“A false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully.” Proverbs 21:28
Does it seem like people today are picking Bible verses like apples off a tree to prove their point of view? Many are quoted out of context or misquoted all together.
Of course, using the Bible to justify opinions has long been a temptation. Ever read sermons from the South and the North during the American Civil War? Scribes in the Middle Ages were known to occasionally add verses or amend them. The early church elders argued for decades over which biblical interpretations were heretical and which were Spirit-breathed truth.
However, in spite of our humanness, the Word has remained the measure for our thoughts, actions, and beliefs as followers of Jesus. As a construction worker drops a plumb line down a wall to see if it is straight, a believer can use the Word of God to make sure she is still following the straight and narrow way.
So read the Word of God daily. Let Scripture be your guide for your thoughts, your mold for your beliefs, and the boundary for your behavior. Store Bible passages in your memory. Then, when you hear someone say something that seems a bit off kilter, you can compare their words with the verses you have learned and ingested.
Furthermore, The Holy Spirit is always there to give you the gift of discernment. Just as Paul and Silas knew to silence the soothsaying girl in Philippi (Acts 16), the Holy Spirit can steer you to measure what you hear and think against Scripture, not vice versa. Call upon Him before you speak. Then you can be assured that your witness is true and you will testify successfully.
Dearest Father God, lead us away from the temptation of trying to justify our actions with Scripture verses taken out of context. Let us instead be careful witnesses who lead others to Your Truth, through the guidance of Your Spirit and the examples of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Choose a passage from the Bible to meditate on throughout your day. Place it somewhere noticeable: a sticky note on your fridge, a picture on your computer desktop, etc.. Say the verses out loud and let them sink into your soul. Mull them over when you see them. Ask the Lord what truth He wants you to glean from them. Try it tomorrow too!