They Misinterpret Scriptures Because they do This
Today, much of the Scriptures are either misinterpreted or misapplied. Many Bible-Teachers and preachers misinterpret Scriptures because they misunderstand the writer’s target audience.
These Pauline Epistles were not written to us. We could adopt them. However, we should never twist them to say what was never intended by the author.
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans is a case in point.
However, as we continue this Book of Acts Bible Study and continue his third missionary journey a region brings this to the fore.
“And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot” (Acts 20:13).
So, Paul having left Troas traveled to Assos by land. Maybe he wanted a first-hand-view of the land and its people.
But he boarded the ship at Assos and sailed with his traveling companions to the next port.
“And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene”(Acts 20:14).
Could Knowledge of Region Reduce Misinterpret Scriptures?
So much of the Scriptures, especially the New Testament, is related in one way or another to this region.
For it’s in this vicinity of Chios and Samos that we find Patmos which is that island that John the Divine stayed on.
Also, it is in the nearby region that we would find the Seven Churches of Revelation, (Revelation 1:11). And we have not even begun to talk about those letters of Paul to the different churches of Asia and so on.
These epistles bear the name of the churches Paul wrote them to. For example, his letter to the Ephesians, with Ephesus being one of his stops on this third Missionary Expedition, become the “The Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Ephesians”.
Many Christians and Bible-users should bear this in mind when they are quoting random scripture verses to support their arguments.
It could reduce the incidences of misinterpreted Scriptures.
All the epistles of the New Testament were written by the Apostles of the First Century Church to Christians Assemblies operational at that time.
And without any doubts, Romans, was for the saints in Rome.
Listen as Paul tells us in the introduction of his letter:
One of the Most Misunderstood Scriptures
“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).
His target audiences have always been Believers. Yet, today, many Christian teachers or preachers may extract a verse from any of those letters and apply it to the unsaved or unbeliever person.
One of the most misinterpreted Scriptures and misapplied scripture-verses is the following:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The above quotation is not for unbelievers or unsaved people. Apostle Paul was writing to Believers in Jesus Christ in Rome.
Should we apply it generally to everyone, saints and sinners, that would result in contradiction of Scriptures and misappropriation of the Word of God?
First, the procedure for everyone to receive salvation is fixed and identical.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Common Bible Verses Taken out of Context
So, everyone must believe in His Son to “have everlasting life”. That’s not the end but the start. Believing in Jesus Christ.
Second, we cannot confess that Jesus is the Son of God if we don’t believe in him. And an unsaved person does not own this prerogative. This is the privilege of a Believer in Jesus Christ.
Many are deceived because their teachers cannot differentiate effectively that all Scriptures cannot apply to all. Sometimes they are for Jews and at other times they reference Gentiles.
Similarly, on many occasions, some Scriptures apply to unsaved persons and on other instances, they reference saved persons.
If we are already saved, then this quote applies to us and is true. But the same is not true for the unsaved person.
This letter of Paul was written to an assembly of Christians in Rome. He had not visited them yet; however, through his “Letter to the Romans”, he was preaching and teaching them some essential doctrines.
Nevertheless, many pastors and Bible-Teachers misuse and misquote the Scripture above for various reasons.
Some, out of ignorance and others, to further their personal agendas.
What Saves us From Sin?
Let me illustrate with two points. What saves us from sin? Our salvation comes to us not because we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but because we believe that he is the only begotten Son of God, John 3:16.
Our belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is important but that’s not the thing that saves us.
We are saved by faith through grace. The grace of God.
And for that reason, Romans 10:9 could never be speaking of sinners because if you believed in the Sonship of Jesus and that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved: future tense.
One has to first believe in the sonship of Jesus Christ before moving on to accept that his Father has raised Him from the dead.
In other words, you must have been a Christian. And such was the case with these Romans that Paul wrote this epistle to.
In Scriptures, note at least one thing that happened to people who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believed it, they experienced water baptism.
And they should because the Bible is very clear what you should do after you believe in Jesus Christ.
What Should Happen After Believing in Jesus?
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”.(Mark 16:16)
After the initial disciples believed the gospel they were baptized. Paul, then he was Saul, after he believed on the name of Jesus, he too accepted water baptism.
Finally, Cornelius and his entire household after believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Apostle Peter preached undergo water baptism in the saving name, Jesus.
We are only called by the name Jesus when we accept it in through water baptism.
Secondly, which group of Christians, in the Bible, received salvation by adhering to Romans 10:9? None!
Mainly, because confession and belief by themselves ensure nothing. But Paul was addressing a group of people who were already saved.
They had already believed that Jesus is the Son of God. Believed in his resurrection and confessed him.
What is Christianity Based On?
In this context, confessing the sonship of Christ and believing in the resurrection power of God is at the core of Christianity.
This letter, with this verse, functions only to “exhort” the Brethren to continue in faith to the end.
It wasn’t a move on the part of Paul to motivate them to confess, believe, or to become Christians, for they were Believers already!
People who think that Romans 10:9 saves, fail to comprehend that Paul wrote all his epistles or letters to unique audiences.
Some things we could apply to all but not everything and certainly not spiritual principles. Misapply spiritual matters to the wrong audience and we have problems.
Don’t allow some minister’s myopic view of the Bible to affect your clear view of the true Word of God.
“And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus” (Acts 20:15).
Do This and You Will Never Misinterpret Scriptures
Paul hastened to be a Jerusalem by the Day of Pentecost. What’s the significance of it to him?
“For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.”(Acts 20:16)
It was so significant to Paul to be in Jerusalem on that day that being in Asia was not appealing at all.
However, as he expedites his journey to Jerusalem, he convened a meeting with the “elders of the” Church of Ephesus.
“And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.”(Acts 20:17)
Finally, many Bible Teachers misinterpret Scriptures because they are unaware of the intended audience.
But most importantly, they don’t allow the Scriptures to explicate themselves. Don’t interpret the Word of God. Allow the Holy Bible to explain itself and you will never misinterpret the Scriptures again!