Commonly Misused Bible Verses: 2 Chronicles 7:14

Both Christians and unbelievers are guilty of misusing Bible verses by ripping them from their original context.

We have probably all done it before. I know I have. In fact, I have even made the mistake of doing it in a published work. I used a Bible verse improperly by not paying close enough attention to its context.

This is a common problem among both Christians and non-Christians. Many skeptics and other unbelievers will pull verses out of context in their efforts to attack the Bible. Many Christians have heard or read a verse that they really like, so they quote it as though it was given as a divine promise just for them. However, we must be careful to examine the context of a passage and make sure that when we quote a verse, we use it in a way that the original author meant for it to be used.

In this particular post, I want to examine one of the verses that Christians regularly misuse. In some future posts, we will look at some more verses misused by Christians and some misused by unbelievers. I realize this will upset some of my readers, but before getting upset with me, you need to take some time and study the context of the verse and then ask yourself, “Am I using this verse appropriately, or am I guilty of misusing it?” I’ll close by sharing the verse that I misused at the end of one of my books.

Commonly Misused Verse #1: 2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (NKJV)

Well-intentioned Christians (especially in the U.S.) love to cite this verse as a promise from God that if believers in this nation would humble themselves and pray then God will fix our nation. Before you get upset with me for implying that this is not what this verse is about, ask yourself, “What is the context of this verse?” Do you know when these words were spoken and to whom they were addressed? Do you know the occasion for these words or have you just repeated them thinking that they were meant for your particular situation?

Let’s take a quick look at the context. The construction of the first temple in Jerusalem had just been completed. King Solomon led a massive week-long celebration to dedicate the temple. When the people returned to their homes following the celebration, we read this:

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. (2 Chronicles 7:12–16, NKJV)

These words were spoken to Solomon, the king of Israel, and God promised Solomon that when the land suffered from drought or pestilence, that if the people would humble themselves and pray, then God would hear those prayers and heal their land. The Lord specifically said that His eyes and ears would be attentive to the “prayer made in this place,” a reference to the temple in Jerusalem. As you continue reading the remaining verses in 2 Chronicles 7, it becomes extremely clear that this was a specific promise made by God to the Jewish people at the time of the first temple.

This is quite a bit different than Christians using this verse as a promise from God to fix the problems in the United States of America (or any other nation). Before you get too upset with me, let me point out that I think there are certainly principles we can draw from this. It is always a good thing for God’s people to humble themselves and pray for their nation. As Christians, we absolutely should pray for our nation. We should pray for our neighbors, friends, loved ones, and even our politicians–even the ones we don’t agree with (see 1 Timothy 2:1–4). I think it would be wonderful if every Christian would humble himself or herself and pray for our nation. It can’t hurt, and I think we would see God do some amazing things. However, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a divine promise to Christians in the United States that God will fix our nation. We don’t have such a guarantee in Scripture.

My Mistake

So which verse did I misuse? Near the end of my book, God and Cancer: Finding Hope in the Midst of Life’s Trials, I discussed how wonderful heaven is going to be. So I cited a verse I have heard used in this context several times. 1 Corinthians 2:9 states, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful description of heaven? It sure does, except for the fact that Paul was not talking about heaven.

A few months after the book came out I was studying that passage again and noticed, to my embarrassment, that it wasn’t about heaven at all. How do I know? Look at the very next verse: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). Verse 9 was a quote from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Paul told his readers that although God had not revealed in the Old Testament some of the wonderful things He had in store for His people, He has now revealed them to us by the Holy Spirit.

I’m looking forward to this being fixed in the next printing of the book. I still believe heaven will be far better than we can possibly imagine, but I would not use 1 Corinthians 2:9 in support of that belief. 2 Corinthians 12:2–4 and Revelation 21–22 would be better passages to convey that idea.

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About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Commonly Misused Bible Verses: 2 Chronicles 7:14 — 65 Comments

  1. Nice answer to Tim re specificity of application of text. We might add Mt28:19 into that mix too….

  2. I must be just simple in thinking but I have known for a long time that 2 Chron 7:14 is misused. I just knew it. No peace about it. I would imagine that yesterday the day of national prayer it was belted out much! If only Christians were to be doers of the word and take their authority we would see a rapid healing of our cities. Why because when light is released darkness goes, scatters. I find very few people that can release an anointing. We are complete in Him. He has made available everything that pertains to life and Godliness. Its not automatic but its available for those who will pursue it.

    I like to be an enforcer of what He has already made available. It works.

  3. ” My people who are called by my name.” God’s people is his church ang the name of his church according to Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    • As I pointed out in the article, when those words were spoken to Solomon, God’s people referred to the nation of Israel. The context is all about the temple and the land God had given them. The church was not given a land or a temple, so there is no land belonging to the church that God promised to heal when Christians pray. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray for the nations in which we live. Of course we should. We just don’t have a divine promise that God will heal that nation when we do because that promise was made to Israel in Solomon’s day and the healing had to do with restoring it after drought, locusts, and pestilences (2 Chronicles 7:13).

