The 18 Most Misused Verses in the Bible

Krystal Smith

The Bible is a vast text that is often quoted by people of all religious persuasions. However, even well-meaning people can sometimes misinterpret or misquote its verses, causing confusion for some.  We explore 18 commonly misquoted passages from the bible and unpack their true meaning:

“Let No One Deceive You With Empty Words” (Ephesians 5:6) 

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While people quote this passage correctly, it is often misinterpreted as meaning that nobody can be trusted. The quote actually refers to false teachings and empty promises, urging people to be honest about spiritual matters rather than telling people what they want to hear. 

“Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child” (Proverbs 13:24) 

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People often use this quote as justification for hitting a child as they claim it exerts good discipline. However,  “Rod” refers to guidance and correction, not necessarily physical punishment. It emphasizes the importance of discipline in raising children but this can be done in other ways, such as gentle discipline

“Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness” 

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Perhaps as the word”godliness” is used in this quote, some mistake it as being a  biblical saying. The truth is this quote isn’t in The Bible although it is true that it contains talk of  hygiene and ritual practices.

“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”

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This is another mistaken Bible quote, as these exact words are nowhere to be seen.  However, the Bible emphasizes God’s intervention in our lives alongside the importance of self-reliance.

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

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This profound quote is not directly taken from The Bible but from snippets of passages that encourage the forgiveness of sinners. The Bible’s concept of loving the sinner while condemning sin is present when it talks about caring for others despite their flaws,  but not in this exact phrase. 

“Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged”(Matthew 7:1) 

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This passage from Matthew is indeed in The Bible, but it isn’t always understood correctly. While people believe it means we shouldn’t ever make judgments, it focuses on hypocritical judgment, urging us to address our shortcomings before criticizing others.

“Money Is the Root of All Evil” (1 Timothy 6:10)

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People often interpret this biblical quote as meaning that all money is bad, but that is not the case. What Timothy is saying is that becoming too obsessed with money has the potential to lead us astray from core Christian beliefs

“Turn the Other Cheek” (Matthew 5:39) 

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Many interpret this quote as condoning abuse, but The Bible Condone promotes non-violent responses to conflict and forgiveness. This quote calls for people not to respond to violence with violence but to talk things through and forgive one another. 

“There Is No One Good but God”(Mark 10:18)

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The literal interpretation of this quote from Mark is that humans are inherently bad. While this may be true in certain people, The Bible wants us to know that all humans created in God’s image are capable of sin, but that does not mean they are beyond redemption. 

“Blessed Are the Meek, for They Shall Inherit the Earth” (Matthew 5:5)

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This quote is often believed to be talking about weakness as a virtue. In reality, it highlights humility and gentleness, not timidity or passivity. This could be due to a misunderstanding of the word meek, which has developed over the years to mean weak rather than humble. 

“God Works in Mysterious Ways”

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This is another quote that is mistaken for being a direct passage from The Bible. While The Bible acknowledges God’s plans can be difficult to understand, it doesn’t say it in this exact way. 

“I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me” (Philippians 4:13)

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Many interpret this passage as meaning that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. The true passage actually refers to God’s strength enabling us to face challenges, but it doesn’t guarantee success.

“The Lord Works All Things for the Good of Those Who Love Him”(Romans 8:28) 

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Instead of this passage meaning everything bad that happens is ultimately good. It means that God can use even difficult circumstances for our growth. It doesn’t state that all suffering is good; we can come out of the other side of hurt as better people.

“A Little Bit of Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing”

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This quote is a gem, but it’s wrongly attributed to being in The Bible. It is often interpreted as learning being bad when it shows how The Bible emphasizes the importance of wisdom and knowledge.

“The Wages of Sin Is Death”(Romans 6:23)

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This phrase doesn’t mean that sinners will die physically, as some people see it, but that in a spiritual death, there will be a separation from God. The passage is meant to demonstrate the consequences of sin.

“Faith Without Works Is Dead” (James 2:26) 

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Good works are necessary for salvation, which is how this Bible passage is interpreted, but the translation has been lost. The actual meaning of the passage is that salvation comes through faith, but genuine faith should naturally lead to good works.

“Thou Shalt Not Kill”(Exodus 20:13)

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Of course, all killing is wrong, and this is something that we should live by regardless of faith. However, the actual Bible reading is telling us that we shouldn’t commit murder, but there would naturally be instances of self-defense or war that may excuse us from sin. 

“God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle.”

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This quote is not in the Bible but many insist it is. In actual fact, The Bible assures God will give us strength to face our burdens, not that burdens will always be easy.

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