One of my favourite things to do is hand letter or paint bible verses. And to do this I often use websites like Pinterest for inspiration, looking at all these lovely one line verses that fit really well on a page. However I have learnt a really important lesson while I have been doing this. Context is so important.
There are so many incredible, hope-building, life changing verses in scripture. But for most of them they are meant to be read in the midst of the verse or chapter or book they are written in. At best a stand alone verse looses some of its power but at worse it can be used to say something completely different from what the writer actually meant. It’s like fake news for the bible.
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s so important to surround yourself with as much scripture as possible. Following Instagram profiles like Girl Got Faith is so good for me because it means that a casual scroll down my feed always includes truth and uplifting thoughts. But if I see a one line verse that grabs my attention, the first thing I do is switch to my Bible app and look it up. That way, I get to see what the whole chapter was about and I can be more blessed by it.
It’s even more important to do it with verses you spot on places like Pinterest, when you don’t know who has written it. Lots of times I’ve come across verses where the words have been changed to fit what the person wants to say instead of what God actually said. Not a good idea.
I have an example of one I see used a lot.
“God is within her, she will not fail”.
I see this used all the time to talk about girls personally. And I understand why, it sounds so good. Except, what about the times when we do fail? I try and fail at things often. Does that mean that God is not within me? Not at all! Let’s look at the verse Psalm 46, I encourage you to go read it, it’s awesome!
It talks about how God is our refuge and our strength, and that there is absolutely nothing to fear even if everything is going wrong. Why? Because he has created a Holy Kingdom (the ‘her’ in the verse) that he is in the middle of and that will never fail. When king David was writing this psalm he was talking about the people of God the Israelites, but now through Jesus that includes us too.
So this verse means a lot more than just one girl, it’s the whole of God’s kingdom. And He is in the midst of all of us and no matter what happens, or what we can or can’t do, it will never fail and one day we will live in that perfect kingdom for eternity.
How awesome is that!?