4 Popular Bible Verses and What We Missed

Bible verses, design by Adobe SparkCertain Bible verses make the most quoted and popular list in church and Christian circles. But sometimes we miss important truths or gloss over the context of the passage. Or, we memorize a verse without considering the Bible verses before and after.

So I highlight 4 Bible verses in this post and discuss their neighboring Scriptures.

Popular Bible Verses

1) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11.

You see, to know God has plans for our welfare, future, and hope, taps into our longing to be affirmed and loved and cared for.

But Jeremiah pens God’s words in a letter to God’s people in exile. “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place” (verse 10).

Yet, the Lord planned to restore the exiles and bring them back to Jerusalem. And God has restoration plans for us.

#God always brings us back to His Jerusalem, a place of spiritual thriving. #blog Click To Tweet

Now, look at the Scriptures that follow verse 11. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart” (verses 12-13).

Because when we call upon the Lord, seek Him with all our heart, we find welfare and hope for wholeness.*

2) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.

Romans 3:23 and other Bible verses throughout Romans make up the Romans Road, a method for sharing the plan of salvation. Trained in this approach, I committed Romans 3:23 to memory.

Yet while studying Romans years later, the unexpected happened when I read verse 23 and 24 together.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

So notice the conjunction “and” connecting the thoughts in verse 23 to the thoughts in verse 24. Yes, we are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. And we are justified by grace, a gift through the redemption provided in Jesus.


Bible verses, image design by Adobe SparkSinners and justified.

Fall short and given grace.

Under penalty and redeemed.

Since God brings us out of our former sin condition, He is the “justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Highly Quoted Bible Verses

3) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9b NLT.

Oh, how I always loved the mystery of this Bible verse. And hearing God’s people speak of it in awe and wonder—and goose bumps—of the Lord’s hidden secrets to come. Yet, when we look at the passage further, we understand further.

Paul’s teaching here is clear. Wisdom comes from the Spirit and not from the rulers of the age. “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” 1 Corinthians 2:7-8.

Also, to summarize Paul’s words in the verses following verse 9. God revealed this hidden wisdom to us through His Spirit, who searches the depths of God. We received the Spirit from God “that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (verse 12 ESV). Paul concludes, “But we have the mind of Christ” (verse 16b).

So let’s ask God to open our eyes, ears, and mind to what He’s prepared for us…for the Spirit’s wisdom. And, yes, even goose bumps, not in hidden things but in imparted things freely given to us.

4) “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:7b.

Well-meaning Christians encouraged me with this Scripture as a way to resist temptation.

Yet, they left out important context and content in the chapter. First, James warns against wrong passions and friendship with the world.

But these believers also omitted the first part of verse 7,  “Submit yourselves therefore to God” then resist.

Until we submit our passions, desires, and entire being to God, we can’t resist the devil—not in our own strength.

Further still, the following verse holds another key to overcoming the devil. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (verse 8).

Ouch! Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. Still, God speaks His promises full on and holds nothing back.

So when we submit to God and draw near to Him, we send Satan running!

When #God is near, the devil has no choice but to hightail it out of our life. #blog Click To Tweet

Bible verses, Adobe Spark designI love the mental image of the devil hightailing it out of my life!

So go ahead. Close your eyes. And imagine Satan fleeing from you. Now smile and remember how-to make it happen.

What other Bible verses would you add to this list?

© 2017 by Karen Friday, All Rights Reserved

*The 2002 edition of my ESV Bible uses “wholeness” in place of “welfare.” Unless noted, all Scripture is ESV.

Images were taken at Doe River Gorge in TN, design courtesy of Adobe Spark.

Read my blog post, I Will not Apologize for the Bible.

Post part of these link ups:

Donna Reidland/Soul Surviver, Lyli Dunbar/#FaithOnFire, Salt & Light, Crystal Twadell/Fresh Market Friday, Crystal Storms/Heart Encouragement, Meg Gemelli/GRITupAndGoSuzanne Eller/Living Free.

November 2, 2017 at 10:01 am | Uncategorized

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Karen, I love this post. I’m a firm believer in the importance of studying the Scriptures in context. Early in my Christian walk, I attended a church that lifted verses out and used them as proof texts for wrong doctrine. Thanks for pointing out this important truth.

Karen says:

Donna, thank you for commenting and for your words of affirmation. I’m not surprised by your agreement, your posts are always about God’s Word and truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 says to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of God. Blessings!

Beckie says:

Karen, God’s Word is alive and powerful, exposing our hearts and motives which is why it’s so important.
It’s upsetting when the Word is misquoted or used for selfishness. I’m glad you pointed out the importance of studying the Bible to understand when Scripture is being quoted falsely-whether in ignorance or internationally.

Karen says:

Thanks, Beckie. Yes, it is important to carefully study and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth…in context. Instead of trying to make Scripture fit my circumstances or what I want to say to someone or pull out even for a blog post, I want to see Jesus and how I fit into what God says to me in His Word. Blessings!

Brenda says:

Good list, Karen. So often, especially for those of us who’ve been believers since youth, it’s easy to fall back on what we’ve heard than to take time to listen to the Spirit. That’s something I always tried to teach my children…don’t believe what’s being said (even if it’s gospel truth), research for yourself. The Spirit won’t deny a sincere request for wisdom. 🙂 Good post, friend, thanks for sharing. 🙂

Karen says:

Hey Brenda, you are so right! I love how you mentioned listening to the Spirit. I discovered years ago that since one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to reveal truth, to stop before I read and study my Bible, and ask Him to do just that…speak to me and reveal God’s wisdom and insight…not my own. Blessings!

Marcie Bridges says:

I love the verses surrounding Jeremiah 29:11. Several years ago as I was reading this passage I realized how important the context was and began reading more of my favorite verses within the context of their passages. A very important topic. Thank you for highlighting it for us. 🙂

Karen says:

Yes, Marcie. The same thing happened to me several years ago too. And it is so important to look at the surrounding verses and passage in context. I appreciate you commenting. Hugs, friend!

Carl Wright says:

Thank you for sharing this Karen. Such an important reminder, and reading the Scripture in full context is really what God intends. Such a fast paced world, it is so easy just to grab a verse like grabbing a coffee in a drive through. I am as guilty as anyone. God would have us to take some time and listen and allow God to speak through a passage in his Word.

Karen says:

Hey Carl, that’s a good word; grabbing a Bible verse like a cup of coffee. Our culture is so fast-paced, we don’t slow down for anything these days much less to study God’s Word. And God does intend we allow Him to speak to us through the written Word. I appreciate you taking time to comment. Your thoughts encourage me! Let’s study to show ourselves approved! (2 Timothy 2:15)

Carl says:

Thank you for your kind words. You are most welcome. Yes, let’s study to show ourselves approved! 🙂

Meg Gemelli says:

Kudos for some straight up Bible teaching this week! Recently I’ve enjoyed studying the Hebrew and Greek meanings of words, though it’s not the type of blog I write. It gives me such a full sense of what was happening at the time…and certainly a better picture of the attributes of God used in each reference to Him. Thanks Karen 🙂

Karen says:

And that’s really what it’s all about Meg. “… a full sense of what was happening at the time.” I want the whole picture of who God is and what He has to say to us. Thanks for bringing out those truths! It’s about God.

I’ve always wondered about this. Not that all verses are necessarily out of context alone, but are so much richer and more easy to grasp when read together with their neighbors!!!

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