Out of Context

All of my devices share a few common apps, the most important being You Version’s Bible app. I enjoy being able to search the Scriptures quickly and study a verse in several versions to gain more understanding of God’s Word. My phone notifies me every morning with the “verse of the day.” Most days, I am quick to share the verse on social media. Other days, I cannot bring myself to do so, not because I don’t agree or because I feel the words are untrue, but rather because the verse is taken out of context and easily manipulated by others. Today’s verse fell into such a category.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

If someone only applied this verse from this Psalm, they might think the words mean if they proclaim their love to God, they will get whatever they want. Such belief is a lie, one that false teachers use to spread a gospel of prosperity (which you also will not find in Scripture. Taking any single verse out of context leads to false conclusions.

The rest of the story...

The entire Psalm speaks of those who follow God by doing what He says and those that choose to follow their own way, forsaking God’s will. The opening verse is a warning not to worry about evil-doers because their time is limited, followed by advice to trust in the Lord and do good. We cannot live in both darkness and light. This Psalm shows such a contrast, encouraging the faithful to wait on the Lord, without worry. While we wait, we trust, obey, and do good works. 

The sum of its parts

Humans added chapter and verse distinctions for convenience, as a way to make finding a passage and studying easier. While I enjoy this feature, isolating single verses yet never learning the context or applying the whole message makes about as much sense as giving someone flour, sugar, butter, and eggs and calling it cake. The Bible isn’t a mystery, it’s the greatest love story in History, meant to be read, studied, and lived.

The next time you see a “verse of the day,” I challenge you to read deeper, look through New Lenses, and apply the Word in your daily life.

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