Have you ever heard, “You can prove anything by the Bible”?
How is the Word of God misused?
The Word of God can be perverted by removing a passage from its setting and giving it a meaning never intended by the Holy Spirit. For example, this is done when 1 John 3:9 is used in an attempt to prove that a child of God cannot fall from grace because he cannot sin. This passage actually teaches that the child of God does not continue in the old life of sin he lived prior to his conversion, since the seed (the Word of God, Luke 8:11) abides in his heart.
The Word of God is perverted when a misconstruction is placed on a text. This is done when “rock” in Matthew 16:18 is made to apply to the apostle Peter. “Rock” refers to the great truth Peter confessed, that Christ is the Son of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:11).
The Word of God is perverted when it is changed to suit the times. This is often done in moral issues (divorce, homosexuality, abortion, modesty). God’s Word flows from God’s nature and thus, like God (Malachi 3:6), the Word of God changes not (Luke 21:33). God has given different covenants at different times (Hebrews 8), but the Law of Christ has never changed since it was completed nearly two thousand years ago (Galatians 1:6–9).
The Word of God can be perverted by misusing passages to justify evil practices. For example, this is done when 1 Timothy 5:23 is used to justify social drinking. This text is dealing with using wine as a medicine.
The Word of God is perverted when figures of speech are literalized. For example, some try to argue that the “cup” of Matthew 26:27 is made to refer to the container rather than to the content.
The Word of God is perverted when it is misquoted. In the Porter-Tingley Debate years ago, Glenn V. Tingley took the word “not” out of 1 Peter 3:21 and made the text teach the opposite of what the Lord intended.
Let us all sincerely study the Bible and carefully follow its teachings. —Wendell Winkler