When Twisted Scripture Wounds

How Twisting Scriptures Can Wound

When I was a new Christian, I was discipled by young believers at a single’s ministry. We were broken people but so eager to learn about God. Because we were an open ministry, anyone could attend our group on any given day. We had single people from all walks of life. One guy I remember distinctly was tall, scraggly looking, and may have been homeless. (He certainly smelled like it.) We lovingly accepted this man, and he began to attend regularly. He knew a bit about the Bible.

But then he started spouting off about conspiracy theories and how people were out to get him. It got weird. One morning, after Bible study was over and we were headed to the main church service, he pulled me aside. We were alone, and I was trying to be nice to him, but I was uncomfortable. He began spewing hate about certain kinds of people, and I gently corrected him. I thought I would be heard as loving him with the truth, but he didn’t want to hear it. Instead, he yelled this at me: “YOU ARE LUKEWARM! God is going to SPIT YOU OUT OF HIS MOUTH!” And he stormed away. He didn’t return to the study.

I was visibly shaken. I found a friend, broke down, and cried. My friend prayed with me.

Then the doubts about myself began circulating in my mind: What did this guy mean? Was I lukewarm? Did I not love God with all my heart? My friend reassured me that he was taking scripture out of context to hurt me. I’ve never forgotten the unholy power of that moment—how Bible verses, when used to twist their true meaning, can wound a person deeply with God’s own words, which are never meant to harm.

That is why it is crucial for Christians to know Bible verses in their context, and this includes cultural context as well. Two important questions the reader should always ask when studying the Bible are:

  1. What did the author intend?
  2. What was the cultural context in which it was written?

There are timeless truths in the Bible that don’t require extensive knowledge of the author’s intent or ancient culture. For example, in Mark 12:30-31:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

It’s straightforward and anyone can grasp this meaning. But other verses aren’t so simple, like this passage in 1 Corinthians 11:5-10: 

But every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man…

Wait…what? If we read this verse literally, then today all women should be wearing a head covering (some people in religions such as Islam do this). But most Christian women I see in churches today don’t have a head covering on, so what are we to do? And what does this mean that women are the glory of man? (That is for another article!)

This is why we must understand the cultural practices of the time, and specifically in the city of Corinth. And therefore, reading the Bible is not always as simple as we make it out to be. We must study diligently. We need good Bible teachers and access to good commentaries. There are a lot of resources online, such as Bible Gateway and Bible Study Tools. There are great book commentaries, too, for those who want to add to their library. 

The bottom line is this: God’s Word is meant to correct, convict, direct, and educate us on who God is, what we are to do in response to that knowledge, and how we are to grow in Christ-likeness. It is not God’s intention to condemn anyone with His Word. There is a big difference between being convicted for our sin and feeling condemnation. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

It’s important to recognize when you are feeling convicted versus condemned. Condemnation is complete disapproval or even punishment. Jesus nailed all of that on the cross. 

But we can feel convicted of sin, which should, in turn, produce repentance, where we lean into Christ’s redeeming power of transformation through the Holy Spirit. The goal is to become more like Him. God prunes the things in our life that don’t produce any fruit for His kingdom. This is a good thing. And that is what the Word of God should do in our lives.


Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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