  4. The whole Dominionism thing is so shameful and anti-Christ – I am completely befuddled by the majority advocacy among evangelicals.

    Jesus is clear – “If my Kingdom were of this world…”

    Jesus is clear – When they tried to make him king, HE RAN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    Paul is clear – “Our citizenship is in heaven!”

    Paul is clear – “There are no Greek or Jew OR AMERICAN…. THERE IS ONLY CHRIST WHO IS ALL IN ALL”

    The author of Hebrews is clear – “We are looking for a city whose builder and maker is GOD!!!!!!!

    Anyway – the name of Jesus is once again sullied by religionist who use him more a bully stick – than falling on their faces to worship. Sad.

  5. This debate will never be settled because of two very different ways of reading the Bible. Some, such as those influenced by historical Protestantism, read the Bible as the unfolding of redemptive history. They believe, for example, that verses must always be interpreted within their historical and covenantal contexts, and that the Old Testament should be interpreted in light of the New Testament. Others, such as many American Evangelicals, are more apt to read the Bible as a handbook for living, proclaiming essential principles which are applicable for all times and places. I personally believe that the redemptive history approach is more valid, and I hope that people will seriously consider the comments of Tim Chaffey regarding the (over)use of this verse from 2 Chronicles.

    • ?? “My people who are called by My name”

      I’ve been wondering about this for days.

      What were the people called at this time??? YHWHites?

      Today we are called Christians after the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      • Hi Chris,

        Thanks for reading and for your comment. I think that’s an excellent question, and I believe there are two good possibilities to consider.
        First, while this passage is clearly about the Israelites, this particular wording could be a reference to the name Israel, the last two letters of which are one of God’s titles. In the Hebrew text, El is used over 200 times to refer to the one true God. It’s a little tricky to know whether El is just a title or a name for God—it’s probably both. El is the name of one of the Canaanite’s chief deities, but it seems to have been used early on by the Israelites as a title for the Creator, whom they know by the name YHWH (Yahweh). Eventually, it seems that the Israelites used the title as another name for God. Christians have done something similar with “Christ.” Originally a title that meant “anointed one” (the Greek equivalent of Messiah), it is now generally used as part of Jesus’ name, as you did in your response.
        The other option, which I think is probably a better argument, is that it refers to the people over whom God has placed His name. In Numbers 6:27, we read, “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” The NASB includes a text note in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that tells us that the words “who are called by My name” could be translated literally as “over whom My name is called.” This would fit well with Number 6:27 and also Deuteronomy 28:10, which states, “Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD…” So instead of trying to find a way in which the name of the people includes God’s name, the wording would instead be a reference to the fact that God has placed His name, His reputation, on those people—the Israelites.
        I hope this helps.

  6. I disagree about this because it is an outcome of humility, forgiveness and prayer. God is making a promise to heal the land they live in if they turn from sin and towards God.

    I ask, what happens in the NT when people turn from their sins, what about Niniva?

    What happens during revivals? You see in OT and NT, and in life events where healing is brought due to people seeking God and turning from sin.

    • Hi Matthew,
      What does happen in the NT when people turn from their sins? Do you have an example where the land was healed as a result? I can think of the opposite happening in Jerusalem. At least 5000 people became Christians and the city soon underwent a terrible famine.
      In your view, how many people need to turn from their sins for God to heal the land? There are tens of thousands of Christians in the United States today who are pleading with God to “heal the land” but will it happen? We aren’t given that promise.
      Would our nation be better off if Christians humbled themselves and prayed? Of course. And that’s what I said in my post. But Scripture does not promise that He’ll end the multi-year drought in California if that happens. It doesn’t promise us anything about the U.S. In some places, Christians who humble themselves and seek His face are martyred in large numbers.
      This was a promise made to the people of Israel when the temple was dedicated. The surrounding context make it so clear. While we can draw principles from these verses, we should not attempt to apply them directly to our situation because we are not in that situation.

  7. I would like to say what i read was good. Very insightful and well put. At the sametime to truly know if that doesnt or does apply today id like to ask everyone to do what it ask and see if we see a change.

  8. I believe the principle can be applied to the body of Christ just like many OT scriptures can be GENERALLY applied to us now although the OT was specifically addressed and meant for Israel. However, my issue is that many Christians choose to only use pray from 2 Chron 7:14 instead of humble, seek His face, pray, and turn from their wicked ways. In other words, many don’t want to repent or turn from their wicked ways.

