obtained them from did and he willingly parted with them without a fee.

  • Proverbs 19:18 (NET)
    Discipline your child, for there is hope, but do not set your heart on causing his death.

Sometimes people physically abuse their children and use this verse for their defense. It does not permit any form of abuse let alone physical abuse. In fact the Bible does not approve any evil behavior for that matter. Not that the verse also says but do not set your heart on causing his death meaning parents should not discipline their children for wrong reasons.

  • Romans 5:20 (NET)
    Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more.

This verse is often used to say one can continue to sin even after he becomes a born again Christian, because now he is under grace. This is also wrong and contradicts Romans 6:1-2 and John 15:2; 6. Paul is actually saying that no sin is too big for God to forgive if we repent.

(If this post was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)

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