5 Bible Verses Constantly Debated Among Christians

Prosperity? Tattoos? Alcohol? What does the Bible say about these things, and why are so many Christians arguing over the interpretation?

1. Plans For Good

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11

While I do believe that Jesus has plans for good and prosperity in all of our lives, our definition of “good and prosperity” needs to be defined before further understanding this passage. I believe prosperity in the eyes of God simply means that we have love, hope and grace in an abundance, while the world’s view of prosperity is found in money and titles. Are money and titles wrong? Not at all. Do they make lousy god’s? Always.

I believe God’s called each of his children to a prosperous life, but this doesn’t necessarily mean in the form of money, jobs and materialistic items. Godly prosperity is found in the worth and value that God places among our lives, something that this world could never offer us.

And while “plans for good” doesn’t mean that God is going to allow everything to go the way you’ve planned it, it does mean that God is good no matter the circumstances. He will always be there to encourage you, protect you, love you and forgive you. Your prosperity is found in God, not your bank account.  What are your thoughts?

2. Do Not Put Tattoo Marks On Yourselves

“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”—Leviticus 19:28

While I strongly believe God yearns for us to take care of our mortal bodies, I also believe the motive of our hearts are more important to him in the end. See where I am going with this?

But as clear as this text may seem, without context and background this text can be taken out of context in many ways. In fact, it usually is.

This text is directed towards a group of pagans who would violently cut and mark their bodies as a sign of worship to their gods. The tattoos or markings one would find on their bodies would most like resemble the god or gods in which they were worshiping. Pretty different from the tattoos we see today, right? Yup.

While I do believe that any tattoo obtained to worship something other than God is sinful, I also believe that 95% of the tattoos we see in today’s culture are not due to idol worship, but instead creative expression or artistic value. It’s not the actual tattoo or marking that is sinful, but the motives in which each tattoo or marking is obtained. Who are you worshipping?

Don’t get me wrong. Tattoos are not for everyone! My only hope is that you realize the motives of your heart mean more to God than the ink on your skin. I don’t see anything biblically wrong with Christians having tattoos, but then again,  this is just my interpretation. And for all you kids still living under the roof of your parents, whether or not you get a tattoo is up to them, not you.

Your body is still a temple, and to treat your body with disrespect is to treat God in the same manner. Whether you are debating getting your first tattoo or your fiftieth, I pray you will seek God for wisdom, guidance, and evaluate the motives of your heart.

We may not all reach the same conclusion, but that doesn’t mean we are not all loved by the same God. What are your thoughts? 

3. Do Not Get Drunk

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”—Ephesians 5:18

While the Bible does say “don’t get drunk,” it never once says don’t drink. Has alcohol destroyed the lives of many? Yes—which is why one needs to be mature in the way they consume it. Addiction and drunkenness can be deadly.

The reality is that Jesus himself drank wine, but this doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Everyone is allowed to make their own decision as to whether or not they will drink, but don’t you dare judge someone’s view towards alcohol based on a conviction of your own.

If you don’t want to drink, then don’t drink. If you enjoy wine and frequenting your local brewery, then enjoy it. Regardless of which side you land on, make sure you are showcasing maturity and staying true to what the Bible says about this topic, not your opinion.

Would I ever encourage someone to drink? Never. Would I ever tell someone that drinking is unbiblical? Not a chance. Drunkenness is the issue at hand. What are your thoughts? 

4. Hate Your Father & Mother

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”—Luke 14:26

I believe Jesus uses the word “hate” to properly instruct the importance of putting Christ before anything else. He follows the statement with a parable furthering explaining himself. I believe the word “hate” was used to not only grab the disciples attention when Jesus was teaching, but also paint the importance of how Jesus should be our priority and every else should be arbitrary.

1 John 3:15 debunks the question as to whether or not Jesus was encourage us to truly hate our mother and father. And while I know this scripture is always up for further interpretation, this is where I have landed through my studies. What are your thoughts?

5. I Can Do All Things Through Christ

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:13

Can we really do “all things” through Christ? If we decide to take this passage literally, then I want to learn to fly, shoot spaghetti from my fingertips and be the top scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. Those things will probably never happen.