  9. Good stuff and I fully agree. While I absolutely believe we can pray 2 Chron 7.14 in a New Testament time, clearly (Biblically and logically) we cannot use the verses in the exact way they were applied in their original context. Just some thoughts…

    First of all, God dealt with Israel as a single entity as his people. This is not the same today as we make individual decisions to follow Jesus (yes within one church). Secondly, Christians are not a ‘nation’ with a ‘land’ on this earth – we’re spread across all nations, tribes and tongues. Third, if these verses were to be used today they could only apply to God’s people yet people applying them to nations apply them to people who are not God’s people. Fourth, the sins of God’s people today always have an impact but even if all of God’s people were totally without sin in behaviour (I know we’re made righteous in Christ), it still wouldn’t heal a land full of wickedness and sin around us. Fifth, we need to read verse 13 which talks about God shutting off the rain, sending locusts to destroy land and plagues on people. Yet God does not deal with us (and not nations) this way today post-Jesus. He doesn’t even deal with those who don’t know God this way, let alone his people. Yes we sow what we reap, yes sometimes God allows things but the judgment will come when Jesus returns.

    The list could go on but basically God dealt with Israel through judgment when they strayed from God. Today we have the Holy Spirit in us and God’s Word as Christians and we’re forgiven through repentance. While God may allow things, it’s not anything like the old covenant. Should we humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, turn from evil? Yes. In fact if you’re a Christian, these should naturally flow out of us. Of course God hears our hearts above even our words and yes God has answered prayers like 2 Chron 7.14 in places and we don’t want to try to limit God by our limited understandings. But we don’t pray 2 Chron 7.14 in the way Israel had to or for the reasons Israel had to.

    • And you don’t think He deals with our nation that same way? He Himself raised up this nation of ours…and has blessed it above all others with purpose. It is suffering under judgement now, just as the Istealies and Jewish nations suffered for their disobedience in the past. This nation is in the shape it is in because of disobedient Christians…GODS people…and 11 Chron. 7:14 applied just as true to judgement on us as it did to them then.

  10. Hi Tim. Reading the above made me appreciate an old maxim: “A text without a context becomes a pretext”. I reckon most christians gain their ideas of understanding the bible in churches where the difference between interpretation and application are either overlooked or ignored. I appreciate your attempts to correct this – and done in the most kind and gracious manner. I’m a newby to your posts – just wanted to get a scriptural view of 2 Chr 7.14 and fully support your view. Looking forward to future posts.

  11. Thanks for clarifying 2 Chronicles 7:14. So many people quote this out of context. It is a great thing to repent, humble, etc. and I would love to know some other scriptures that would be more applicable to fellow Christians that would be more in context with today’s concerns. Thanks

  12. I have to give you credit Tim, you take the time to answer challenges and that’s more than a lot of people do. But as far as your answer goes I’d have to say it falls short.

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re failing to see the forest because you’re focusing on the trees. For one thing you said the 2 Chron verse specifically identified Israel. No it didn’t. You complained that I asked if he said “If the Jewish people …” and that the term Jewish didn’t appear for centuries. That’s what one would call a specious answer because God could have said “the children of Israel.” You avoided my point and focused on one that didn’t make any real difference.

    And my comment about Nineveh and Jonah is 100% on the money. Someone shouldn’t need any more than that to understand that the promise here goes beyond the immediate context.

    What you’re arguing about here is in effect that one can’t apply verses beyond their immediate context and that’s flat wrong. You’re trying to say that the verse doesn’t specifically apply to the USA and Christians. Of course it doesn’t! And no one ANYWHERE that I’ve ever seen has said that. It’s a general promise to ANY nation and it can and SHOULD be applied to the USA because it’s just as valid for us as for Israel and Nineveh.

    Yes, you’re right that some people misapply some verses and that’s a problem. You’ve just gone way overboard in restricting the application of scripture.

    And unfortunately you did the same thing for the Isaiah quote in 1 Corinthians. No, there are no details about Heaven and the New Heavens and New Earth in that verse but it clearly is referring to more than just the gospel message about the Lord. If you can’t see that then I’m sorry. Paul wrote “what God has prepared for those who love him.” We understand from the rest of scripture that this is ultimately talking about the eternal age and its glories, which Paul refers to repeatedly in other passages. Limiting this to something less, like you were doing, is so extremely short sighted that I don’t even know to respond further. Like I said, it’s just flat wrong.

    The problem I have with this is that it’s saying that common knowledge and understanding, which innumerable good preachers have used in the past, is wrong. And now, because in 2016 we are so much smarter than those silly people who came before us, we can see that they were misusing the Bible. That’s a slap in the face at an awful lot of good preachers. And that’s another reason I say, “I don’t think so Tim.”

    • Doug,
      You stated, “What you’re arguing about here is in effect that one can’t apply verses beyond their immediate context and that’s wrong.” No, that is not at all what I’m arguing. I’ve stated time and time again in the comments to this post (and probably many more times in my post regarding Matthew 18), that a person can make application from these verses. Let me type that again to drive home the point. A person can make application from these verses in our day. The point of my post deals with the interpretation of the verse, and is not primarily about the application of it. Yes, many people have assumed that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is about America (or whatever country they happen to be in), because they fail to look at the context and have just heard others recite it. But this verse is not about America or any other nation other than Israel. The promises made in those passages are made to the people of Israel. Should we humble ourselves and pray for our nation? For the umpteenth time, absolutely yes!
      I said the context of that verse specifically identified Israel. Let’s take a look at the verse in its context, and I’ll italicize every word or phrase that helps us identify the target audience here.
      Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’
      “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
      “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’”
      (The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 2 Chronicles 7:12–22)

  13. Tim, I’m sure you mean well, but your comments regarding tithing and seeking God and praying amount to nothing more than legalism. Tithing is a good thing, so let’s continue to tithe. Praying, seeking God and asking Him to heal our land is a good thing, so let’s do much much more of that. Don’t you know that He will hear those prayers? Let’s face it, only God can heal this mess man has created.

