5 Biblical Concepts That Confuse Many Christians

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What main biblical concepts seem to confuse Christians the most?  What can we study about them to lessen the confusion and hopefully, defuse any arguments?

Judge Not

Too many Christians stop at a certain Scripture where Jesus said “Judge not and you shall not be judged” but this is taken out of context and when you take a text out of context and make it a pretext, it usually turns out to be a false one!  This “misquote” is taken from Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

What Jesus is actually saying is to not judge someone when you’ve got a bigger sin your own life.  That is why Jesus said “You hypocrite, first take the log (the bigger sin) out of your own eye (life), and then you will see clearly to take the speck (your brothers sin) out of your brother’s eye.”  He didn’t say just ignore the speck in your brother’s eye or when you get the log out of your own eye, don’t bother your brother about his speck.  He also didn’t say not to judge but to judge after you are sure you are not a worse sinner.  By the way, our own logs (sins) can blind us in seeing only other’s specks in our brothers and sisters eyes and not our own logs.  Jesus indicates that if a brother has a sin, we should point out that “speck” but Jesus didn’t say “That’s none of your business.”  Jesus says “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them” (Luke 17:3), He didn’t say, “Well don’t judge him, leave him be.”  The idea is that if a brother or sister is caught in a sin, point it out so that they might repent and if they do, forgive them.  Further, in Matthew 18:15 Jesus says “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”  This was found even in the Old Testament like in Leviticus 19:17 “Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.”  Even John wrote “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that” (1 John 5:16).  Paul also wrote this, perhaps the clearest of all in Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”  You really are your brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.

What can we study about these confusing Biblical concepts to lessen the confusion and hopefully, defuse any arguments?

What can we study about these confusing Biblical concepts to lessen the confusion and hopefully, defuse any arguments?

The Bible Says…

There are so many sayings from the Bible that you hear that are not actually in the Bible.  There is the “Golden Rule” which may come from “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” (Matt 7:12).  While the latter is true, the “Golden Rule” is not actually in the Bible.

“God helps those who help themselves” is often quoted as being from the Bible so the next time you hear this, ask for chapter and verse…because it’s not in the Bible.  Actually, God helps those who can’t help themselves and saving sinners is one of them.  We could never save ourselves or help ourselves; only God can help us by saving us from our sins.

“The universal brotherhood of man and Fatherhood of God” sounds nice but it isn’t true.  God is the Father only of those who have repented and confessed their sins and put their trust in Christ.  In the Lord’s Prayer, only those who are God’s can say “Our Father…”

“We’re going to be up in heaven someday” or “we’ll be up in heaven for all eternity.”  The truth is, for those who are believers, heaven will be on earth.  Believers will live on the earth after Christ returns and we don’t go up to heaven when Jesus returns, the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to the earth (Rev 21, 22).

“Money is the root of all evil” is ripped right out of the text and they leave out some very important, critical words.  It actually says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Tim 6:10).  It isn’t money that is evil, it is the love of money that is evil and it isn’t the root of all evil but it is “a root of all kinds of evil.” There are many benevolent Christians who are wealthy…they love to raise money for ministries and missions but their love is of God and not of money and for them it is “a root of all kinds of good.”

Mary Magdalene

Many people, for some strange reason, believe that Mary Magdalene was a former prostitute.  I have seen her portrayed as one in a Bible movie.  There could be nothing further from the truth.  The truth is:

  • She did have seven demons cast out of her by Jesus (Luke 8:1-3).
  • She was a disciple of Jesus Christ (Luke 8:1-3).
  • She was an eyewitness to Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt 27:55-56).
  • She helped prepare Jesus’ body for burial (Luke 23:55-56).
  • She was the first person to witness the resurrection (Matt 28:1-10).
  • She was also a financial supporter of Jesus and His ministry (Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:1-3).
  • After all the other male disciples had abandoned Jesus at the cross, Mary stayed (Matt 26:56). John may have stayed and perhaps did so because he was taking care of Jesus’ mother, Mary, but Mary Magdalene stayed with Jesus throughout the entire crucifixion.

So contrary to popular or common belief, Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus and there is no extra-biblical or biblical support for her ever being a prostitute.

The Bible Condones Slavery

You hear a lot of atheists or agnostics state that the Bible supports slavery.  The Bible actually says that God will judge all “slave traders” (1 Tim 1:10). I would like to see them wiggle out of these commands from God:

Exodus 21:16 “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-16 “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.”

Colossians 3:11 “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

There are many other passages but you get the point.  God does not condone or approve of slavery anywhere in either the Old or the New Testament and in fact if you read the Book of Philemon, you will see Paul trying to free Onesimus, Philemon’s slave.

Surprised by Suffering and Persecution

I do a lot of counseling and many times I hear “I am really being persecuted for my faith. Why do people do that?” Well, maybe they need to read the Bible more (and that is usually at the root of most believer’s problems) because 2 Timothy 3:12 says “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” and if you aren’t being persecuted, you are either being an underground believer and not sharing your faith with anyone or you are living like the world, and in that case, you need to examine yourself to see if you are really in the faith (2 Cor 13:5) or saved at all.

I probably hear this the most, “I don’t know why I’m suffering. Is God punishing me?”  Again, they are probably not in the Bible much because the Bible speaks about this a lot like in James 1:3-4 where is says that suffering is “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Peter writes “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet 5:10).  In other words, it shouldn’t be strange or surprising…it’s normal and besides, suffering produces godly character “because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom 5:3-4).

If you can show me in the Bible where God promises you happiness then I will recant and say that I am wrong.  He gives us joy and joy is permanent. Happiness is temporary and based upon happenings.  The peace that Christ gives us remains throughout our trials, pain, suffering, and persecutions.

Conclusion

There is no missing the way to be saved.  There shouldn’t be any confusion.  If a person repents, then confesses their sins to God (to confess means you agree with God about your sins), and then put their trust in the Savior, they will be spared from God’s wrath (John 3:35).  To see how easy it is to be saved today (2 Cor 6:2) read Romans 10:9-13 because Jesus is the One and only Way to be saved (Acts 4:12). Truly Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Related reading: Famous Bible Verses

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Joni August 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

Where are the Christians that have already passed are they not up in Heaven?

Reply

Jack Wellman August 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Thank you Joni for your question. This is a very good question too. The Bible is absolutely clear that, ultimately, there are only two options for where you go when you die: heaven or hell. The Bible also makes it abundantly clear that you can determine where you go when you die. First, the problem. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are wrong, evil, or immoral (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Our sin separates us from God, and, if left unresolved, our sin will result in us being eternally separated from God (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23a). This eternal separation from God is hell, described in the Bible as an eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:14–15).

2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-8 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands…. [6] Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…. [8] We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. When Christians die, we go to be “with the Lord”. Then we are “at home”. Heaven, in the Lord’s presence, is our real home!

Here is a summary of what happens when a Christian dies:

1) The body returns to the dust of the earth it came from.

2) The soul and spirit return to God in heaven.

3) Now absent from the body, we are present with the Lord.

4) We join the company of the “spirits of righteous men made perfect”.

5) And our being with the Lord in heaven is, as Paul said, better by far. And there the faithful who have died await the eventual, glorious day of the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth and the resurrection of and impartation of life to our then-to-be-glorified bodies.

“…And so shall we ever be with the Lord”

Reply

DocReits August 31, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Great article Pastor Jack,

The “Judge not lest you be judged!” is the heckler’s shout at the open air preaching arena. As your examples explained we are to judge those in the household of God:

“It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside….”(1 Cor 5:12,13)

My point is that when we declare God’s judgment upon those who are perishing it is just that…. a declaration of God’s Judgment…not ours…it is so important to state that up front to the unbeliever…even though they might try to argue with you. Maybe like this:

“I am not judging you…we are ALL under God’s judgment for breaking His Ten Commandments. This is called sin. I have no right on my own to go to heaven or to have God forgive me and neither do you. God is the One who is judging. God knows that we are ALL guilty. We have no hope on our own when we stand before Him when we die. We have all sinned.

God knew this, yet He did not want us to be separated from Him. His ultimate goal was for us to be with Him forever (Titus 2:14). He loves us. He tells us that He loves you right now even after you have broken His Commandments. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinning against Him, Christ died for us(Rom 5:8).

Christ paid the penalty for our sins, both yours and mine. If we confess our sins, the Bible tells us, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from ALL filthiness(1 Jn 1:9). Confess your sins to God, ask His forgiveness, and trust Christ as your Savior. Believe that God raised Him from the dead and you will have eternal life(Rom 10:9,10).”

Blessings,

DocReits

Reply

Jack Wellman August 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Doc, my brother, that is simply brilliant. In fact, I am going to copy that and use this most excellent method. What is so refreshing is that you always make me want to grow more and increase in grace and knowledge but for His glory and being His express and passionate desire that none should perish of which should also be our deepest desire too. Love this. Stunningly simply and simply wonderful, biblical methods. I love this method; it takes a man of God with the Word of God with the Spirit of God to make the children of God for the glory of God. Amen? Thanks bro. You’re spot on….love you Doc. My, you really bless my soul.

Reply

Carmen N February 20, 2015 at 8:18 pm

As usual Pastor Jack, this was a great article. I enjoyed immensely you writing. I am blessed to have found this site. My heart’s desire is that God’s Words become second nature to me. I yearn in all circumstances to know what and when to convey God’s amazing message and His gift of salvation.

Pastor, pray the Lord gives me wisdom and boldness to act according to His timing and His will so that His Words are received with open hearts and contrite spirits.

Today many die without Christ. What a tragedy and how sorrowful!

Reply

Jack Wellman February 20, 2015 at 9:13 pm

My dear sister in Christ, I am glad you have a heart for the lost…that is a tragedy but there are those who do go out and evangelize as another man named Jack and I (imagine two Jacks!) do door to door and in the street, so maybe you could pray for us…Yes, I will pray for God’s wisdom and boldness to act when He deems it best. I sense you have a heart for evangelism. I love what Charles Spurgeon once wrote and as such should be motivation why we should all being going into all the world: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” If you would like a free eBook on evangelism, contact me and I’ll send you a free one. I also have an inexpensive paperback too. It’s called The Great Omission: Evangelizing the Lost for the Great Commission. Here’s a recent sample of that which I wrote about at:http://jackwellman.blogspot.com/2015/02/taking-gospel-into-our-town.html

For the biblical model of doing this, please read this: http://jackwellman.blogspot.com/2010/10/hells-best-kept-secret.html

Reply

Neil Breed November 28, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Can you send me your ebook on evangelizing

Please

Reply

Amy August 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Excellent! An edit is needed, if possible, for the verse on God judging slave traders–I believe you meant 1 Timothy 1:10. 6:10 is the verse about the love of money.

Reply

Jack Wellman August 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Thank you Amy. Nice catch. Shows us all that only the Word of God is perfect. I appreciate your keen eye my friend.

Reply

Jonathan August 29, 2017 at 11:52 pm

If we are saved, is being unsaved possible?

Reply

Jack Wellman August 30, 2017 at 8:08 am

Hello Jonathan. Yes, there is such a thing as being unsaved. Jesus sums it up in John 3:36, saying “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Now, if you mean, can you be saved and then lost, no, that’s not possible. Jesus gives us eternal life and if we lose it, it was certainly not eternal.

Reply

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