When my daughters were in high school and on the volleyball team, they called me from school seeking assistance. “We are making posters to hang around the gym, and want a Bible verse that might apply to volleyball” was their quest. At first I considered a couple of scriptures that spoke to concepts related to athletic competition, even though the verses weren’t originally intended for high school volleyball players. Though I can’t be certain which verses they were, they were likely similar to these wonderful truths:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
But then I decided it would be more fun to first throw out a made-up verse, thinking that we would all have a good laugh about it. I texted something like this to them:
“Spike the sphere over the net and thou may be victorious in the upcoming contest.” (I referenced a non-existent verse in Psalms, for failed comedy purposes only.)
I didn’t hear back from them right away…
Can you guess where this is going? Yes, it blew up in my face. They made a giant “spike the sphere” poster and hung it in the gym. When I later discovered what had happened, I was mortified! I had to tell the girls, which caused tears for their hard work that was all for naught. I also had to call the coach, admit my guilt, apologize, and ask her to immediately remove the poster. Misquoting Scripture not only blew up in my own face, it also caused a lot of collateral damage!
Yes, we laugh about it now. But it’s a lesson learned.
The lesson is this: Pay close attention to what is actually in the Bible, people. You don’t want to fall victim to a “spiritual grenade tossers” do you? And you don’t want to be one yourself, either. To understand what I mean by spiritual grenade tosser, remember the old saying, “close doesn’t count except in horse shoes and hand grenades.” A spiritual grenade tosser is a person who throws out spiritual sounding statements that are close to Bible passages, close enough that people think they are Scripture. But because they are actually contrary to what the Bible says, they have the potential of blowing up and causing damage. Below are a few of these common grenades that come to mind.
God won’t give you more than you can handle
“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Nope, the Bible doesn’t say this. As a matter of fact, it is chock-full of people who were given things way too big for them to handle (on their own): Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Samson, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Paul and the Twelve to name a few. The following is what the Bible actually does promise: …..He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) You really might feel like your burden is too heavy sometimes. When that happens, pray for help. Watch for His provision. Let His strength be perfected in your weakness.
Money is the root of all evil
“Money is the root of all evil.” No, the Bible doesn’t say this either. Several of God’s chosen people had a lot of money or wealth: Abraham, King David, and King Solomon come to mind. It is not a sin to have money; if you think it is, I am happy to take it off your hands. Here is what the Bible actually says: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV) It’s OK to make money, have money, and spend money. Just don’t let it be your master.
God helps those who help themselves
“God helps those who help themselves.” Okay, this one isn’t even a mis-quote from the Bible. It flat out isn’t there, though many think it is. I have heard it said (going from memory here) that roughly 90% of people think this quote comes from the Bible and even 35% of clergy believes it does. The theme throughout the Bible is quite the opposite. Perhaps it is improperly drawn from Philippians 4:13 which I will quote after the last grenade below.
Everything happens for a reason
“Everything happens for a reason.” No, not exactly in the Bible. This one is tricky, and I believe can do damage. I think the implication is that God causes bad things to happen because it fits His purposes. When tragedy strikes we often hear “everything happens for a reason.” Yes it does, and the reason is sometimes that man is sinful and we live in a fallen world. God is not directing people to be tempted with evil; God does not direct sin that causes tragedy. But the Bible does say this: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) While God doesn’t control our actions and rob us of our free will, He can take what was meant for evil and use it for good. We can rest in this truth, which lends comfort in all circumstances, even the really hurtful ones.
You can do anything you set your mind to
“You can do anything you set your mind to.” No you can’t, nor should you in many cases. What the Bible actually says is: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) Hmmm, I would kind of like to be a major league baseball player (the Rangers look like they could use a little help). If I set my mind to it, if I work really hard day and night, can I do it? No, most likely not. God showed me awhile back that I am to teach and invest in lives. Can I do that? Absolutely! I can do that “through Christ” meaning that this is His will for my life. I can do all things that He calls me to do because He also equips me to do them.
Any other “grenades” you can think of? Leave a comment.