    • V.,
      It’s interesting that you would call my position “legalism” since it very clearly is not legalism. Telling a Christian that they must give 10% would be legalistic. Telling them that tithing (meaning 10%) is not a command given to Christians, but that Christians should cheerfully give whatever amount they have purposed in their heart is the opposite of legalism. This is liberty, and it is what the Apostle Paul taught the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 9:7.
      As I stated in my post, it is a great thing for Christians to humbly pray for their nation. I believe God definitely hears the prayers of a humble righteous person, but it doesn’t mean that He is going to fix America or whatever nation one belongs to. That is not what 2 Chronicles 7:14 teaches.

  14. I don’t think so Tim.

    Personally I think you’re off the mark on both verses, the 2 Chronicles verse and the 1 Corinthians verse.

    “If my people who are called by my name …” Did he say “If the Jewish people …”? No. He said those who are called by his name. It’s clear to me that the promise has application to all who are called by his name. It’s quite appropriate to repent and humble yourself and pray for yourself and your nation. I know that you also said that but your idea was that the verse only directly applied to the Jews of Solomon’s time and was misused by Christians today.

    It’s a blanket statement to all who are called by his name. That’s why it’s recorded in scripture. There is no parallel to Joshua marching around Jericho. There was no statement there that “If my people who are called by my name will march around Jericho for 7 days, I’ll knock the walls down again.” When you have a general promise by God recorded in scripture it’s in there for a reason: if it applies to you, then apply it! And this certainly applies to us today.

    We are told to do all those things: humble ourselves, pray, turn from wicked ways and pray for our leaders. We are also told (yes in the OT) to pray for the land into which we have been delivered for as they prosper, we will prosper. That absolutely applies to us and so does the 2 Chronicles verse. If the people of this country would turn from their wicked ways they would be spared a lot of pain. I offer the example of Nineveh and Jonah as proof of that concept. It’s quite appropriate to cite this verse as directions for the Christians of this country.

    The 1 Corinthians verse isn’t about Heaven? Well, actually I agree. It’s about the New Heaven, the New Earth, the resurrection, and the eternal age to come, all of which most people seem to lump into the concept of Heaven. It’s not really relevant that Isaiah said it. Paul was merely pointing out the simple fact that details about these things have been revealed to the church by the Spirit. The verse is talking about the blessings of the things to come, our sure Hope. It’s ok to lump that into “Heaven” because Heaven is the abode of God and in the resurrection Christ’s abode will be on Earth.

    So I’m sorry but all I can say is … I don’t think so Tim. I believe you need to reconsider these two verses. They’re not being misused and you weren’t wrong the first time about the Corinthians verse. I’m kind of reminded of the old gag, “The only time I was wrong was when I thought I had made a mistake.”

    • Hi Doug,
      As you probably know, the verse and chapter numbers are not part of inspired Scripture, so individual verses cannot be yanked from their context and interpreted to mean what we want. You asked if the verse includes the words “If the Jewish people…” Although it doesn’t use the word “Jewish” since that didn’t come into use for another five centuries, the passage does specifically identify Israel, the people whom God brought out of Egypt, the temple, Solomon’s kingdom, the land God gave to them (Israel), and the covenant made with David. I think it is safe to say that the context of this passage is extremely clear. Can we apply the truths from it in our lives? Of course. This is what I said in the article and in numerous responses so far. We just need to realize that the verse is not a specific promise to Christians in the United States or any country other than Israel.
      Could the verse in 1 Corinthians include some details about heaven that weren’t revealed in the Old Testament but now were revealed in the New Testament? Perhaps, but that is not the gist of this verse, and given what Paul wrote right before quoting Isaiah, it is very unlikely that heaven was in view. Paul was talking about wisdom of God that had been hidden in previous times but was now revealed. He specifically stated that the rulers of “this age” did not know about it. If they did, they would not have crucified Jesus. The Jewish leaders knew about heaven. Sadducees may have denied it, but Pharisees and others believed in heaven, and they knew about it. It was not hidden from them.

  15. 2 TIMOTHY 3:16
    All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

    Every word is inspired by GOD.So we should just take it and learn from it eventhough its from the old testament..

    • Hi Marika,
      I completely agree, as I stated in the post: “…let me point out that I think there are certainly principles we can draw from this. It is always a good thing for God’s people to humble themselves and pray for their nation. As Christians, we absolutely should pray for our nation.” But in order to properly learn from Scripture, we have to properly interpret it and then apply it in our lives appropriately.

      • I wonder what would happen If the people that are called by his name would repent and humble themselves? Not for the US but for His Kingdom…Maybe pastors wouldn’t fall… Maybe revival….maybe we would stop hiding our sin… Maybe we would be washing Jesus feet with our own hair… Oh I forgot the promise was for some old dude in the OT…

        • Hi Bill,
          Which “promise was for some old dude in the OT”? The promise to forgive sin and heal the land? Where does this passage ever say anything about pastors not falling, Christians being transparent about their sin, or revival coming upon the God’s Kingdom? The specific promises in this passage have to do with the land of Israel. The context really could not be any clearer about this. If you are saying that these things might come about if Christians humble themselves and pray, then I wouldn’t disagree that these things would be possible outcomes, but we are not given a divine promise that they would occur. Israel had such a divine promise regarding their land, and Christians should stop trying to appropriate promises made to Israel.
          As I mentioned in the post and many times in the comments, it would be a wonderful thing for Christians to humble themselves and pray. But your unnecessary sarcastic comment at the end ignores that fact.

  16. “This verse says that when those conditions are met, He will hear from heaven, forgive sin, heal His people’s land and attend “unto the prayer” made in this place (The Temple).
    We in the church, typically see this verse themed with “the world day of prayer,” (or in agricultural areas) petitions for rain and protection from storms and other crop disasters. But, can and does this verse apply to a time and place outside Israel and a standing temple? I think your insight on this verse is careful and balanced.”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “The World’s Favorite Bible Verses.” MS Peabooks, 2013. iBooks.

  17. Doesn’t the whole Bible still applies to our lives whether it was for a particular people at the time it was written? We have to apply it to our lives, this is what I have been taught all along.

    • Hi Angelica,

      The whole Bible is important for us to read and learn from, but not every passage is directly applicable to our lives. For example, God told Joshua to have the Israelites march around Jericho once a day for six days and then seven time on the seventh day.
      This command was given for a specific group of people at a specific time and place. It is not a command for Christians. I don’t know of any Christian who has made a pilgrimage to the ruins of ancient Jericho and then marched around it according to the instructions in Joshua 6.
      Are there insights to be learned from this passage? Of course. We need to trust that God will do what He says He will. We need to follow His instructions, even if they sound strange to us. But this passage, like many others, is not directly applicable.
      This is why it is important to understand the distinction between interpretation and application. As I’ve mentioned many times in this misused verses series, there is one right interpretation, but there may be many ways to apply it to our lives.
      I hope this helps.

  18. Thank you for your true statement. Another misused and abused passage is
    “Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Spirit.” Paul was referring to joining our bodies with a harlot, ths becoming one with her.

    For some reason Christians think that the passage refers to a legalistic system of eating our veggies, exercising, and the like. Paul wasn’t referring to any of that. He was referring to fornication.

    My grandmother would fail the legalistic approach. She smoked for 40 years, never exercised, was always overweight, and never ate veggies. She is 102, and has never had athritis, diabetes, cancer, dementia, or any other serious disease! She’s not in a walker and doesn’t use canes or wheelchairs.

  19. So we should NOT humble ourselves, and pray and seek HIS face, and turn from our wicked ways, with the expectation of our land being healed , because it was NOT a promise DIRECTLY to us….?( your words in context )

    You really don`t believe a land can be healed by Repentance , Prayer ,humbleness , and Seeking GOD ; Or you just don`t like the verse being used to initiate conviction towards that change ?

    The real question here is what`s your motive ?

    You even narrow your already narrow thinking down to ” individuals can`t even handpick verses that they like personally , and make it apply to themselves “.

    So , you also believe that if an individual Repents , prays , humbles them-self , and seeks GOD that ” their land ” ( personal body , life , relationships , etc. ) won`t be healed , correct ?

    IF we go by context , and your way of thinking alone , then NONE of The Bible was written Directly to us , therefore none of it is for us….

    Here`s where you error…. BAD Verse To Choose for your writing…..

    Because IF the Principles CAN still be taken and used , then the context is always correct.

    This would be a great teaching , IF it were used with a verse/passage that`s actually taken out of context ;

    Example : We are saved by grace , not works ( ephs. 2:8-9 ) being used as an excuse to ” live in ” perpetual, willful sin.

    BUT , not for a verse where the Principles STILL Apply.

    IF The United States , or any land for that matter , Repented , prayed , humbled themselves , and sought GOD I assure you ” their land ” will be Healed !

    There of course is a place for corrections in many circumstances , this is just not the place.

    Repent , pray , humble yourself , and seek GOD !

    Selah and Shalom.

    • Daniel,
      First, why did you end your comment with “Selah and Shalom” while using sarcasm and deliberately twisting my words throughout your comment? It seems rather disingenuous on your part.
      Second, nowhere did I encourage people to not humble themselves, pray, and seek His face. In fact, I encouraged these things. Here are my words, in context, that you seemed to have ignored. “I think it would be wonderful if every Christian would humble himself or herself and pray for our nation. It can’t hurt, and I think we would see God do some amazing things. However, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a divine promise to Christians in the United States that God will fix our nation. We don’t have such a guarantee in Scripture.” I stand by those words. The healing of the land aspect of 2 Chronicles 7:14 has to do with the actual physical land healing of the land itself, such as ending drought or pestilence (see v. 13), yet too many Christians want to interpret this passage spiritually, as if it is a promise that God has made to restore Christian morality to the U.S. so that we can be blessed by Him. That is not what this verse is about.
      Third, you’ve made some absurd claims about whether any of the Bible applies directly to us. It certainly does. Most of the NT epistles apply directly to us as do many of the teachings in the Gospels. For more details, see my comment to Nash dated 8/26/13 (below). But the church is not Israel and we cannot assume that the promises God made to the nation of Israel apply directly to the church, particularly when those promises are specifically about the land, something the church was never given.
      Fourth, no I don’t believe that “their land” should be applied to “personal body, life, relationships, etc.” because that’s not what the passage teaches, and to take it that way would be to twist Scripture. We are called to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), not to wrongly twist it to fit our personal desires. The idea also contradicts Scripture. Paul said that he prayed three different times for a “thorn in the flesh” to be taken away (2 Corinthians 12:7) but the Lord would not take it away. We aren’t sure what the thorn in the flesh was, but God does not promise to heal our bodies when we humble ourselves and seek Him.
      Finally, you questioned my motive in writing this, as if I have some sinister purpose in writing these blog posts. It should be fairly obvious to anyone reading this post, or any others within the series, that my goal is to help Christians to rightly interpret these passages in the Bible that are so often misinterpreted and misused. I even pointed out an example of a verse that I have misused in the past. So there is no ominous motivation behind the writing of the post. I hope it would be clear that the opposite is true. Rightly interpreting the Bible should be one of our highest priorities as Christians. God has given us His word to read, study, meditate on, and learn from. How could we possibly take that responsibility lightly?

      • Wow. I learned from both comments. I too had thought like Daniel. I understand his points. The more I grow in Him the more I see how we use scripture to suit our emotions, thoughts.I too am guilty of using verses incorrectly which I apologized for. Thankyou Tim for your response and helping us to gain wisdom in truly understanding His Word. Posts have helped me immensly in how I use scripture. Thankyou both for comment and reply to it.

  20. At a basic level, applying specific passages across dispensational lines leads to theological error and false hope. Applying, for instance, 2 Chron 7:14 to (insert gentile nation here) is being dishonest to the passage. Israel not only had a different relationship with the Lord, but theirs was (is) a covenant relationship that is unique in history. The basis for their national repentance is found in the typical Suzerain Vassal Treaty form (Deut) and specifically outlined in Deuteronomy chapter 28. The church, though called to pray for all men, especially those in authority (i.e. 1 Tim 2:1-2), is to expect persecution for her obedience. Israel was to expect peace for theirs. Additionally, the reference to “healing their land” is exclusively linked to the Abrahamic covenant. The Jews were given specific geography to occupy, the church is to be global in her occupation, hence the command to “make disciples of all nations”. They stay put, we advance.

  21. Thank u for the insight, I will surely consider all that was said.It was a blessings and very informative. God Bless!

  22. I must say that I too find that people misuse scripture out of context, But in King Solomon’s day, they were not called Jews, only the twelve tribes of Israel, The House of Judah (which later became known as Jews) and the House of Israel. If you research the term Jews you will find this only refers to the 2 1/2 tribes taken into Babylonian captivity, the other 10 1/2 tribes that were in Assyrian captivity were stated by Jesus himself as the LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. You see the ten and half tribes escaped into European Countries and in the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland and so forth. The mayflower was loaded down with Hebrew my brethren, and we are called by His name today!!!

    • Richard,
      I agree that the Israelites were not referred to as Jews until long after Solomon. However, I strongly disagree with your so-called “lost tribes” view. Jesus used the terminology about the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” in Matthew 10:6 and Matthew 15:24. A quick look at the context of these verses completely dismantles your idea.
      In Matthew 10:6, Jesus told the disciples to go preaching throughout the land of Israel and called them “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He said that they should not go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans. In other words, the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” referred to the Jewish people. And these weren’t only the descendants of Judah. Anna in Luke 2:36 was from the tribe of Asher. Capernaum was in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali (Matthew 4:13). Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Acts 13:21).
      In Matthew 15:24, Jesus is speaking to the Syro-Phoenician woman. She pleaded with Him to heal her daughter from demon-possession. Jesus didn’t respond at first, but when she kept pleading with Him, He said, “I was not sent except to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” She continued pleading with Him, and He eventually healed her daughter. The relevant point to our discussion is that Jesus referred to all of Israel (as opposed to Gentiles) as the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
      Sure, there are Jews scattered throughout the world, particularly since the 2nd century AD. But they have remained an identifiable ethnic group wherever they have gone through the centuries, and the Bible spells out God’s plan for the Jews in the future.

  23. I had a fellow Christian attack me over my openion on this ..telling me that I needed to repent…he was rude to the point to bullying me. I have agreed with this article for a long time and was in disbelief that Christians were trying to use it for their own benefit. Its strictly talking about healing the land during King Solomans reign..and I knew this for a long time….I had to block this person for his attacks and he is supposedly a Christian.

  24. …Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. (2 Chronicles 7:12–16, NKJV)

    A person that accepts Christ as Lord and Savior; becomes a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Which in turn, is sanctified, becomes a Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells in me.
    John 14:20, 15:4, 17:21
    1 Cor. 2:14
    “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
    The above verse explains why so many have a hard time understanding what is written in the Bible.
    Thanks

    • Pam, it’s true that believers become a temple of the Holy Spirit since He dwells within us. But that does not justify yanking a verse out of context (2 Chronicles 7:14) and making it a promise to Christians in America today.
      Also, it’s true that the natural man doesn’t accept the things of the Spirit of God. However, we are talking about believers who are misusing these verses. I think one of the major reasons people have such a hard time understanding what is written in the Bible is that they so often neglect what the text actually states. They ignore the context so that they can try to make it about their current circumstances as is so often done with this passage.

  25. Hi Tim. Am really motivtated to serious settle and take time to study Gods word. Many not only in the US but in our country Uganda as well have had many scripture character assasinated because we often want to read scripture for our selfish interests. The problem in the body of Christ is that its shepherd themselves donot want to sit and read we are in the business world. I beg to findout, are there some Bible chapters that are direct to life application and other which are indirect and need proper interpretation ? This because as a graduate of Biblical counseling and psychology, i have had a pastor in a fellowship say that “there are some scriptures which must be applied directly” i need some light on the two.

    • Hi Nash,
      That’s an interesting question. How do we know if/when a verse is directly applicable to us and when one isn’t? I think that most cases are pretty easy to determine the correct answer, but there are a handful of difficult passages in this regard.
      Here’s an easy one. Jesus instructed His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey all things that He had commanded them (Matthew 28:18–20). Those words were specifically addressed to the disciples shortly before Jesus ascended. Are they for us today? Look at what He said. He wanted His disciples to teach their disciples to obey everything that He had commanded them. This would include the command that He just gave them (to make disciples). So their disciples were supposed to make disciples, who would in turn make more disciples and so on. So this command is certainly for believers today.
      Some passages were obviously for a specific time and/or place. In 2 Timothy 4:9, Paul told Timothy to be diligent to come to him quickly. Obviously, we cannot follow this command today. It was for Timothy, and only Timothy.
      A difficult one is found in 1 Corinthians 11. Was the command for women to have their heads covered a cultural command (for that time and place) or a command for all believers from that point on? Christians disagree on this subject and there are some denominations where the women will cover their heads at certain points. They believe this passage transcends that time and place. Others claim that this was specifically for the women in the Corinthian church for various reasons. I have my own thoughts on it, but wherever someone lands on this, it clearly is a bit more difficult than some other passages.
      So when considering these things, you need to examine the context of what is being said. Is it possible for you to follow that command today? Is it something that is directed to a certain person or group at a certain time? Are there principles that can be drawn from the specific command that can be followed?
      I hope this helps.

      • What we all can agree on is that it is not an issue on salvation. Either is it an issue on sanctification. I found this comment satisfying.

        uncovered. In the culture of Corinth, a woman’s covered head while ministering or worshiping was a symbol to signify a subordinate relationship to her husband. The apostle is not laying down an absolute law for women to wear veils or coverings in all churches for all time, but is declaring that the symbols of the divinely-established male and female roles are to be genuinely honored in every culture. As in the case of meat offered to idols (chaps. 8, 9), there is nothing spiritual about wearing or not wearing a covering. But manifesting rebellion against God’s order was wrong.

        disgraces her head. “Head” may refer to her own self being disgraced by refusing to conform to recognized symbols of submission, or to her husband, who is disgraced by her behavior. (MacArthur Study Bible)

  26. Hi Tim, Thanks for lifting out 2 Chronicle 7:14 and exposing the erroneous manner that it is being quoted; I have heard it so often. Surely out LORD blesses us in an abundance of ways when we humble ourselves in our ways and walk before HIM, but as you have pointed out in such a humble way, this Scripture was not given for the US of A, nor for South Africa(where I live) or any other country for that matter. Our life style should be one of humility plus all the other attributes of a believer – then we can live in HOPE!

