Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Take a Verse Out of Context

I just subscribed to Joel Osteen's daily e-mailed inspirational messages. Receiving my first message today, I felt inspired to share his message with everyone.

His message is based on Hebrews 10:36 "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

Osteen writes,

We all face challenges, difficulties, and times when things don't go as planned. Have you ever noticed that it's in times of difficulty that we grow and develop? Those times are opportunities to allow God's Word to come alive in your life and see you through to victory. God will use your challenges to stretch you, and enlarge your vision. We encourage you to be faithful during your adversity. Make up your mind to serve God no matter what comes against you, and God will honor you. Hold your head up high knowing that no matter what the situation looks like today, God will reward your faithfulness. Fight the good fight of faith. You are being prepared for promotion. And if you'll simply remain faithful and fight through life, then in due season, God will promote you to new levels of victory and you'll live that abundant life that He has promised you!
So hang in there during tough times and God will reward you and you'll live an abundant life. Tell that to the Apostle Paul. Tell that to the Apostle Peter. Tell that to the Apostle James. All died for their faith and none of them lived in material abundance, the overall theme of Osteen's ministry.

This is what the writer of Hebrews says in context (Hebrews 10:32-39):

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
We can see that the writer was talking about the persecution the Christians were facing and that he promised that if they persevered they would receive what God had promised. What was that? A nice house? A new car? Financial riches? No, upon the return of Jesus Christ, eternal life.

3 Comments:

At September 20, 2006 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Osteen seems to be the champ of twisting the Word out of context. While at home sick from church a few weeks ago, I happened upon an Osteen broadcast. He took the verse from Ephesians about "putting on the breastplate of God", to mean that God doesn't mean for anything bad to ever befall us. Scary stuff.

 
At September 20, 2006 8:34 PM, Blogger Dave Norris said...

Mr Toothpaste smile has no boldness in the word of God. I also subscribe to several emails from many of these false pastors and, believe me, its hard to go though all the nonsense they peddle.

 
At September 21, 2006 12:19 AM, Blogger Whey Lay said...

I just can't seem to read anything by Joel without hearing that pleasant smiley Texas boy voice he uses echoing in my ears.
I've got to go listen to a WHAM! song or something to get rid of it now.

 

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