This is a passage of scripture that is constantly taken out of context, as well as debated among Christians around the world. While I do believe that the power of Jesus is capable of accomplishing anything and everything that stands before it, I also believe that their is a sovereign God who stands in control of what will and will not happen. What those things are is up to him.

Will I ever be the top scorer for the Lakers? Not a chance. Is the power of Jesus capable of accomplishing this in my life? Yes. Will this ever come to fruition? Probably not. This white boy can’t jump.

Will I ever learn to fly? Not a chance. Is the power of Jesus capable of accomplishing this in my life? Yes. Will this ever come to fruition? Probably not—plus I’m scared of heights. Get where I’m going with this?

All things are possible through the power of Christ, but we must also understand the realistic side of what Jesus will and will not do through each individual person. It’s up to him, not us. What are your thoughts? 

-Jarrid Wilson


What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Published by Jarrid Wilson

Husband, Father, Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship & Author of a few books.

23 comments on “5 Bible Verses Constantly Debated Among Christians”

  1. Understanding the scripture with one reference is not enough. Therefore, all thoughts mentioned were right and it is true that before saying that it was written in the bible, let’s assure that we fully understood the context in order for us to eliminate dogmatism. Many thanks for providing certain explanations. God Bless!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with all points. Thank you for sharing them and explaining them so well. They are scriptures often discussed by my bible study group. One conclusion that we have made regarding #5 is that in the scripture “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” the emphasis is on “through Christ” and NOT “all things”. Upon studying the scripture, we didn’t feel that we were being told that we can fly or breath underwater through Christ’s strength or will (although if it WAS the will of the creator of heaven and earth, it would be so). We felt the scripture was telling us that everything that we DO do, can be done through the One who strengthens us or can be attempted on our own. We all know which path is the more preferable. I don’t know if our interpretation is 100% biblically correct as it was just a discussion between layman, but it was a great, healthy, amiable, and respectful debate, as they should always be.

  3. These are topics I hear discussed so often with such anger! As Christians demonstrating God’s love, we need to learn how to agree to disagree on topics that have no bearing on salvation. I agree with this points! Very well written; thank you for saying all this!

  4. Hi, regarding number 3, I would also take into consideration the motive of drinking. When I was astray, I used to drink a lot because I had bad motives then. Now I enjoy a glass of wine every night t have a good night sleep and for health reasons. It is a matter of self-control and responsible drinking. But my question is, is it okay for a believer to drink with unbelievers in a revelry assuming there is no bad motives in the believer and there will be self-control? Is it okay to be seen in a party like that?

    For the last item, anything that God wants us to do we can do. As long as it serves His purposes He will allow us to do mighty things. I do not think he can allow me to fly like spiderman for no reason at all and it will not give glory to His name. If you go a few verses before that I think Paul was referring to a list of things that he was able to do because it was for God and then he stated the “I can do all things thru Christ ..” Yes I agree that it is all up to God to allow us to do things based on His divine purposes not our own.

    1. I believe when it comes to being a light to unbelievers, we must take charge by being in a place of control. For instance. If i were to ride with friends to this party, i am at the mercy of the driver. I cannot easily escape a bad situation. That wouldnt be a wise choice. It also depends on the behavior of the people your with. Are they simply having a drink while having a hang out, or is drinking the main objective? In scripture, believerswere told to stay away from certain things so they wouldnt be mistaken as partakers. God has asked us to distance ourselves from the world a bit so that we may stand out as different. If these people are close to you, there are better ways to spend quality time together.
      No one is gonna know the situation or the people involed more than you, so ask God for wisdom to make the right choices. Hope this helped!

  5. Philippians 4:13 is about being able to endure and to be content in all circumstances. Which in my opinion is a much better meaning than what a lot of people want it to mean. I totally agree with your interpretations of these scriptures, keep up the good work!

    1. Exactly!!a few verses before Paul talks about how he knows both the secret of suffering want and having an abundance,being full and being in hunger,being low on provisions and having an abundance then he goes to say amidst of all things:”But in all these things i have strength by virtue of Christ who imparts power in me” so this has totally nothing to do with being able to do all things,but that in all situations,good or bad Christ’s strength empowers us to be strong and withstand anything.Probably one verse that is heavily misinterpreted in the entire bible.

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