It has been said that a person can find a verse of scripture to justify almost everything he wants to do. For instance; in this day when many are crying out for more tolerance, we often hear someone quoting Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. It is true, the Bible does tell that we should not sit in judgment on others. Yet the Bible also emphasizes the importance of using godly discernment. We read from the book of Proverbs – “Discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.” (Proverbs 2:11-13 ESV) Whenever we are seeking the will of God, we must do as the Apostle Paul did and consider the ‘whole counsel of God.’ (see acts 20:27)
Satan is a master of misquoting scripture. No doubt you will remember his temptation of Jesus. Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” ESV We should note that Satan used a portion of Psalm 91 as a part of his temptation. His intention was to make Jesus think -“Surely this must be the will of God if it comes from the Bible.” Jesus however, did not allow the Devil to deceive Him by isolating one verse of scripture from all the rest. Jesus countered Satan’s deception by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 which says – “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God…” (see Matthew 4:7) In other words, “What you are trying to entice me to do can’t be the will of God, for it is a contradiction of the rest of scripture.”
We read from the book of Proverbs: “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” (Proverbs 16:2) The sin nature within us is so powerful that it can cause us to justify almost anything we want to do. “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes”, the Bible tells us. It always seems right at the moment, to do what we want to do. That’s what makes temptation so tempting.
James tells us – “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own lusts.” (James 1:14) The lust within us craves sin so strongly that it can cause us to justify almost anything. Therefore, it is because of this weakness in our nature, that we must carefully examine every motive and action in the light of God’s Word. The Bible says- “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thess 5:21 NASB)
One of my college professors used to say- “The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.” In other words, we should use scripture to interpret scripture. If one verse of scripture seems to justify our thoughts while another verse of scripture seems to condemn it, we are most likely misinterpreting the true meaning of God’s Word.