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.

193
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.

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Stephanie Tango

The pandemic has been in our world for more than half of 2020 and people are still acting stupid. If anything, they're getting stupider. They think that the virus is gone. It's not. Stop going to frat parties. Stop trying to go places without a mask. I wish things were normal, too. They're not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Kai Parlett

In the summer of 2017, 20 type 1 diabetics completed a 10-week 4,000+ mile bike ride from New York to California. They biked against the advice of doctors, family, and friends. Many were skeptical that people with diabetes could complete such a physically challenging trip without putting themselves in danger due to their disease.

Keep Reading... Show less

That's right, you heard that correctly: Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after the couple originally announced their engagement in July after beginning to date in March.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Demi Lovato's Called-Off Engagement Reminds Us Of The Importance Of Taking Our Time In Relationships

While this may be another hardship she sadly has to endure, I know she will find a way to inspire and help others through it.

5367

I am heartbroken.

Keep Reading... Show less

We all love a good ol' sappy Christmas movie and this year, the Hallmark Channel is finally giving us what we want: diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Seasonal Depression Is Real And It Deserves Our Attention

Check in on your friends throughout the winter season, it can be brutal.

299

As we transition seasons and enter the last few months of the year, some are feeling grand about this natural shift. But that doesn't mean everyone is thrilled that the weather is cooling down — it's important to extend your knowledge to the phenomenon that is seasonal depression.

The lack of sunlight during the later seasons of the year, beginning with autumn, triggers a state of depression for about 15% of the population. This results in the lack of serotonin provided by the sun, causing it to be hard for some to do a lot of the things that would normally be deemed simple tasks to do during the earlier times in the year like getting out of bed, showering, going to work/school, etc. A major difference is an intense need for sleep similar to a hibernation effect.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

September Is Suicide Awareness Month, But Mental H​ealth Is An Everyday Discussion

Mental illnesses deserve our attention 365 days a year.

1026

September is Suicide Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness, further educate yourself, and remember the reality that mental illnesses present. Yet it's critical to understand that suicide awareness is not an annual Instagram hashtag to use and forget. Actively advocating for mental health resources, progress in education, and a broken stigma is an everyday ask — an activity that we can each participate in.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments