17 Bible Verses Everyone Gets Wrong

Written By Jill Taylor

The Bible isn’t always crystal clear, and there are some verses that just leave you scratching your head. They might have multiple interpretations, but these 17 Bible verses that keep getting misunderstood have regularly been lost in translation.

Judge not, that ye be not judged

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The Bible verse of Matthew 7:1 is often misinterpreted as a complete prohibition on judgment in the Christian faith. Many think it is Jesus telling us not to judge, but in fact, it is more likely to be a caution against hypocritical judgment. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

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Philippians 4:13 explains how we endure hardships through faith as Christ will support our journey. However, it is frequently taken out of context as a guarantee of success in any endeavor. The Gospel Coalition describes it as victory through suffering.

Money is the root of all evil

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This Bible verse is often used as a phrase in the modern world but the beginning of the phrase is often missed out. In Timothy 6:10, the full verse is ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’ which gives entirely new meaning to the phrase we know well.

Spare the rod, spoil the child

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It is commonly misunderstood that this Bible verse advocates physical punishment. Really, it emphasizes the importance of correct discipline and guidance in upbringing. It is a line that shares wisdom on discipline, saying that discipline should be fair, controlled, and done with love.

All things work together for good to them that love God

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Time Magazine says that Romans 8:28 is the most misunderstood verse of all time. The confusing sentence structure opens it up to multiple interpretations but many consider it to be a Biblical version of ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. Its true understanding is that God recruits people to work together for the greater good.

Ask, and it will be given

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This Bible verse causes major controversy in the Christian faith as many assume it means that all prayers will be answered. When prayers go ignored, people lose faith in their religion as they have falsely understood this verse. The verse is taken at its word but overlooks the broader context of God’s will.

The meek shall inherit the Earth

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This verse says that humility and trust in God’s ultimate justice will reward you in Heaven. It means that being humble and avoiding power is the best way to succeed, but many understand this as promoting passivity and that being lazy will get you there.

For many are called but few are chosen

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Matthew 22:14 emphasizes the importance of accepting God’s invitation. Jesus says that many are invited to the Kingdom, but only those who have received Christ into their lives will follow. However, BibleRef says many believe it means that God has predetermined who will enter Heaven.

God helps those who help themselves

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This quote is one that is completely misunderstood as it doesn’t even exist in the Bible. Often thought to come from scripture, it actually originated in Greek mythology and has no connection to Biblical texts. It is a quote that promotes self-reliance over relying exclusively on God.

The Lord works in mysterious ways

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This saying is one often used in modern society and there is reason to believe that it derived from the Bible. Although widely quoted, this phrase is not from scripture. However, it does accurately reflect the unpredictable nature of God and how he guides us through life.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

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Another quote that is often thought to feature in the Bible, this phrase has no religious connections. It is an extremely popular saying that simply emphasizes the importance of hygiene but many interpret it to mean spiritual purity. While it mentions God, it has no connection to God.

Money answereth all things

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In a world where material possessions are highly valued, this verse is seen to promote materialism. However, it does not refer to material possessions at all, it instead highlights the importance of wealth as a handy tool in certain situations. It reflects the true value of money rather than the modern value of money.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

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A commonly used saying in modern society, the phrase from the verse Exodus 21:24 is taken literally. The Cambridge Dictionary definition even says that this quote is about retaliation. Its translation should not be taken literally as it is later said that Jesus forbids retaliation.

God is love

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Sometimes misunderstood as meaning God’s love condones everything, its common interpretation neglects the Bible’s broader teachings on God’s holiness and justice. It means that love is a core value of God’s character, and with every action, he shows us love, even when we can’t see it.

Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them

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Many think that the verse of Matthew 18:20 means that there is a minimum requirement of attendance for God’s presence. However, it doesn’t reflect on the number of people required for worship; it only expresses the importance of communal faith and worship.

Ask for anything in My name

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Christ reassures his followers in John 14:13 and makes a promise that you can ask for anything with the authority that He allows it. Unfortunately, many Christians regularly abuse this verse and take it to mean that they can gain anything under the guise that God is supportive of it.

Jesus as the firstborn of all creation

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Six times in the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the firstborn of God. It is a term that is often met with confusion when scripture teaches us that we are all the Lord’s children. However, the word firstborn actually signifies priority and shows that Jesus inherited leadership from God and is the first rank.

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