What The Most Popular Bible Verses Really Mean
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

What The Most Popular Bible Verses Really Mean

Because Philippians 4:13 is more than just a good Instagram caption.

200
What The Most Popular Bible Verses Really Mean
FaithStreet

There are a handful of Bible verses every knows. They pop up on t-shirts, phone backgrounds, tattoos, high school yearbook senior quotes, Facebook statuses, Instagram captions, and all that jazz. I affectionately refer to them as the "Pinterest verses," because if you search them on Pinterest you can find some pretty cute backgrounds, wall hangings, and other inspiration for living the most basic life possible.

These verses can often be recited by those with little Biblical knowledge and are, in many cases taken out of context and shaped to fit our current situations or to further our agendas (or to get more likes on Instagram photos). Many people are already aware of this, and someone came up with a cheeky cartoon to demonstrate:

I've chosen a four of the most popular verses, and I have done my own research to explain their true context.

Side note: I am not writing this to offend anyone or to tell anyone they're "wrong," but because I feel we are not appreciating these verses as best we could because they've become so cliche.


Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What people think it means: "No matter what I do, even if I decide to skip all my classes even though I want to go to medical school, God's got me."

What it really means: The Book of Jeremiah is in the Old Testament, and is the record of occurrences from 627 BC. The book is intended for the Jews in Babylonian exile. The 29th chapter of Jeremiah is a letter to those who were exiled into Babylon from Jerusalem. 29:11 is a very small part of a deeply moving directive from God to His exiled people. He told them that he would supplicate their needs during their exile, but would not return for 70 years. Jeremiah 29:11 is God's sentence of encouragement to those who had been removed from their homeland that, even though they would be in discomfort for many years, he had not forgotten them.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What people think it means: This is every girl's blueprint for a perfect man. Don't believe me? Check her Pinterest.

What it really means: 1 Corinthians is in the New Testament and is the disciple Paul's first letter to the believers in Corinth. People today tend to pull 13:4-7 out of context because it's a lot more warm and fuzzy that way. Read alone, it's a promise to us of how we should be treated, but to an extent, this is theologically incorrect. If you read 1 Cor 13 as a whole, it should be more convicting than anything, because we are the ones who should be charged to love. I like to periodically insert my own name in place of "love" in these verses (Catie is patient, Catie is kind, etc.), and if I can say these things but not truly believe them, I know I have work to do. Rather than looking for these qualities in others, we should first look for them within ourselves.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

What people think it means: See the above cartoon. People like to twist it so that it means that they can sprout wings and fly, or get into Harvard Law with a 2.4 undergrad GPA if they just have a little faith.

What it really means: Philippians is the letter from Paul and Timothy to the people of Philippi. "I can do all things" is likely nothing more than a bastardization of translation. As written in the New International Version, Paul gave his testimony to the Philippians, saying how he had overcome great struggles (and God knows he had; side note: Paul is my favorite disciple) through the strength he gained from God. Here's the text of the first paragraph of Phil 4:

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well -ed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

See? No skydiving without a parachute and hoping you can fly here.


By spending time truly immersing yourself in the Word rather than using verses you may have picked up on over the years as Instagram captions or trendy phone backgrounds, you can better appreciate the Bible and what it truly means to be a Christian.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

81412

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1565101

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

975759
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

899483
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

585235
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

372912
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

491714

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments