Is it right to give Bible verses to make people feel good?

(David Cieszynski) #1

Evening All,

I’ve come across a stumbling block in life, one of my brother-in-laws has a kidney condition which is deteriorating rapidly. And there are people praying and giving him Bible verses etc. But since Nabeel’s fight with cancer and how many of us gave him Bible verses believing that God would heal him, I’m now reluctant / think it is right to give my brother-in-law Bible verses if not prompted by God.

Please note I’ve tried to write this a sensitively as possible, as without Nabeel’s vLogs on YouTube I wouldn’t be here.

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #2

Hello @David_Cieszynski. I’m sorry to hear about one of your brothers-in-law. To answer your question briefly, I would say that making people feel good through Bible verses for encouragement is a good thing to do. But it’s not right if we use Bible verses to give people false hope. The best way I could think of in encouraging someone is to remind them of who God is, so that their faith will be grounded to a proper object. Bad times may make us forget the faithfulness of God, so we need to be reminded. I hope that helps. I prayed for him.

(SeanO) #3

@David_Cieszynski I am sorry to hear that - may the Lord Jesus be with your brother-in-law and give him peace and strength. In terms of actually comforting your brother-in-law, you may be able to quote Scriptures about Christ as our Shepherd - the One who is with us even in the storms of life - rather than having to quote passages about healing.

I agree with @omnarchy on this one. It is not right to give people false hope or to tell them something that may be untrue simply to make them feel good. In the end, doing so can cause some people to lose their faith when the falsely promised outcome does not occur and presents a false view of God, which we ought never to do.

Nabeel’s story broke my heart and I was upset to see him led astray by the over realized eschatology of Bethel. I really like some of Bethel’s music - especially a few of Jeremy Riddle’s songs like Sweetly Broken, but their promise of healing and emphasis on prophetic words is worrisome to me. I was encouraged by William Lane Craig - who personally approached Nabeel and attempted to prevent him from being led astray regarding healing and prophesy. I believe that was the act of a true friend.

What frustrates me even more is that the Bible has such a rich - amazing - beautiful set of teachings that should give us hope in the face of death. Death is not the end - death is dead! Especially in the New Testament - the apostles all faced death - they knew they were called to carry their crosses, but that Jesus had conquered death!

Below are some of my favorite passages that can help us meditate on this truth as well as a sermon jam from Ravi and a passage from Lewis’ ‘The Last Battle’. I think reading books like Narnia can also help us teach our imaginations to understand death in a new light.

Romans 8 / I Cor 15 / Revelation 20-22 / Philippians

John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 21:4 - He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away

I Corinthians 15:50-57 - I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:21-26 - For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Ravi - What would you do to frighten Lazarus???

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

(David Cieszynski) #4

Thanks @SeanO @omnarchy your posts are really helpful and comforting. Unfortunately his church in though in the UK has very strong links with Bethal, their worship sounds like a cd it’s that much mimicked, the set up if services etc. I’ve been to a number of child dedications and only once was the gospel preached despite there being a number of none Christians present. I suppose this is another factor why I’m reluctant.

Thanks again.

(SeanO) #5

@David_Cieszynski Sure thing. Will be praying for you and your family.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that the folks at Bethel do not have a heart for Jesus. I had some friends in college who really loved Jesus and were part of this movement and I like some of Bethel’s music whenever the theology is not too watered down so as to make the song meaningless. But there is some false teaching in the movement regarding healing/prophetic words/miracles and I think it does distract from the Gospel. In the worst cases, I think peoples’ confidence shifts from the Gospel to miraculous signs and wonders - instead of looking at what Jesus did on the cross for assurance of His love and grace, they are constantly looking for new signs and wonders to affirm their faith and assure them of salvation. I also think they can quickly become guilty of false prophecy and while I certainly have grace for those who are misled, the Bible never talks lightly of saying ‘God said’ when He did not say.

Let us pray that the Lord grant those led astray by these teachings a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him that they may know the living God and walk in His truth - that they may mature in their knowledge of Christ and of the Word!

(Patrick Prabhakar) #6

Hi @David_Cieszynski, Our prayers are with you.

Romans 15:4

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (emphasis mine)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (emphasis mine)

Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we concur from the above scriptures, Our God is a God of comfort and hope and without a doubt there is comfort in scriptures. There could be genuine moments where people are led by the Spirit to encourage a fellow believer through scripture and there are a whole lot of moments when well-meaning people construe it out of their archives.

Sometimes the emphasis could be subtly diverted to what do you believe from Whom do you believe?

Psalm 119:50

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word (Jesus) has given me life. (emphasis and brackets mine)

Psalm 107:20

He sent His word (Jesus) and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. (emphasis and brackets mine)

Amidst myriads of bible verses, we could forget the essence and the truth of the gospel which is indeed good news to all of us through the death of our Beloved Savior on the cross as @SeanO has beautifully portrayed, that though the momentary sufferings and the pain are real, even death has lost its sting on the believer.

John 5:24

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

1 John 3:14

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

For assuredly we know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:31-39). For He Himself has said that he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and neither does He separate Himself from our afflictions (Isaiah 63:9).

For we do believe the atoning sacrifice of our Lord (Isaiah 53) and we believe for healing and deliverance, and always trust in His goodwill for all His beloved sheep.

But when we tend to not understand our situations or their outcomes in our limitedness, we seek comfort in Him knowing that He is our Good Father and our Loving Savior, for what are bible verses if not for the Word of God Himself?