No Verse Walks Alone – Josh Journal
I made a discovery while reading my Bible years ago. No verse, no matter how pungent, succinct, elaborate, deep, or however you want to describe it, walks alone.
But then, what is so special about that statement? After all, the Bible is first divided into the old and new testaments, then books, and chapters, before verses finally.
Why then am I particular about a verse not standing alone?
The Bible is used as a pillar, staff, rod, map, path navigator, decision explainer and justifier, all-purpose and all-terrain vehicle, as well as a thousand other functions.
The Bible is so vast that people will find a verse to justify almost any situation.
Matter of factly, I doubt if there is any situation someone hasn’t successfully backed up with the Bible. From the mundane to the reverent, pious, sacrilegious, regular, irregular, usual, weird, heinous, kind, selfless, selfish, and everything in between.
In my opinion, if your intended action happens to be one of the very few that even twisting a Bible verse can’t justify, you really should be having second thoughts.
Personally, the kind of things I have heard people defend with the Bible, I almost dropped my Bible in shock.
And some Bible verses that I’ve heard quoted, how do I even begin to describe it?
I heard some, and I wanted to clean my ears to be sure I heard right. For some, I needed to ask the person to repeat themselves, again and again, just to be sure a word or two wasn’t missing or out of place.
As recently as a day before writing this, I heard a Bible verse read and had to open my own Bible to be sure this person wasn’t playing a trick on me.
You should understand why I had to do this. I have a preference for the King James Version of the Bible. I’ve read it from cover to cover. Twice. In all my years of going to church, it has been the Bible of choice for my home church.
You can forgive me for thinking I should have an idea of what should and shouldn’t be somewhere in its pages.
How wrong I turned out to be.
The verse quoted sounded too modern to be in the midst of “thou shalt not” and “ye, thus sayest…”
My first reaction was “this man is adding his own verse to the Bible.”
By the time I confirmed it was actually real, my reaction changed to “when did they add this to the Bible?”
Because how could I have never seen or heard that verse in almost thirty years of reading this same version of the Bible?
In most of western civilization, as well as for most regular Christians, quoting from the Bible is as normal as drinking a cup of water.
Off the cuff, without a second thought, to drive a point, to celebrate or commiserate with someone, we’ll quote a Bible verse.
All of these are normal. Even non-Christians have so much of the Bible around them that they end up quoting it as well as a Christian would.
The Bible is now part of pop culture, literature, politics, governance, law, and other aspects of humanity.
What I’m not comfortable with is those that quote the Bible with ulterior motives. Especially when they know better.
In our quest to claim promises, show off our knowledge of the Bible, and win arguments about the Bible, we’ll quote half a Bible verse, one line from a Bible verse, one verse of several, or a verse out of context.
There are 31,102 Bible verses, and I am here to tell you that none of them stands alone.
They are tied to one another. Either the preceding or the following, and in some cases, both.
No verse tells a story, passes a warning, or makes a promise all alone, by itself.
Since I found this out, whenever a preacher, or writer, or debater quotes the Bible, I never stop at reading only the verse or verses they quoted.
I’ll read the verses that come before and after. Next, I’ll situate that verse in the context of those around it.
Finally, I’ll root everything the person is saying not just in the verse they are quoting, but in the verses around them.
This is an easy test to pass, but you’ll be surprised how many people are quoting the scripture out of context. You’ll be shocked how people are nitpicking the Bible to suit them.
Thankfully, no one has a monopoly on the scripture.
We don’t have to understand Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic to understand the scriptures.
The Bible is no longer an exclusive of the ecclesia or clergy. It is not chained to the pulpit and it is not so expensive that you would have to sell an arm and a leg to afford one.
The Bible is so cheap, it is available for free. Resources and study materials are also available abundantly.
It has been translated into almost every language on Earth, and a copy of said language can be downloaded in at least one format for free from the internet.
Most Bible applications on phones and computers have search functions and resources embedded in them that would rival most Bible dictionaries and concordance.
If you don’t know where to start from, I’ll recommend the YouVersion Bible by Life.Church
The truth is that you don’t need either of these Bible apps to exponentially improve your understanding of the Bible.
True enough, they are easy to use and contain vast resources, but there is an easier option.
Whatever Bible you already have in hand is an easier option that I will recommend time and again.
All you need to do is read the verse preceding and following whatever verse you are directed to. If you can read a couple of verses before and after, maybe the full chapter, that would also be helpful.
Just so you know, for a while now, I have taken this policy a step further by reading the last couple of verses of the previous chapter, if I’m being directed to any of the first three verses of a chapter.
I’ll also read the ones in the next chapter if I’m being directed to the last couple of verses for the chapter.
I try as much as possible to read full chapters rather than individual verses. It allows me to get a fuller understanding of what is at hand.
Spending your free time going into previous and next Bible chapters is a pastime that gives you everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Falling into a YouTube rabbit hole is something many of us must have experienced.
Now imagine experiencing that with the Bible. Chapter after chapter, verse after verse, line after line.
Soon enough, you will find that very few of life’s pleasures are comparable to getting lost in the Bible.