To stand on the Word, one must understand the context in which the Scripture is used. Many people claim a Scripture without fully grasping the intent of the presented Word. To fail to recognize the true meaning of a verse or section of verses is to open the door to potential confusion and the challenging of one’s faith. To pluck a Scripture out of its context and adopt it as part of our faith package is to build our faith on assumptions rather than facts.
Years ago, the prayer of Jabez was publicized as the prayer of fulfillment. (I Chronicles 4:8, 9) Pray that prayer and the benefits that Jabez experienced would be at the threshold of your life. Books were written expounding people to “piggyback” on that prayer and their lives would be changed. Pray that prayer and God would increase their possessions while, at the same time, extending His hand to keep them from evil and anything that would grieve them. All across the country, churches caught the vision of the Jabez prayer and petitioned Heaven with their requests for blessings. To add to the excitement, stories began to abound about people who prayed his prayer and received phenomenal results. The question is why, of the 222 prayers in the Bible, was the prayer of Jabez centered out for adoption? What people thought was that if God could bless Jabez with his request, why couldn’t God bless them; after all, God is not a respecter of persons! The Jabez prayer was a giant shot in the arm of the “prosperity group.” What lengths Christians go to experience materialistic abundance! Too bad the Apostle Paul wasn’t exposed to the humanistic interpretations of the Word, for instead of learning to be content with what he had, (Philippians 4:11) he could have reigned as a chief financial officer at a highly respectable mutual fund organization. He would not have had to make tents on the side, (Acts 18:3) but could have been the owner of the “nomad tent company.” What should be noted is that through Jesus we have already received everything we will ever need to lead an abundant life. So why would we go back to Scriptures under the Law and pray for what we already have!
Another area of Biblical misunderstanding is the Upper Room exchange that Jesus had with His Apostles. Jesus told them that God’s house was filled with many mansions, and that He was going to prepare a place for them. Many take this Scripture as an assurance that everyone has a mansion that is reserved for them. Many funeral messages are based on this discourse. We need to put that exchange in its proper context. James’ and John’s mother had requested a positional role for her sons in Jesus’ futuristic Kingdom. Jesus told her it was not up to Him, but up to God whom special seating would be given to in Heaven. (Matthew 20:23) In the Upper Room, Jesus told His men that they would sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29) Some time before that, He told Peter that the Apostles would sit upon 12 thrones judging Israel. (Matthew 19:28) During the Last Supper, He told them that His departure would have a direct effect on them in the afterlife. He shared with them that in God’s Heavenly domain (house) were places (mansions) where the Apostles would reside. He told them He was going to make ready (prepare) for their eventual arrival. There would be an area (place) where they would be in a position of authority. All I know is that when I leave this life I will be with Jesus, and that’s all that matters. The “housing” arrangement is up to Him.
There are many Scriptures that we have interpreted to benefit our comfort zones. Let the Holy Spirit, instead of our human spirit; show us the intent of the Word.
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