  27. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for your insights. I agree concerning the distinctions between Israel and the NT Church. It is incorrect for us to think that the USA has some preferential treatment by God that is above His love for any nation on earth. While He will fulfill His promises concerning Israel, it will happen as Israel confesses and submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    I also agree that principles revealed in the OT apply today as God’s character and and nature has not changed. Thus, to me, II Chron. 7:14 is applicable to my life and to the local church in as much as the “land” is our hearts. The rain that will come on my “land” (my heart) is the rain of the Holy Spirit! The goal of my Lord Jesus is for His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to “rain” on my heart so that He can “reign” in my heart! When that happens, I become “kingdomized”. Since I am to seek His Kingdom, that is how I live obediently today, to seek to be baptized into the Holy Spirit. Thus, the application of II Chron. 7:14 is to my heart, not to the USA. Of course, the more people in the USA whose hearts belong to the Holy Spirit, the more the USA will be blessed!

  28. I enjoyed your book on cancer, being a survivor it really lifted me. Another misquoted verse is “behold I stand at the door and knock” that verse is written to believers I(how sad He has to knock to enter our hearts) not unbelievers like many quote that verse.

    • Thanks for the kind words Robert. I’m glad you enjoyed the book, and it’s good to hear from a fellow survivor. Revelation 3:20 is certainly another misused verse. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the intentions that many people have who misuse it, the verse does not really mean what most people think it does.

  29. Tim,

    Couldn’t agree more. I have wondered if this were true about other OT verses where God makes promises to people of Israel. Verses that we as Christians tend to “adopt.” Again, as you have stated, not that there isn’t something for us to learn from the verses.

    I would be curious about your take on Malachi 3:8-12 for example. It’s not (at all) as though we shouldn’t give, or tithe, but the promise in verse 10 particularly catches my attention in light of your post regarding the 2 Chronicles 7 passage.

    Thank you, brother, for your work.
    God bless.

    • Hi Korey,
      I think Malachi 3:8-12 is misused by a bunch of Christians as well, particularly in certain denominations that like to speak about tithing. It’s interesting that the New Testament doesn’t contain any commands to Christians about tithing. The handful of uses of that term refer to the OT regulations. Paul made it pretty clear in 2 Corinthians 8-9 that what one should cheerfully give as the Lord directs. It isn’t necessarily about doing the 10%. It may be much more than that for some people or less for others. Some people can give their time and energy, but can contribute very little in terms of money. But as you probably know, that message scares some pastors and church boards who fear that they may not receive enough to pay the bills and the salaries. I would argue that God will always provide what is needed for those who are doing His will.

      • Do you believe that 10% offering was established well before Malachi well before Levitical Law. It was established under the order of Melchizedek? I have read that Church tithing began in the late nineteenth century when a Wesleyan Church started the practice as a fund raising effort. What are your thoughts?

        • Hi Sara,

          Simply put, there is not a single command given in the New Testament for Christians to tithe. There are very clear examples of people giving to the local church for the work of ministry, and Paul praises certain people for giving above and beyond. There are instructions about how to handle the resources God has given us, and we are to be good stewards of them. Paul said that the elders who rule well are worthy of double honor (likely a reference to payment in some form), especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. So there is an expectation in the New Testament that believers would give to the local church, but there is not a set amount or percentage that they are required to give. 2 Corinthians 9 talks about giving generously, and that each one should give what he has purposed in his own heart. Essentially, the amount one gives is really between the individual and God. We should give whatever we believe God has directed us to give.
          Regarding Melchizedek and the 10% that Abram gave him, I think we need to be careful with passages like this. We are told what Abram did in this passage, but nowhere are we told that this amount will one day be binding on all Christians. So even if this is what believers gave to the Lord’s work prior to the Mosaic Law, it would not prove that modern believers are under any such stipulation.
          I hope this helps.

  30. Hi Tim,
    Thanks so much for these words. I have so often been frustrated with Christians who use this verse as though it were a blanket statement for all time. There are so many verses that we pick out because they fit what we want them to say to us. One that comes to mind is Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard others use that to explain how God is going to “prosper” them and “protect” them from all harm. Context is so important, and it is a difficult lesson to learn for many Christians.
    Keep up the great lessons.

    • Hi Jan. Thanks for the kind words. I completely agree.
      It’s funny that you mentioned Jeremiah 29:11 since I’ve already written the next post in this series and it is on that verse. I’ll probably post it tomorrow so be sure to check back. God bless!

  31. RE: 1 Corinthians 2:9

    Essentially what you’re saying is that this verse says much the same thing as 2 Peter 1:19 when it speaks of the word of prophecy made more sure. The previous section talks about the Transfiguration and how, having witnessed this event, Peter was certain that they were not following cleverly devised fables. Furthermore, either by witnessing this event [likely] or by fulfilled prophecy [possibly implied given the next several verses following] or a combination of both, Peter was now more certain of the truth of Biblical prophecy. He goes on to expound on the origin of such prophecy. Interestingly, perhaps as much as 27% of the Bible consists of prophecy, a good lot of it fulfilled and fulfilled in Christ at that, so I use this supernatural authentification as a key evidence for the authority of God’s revealed Word.

    • Hi Tony,
      I think they are similar. I agree with your comments on 2 Peter 1:19. Peter stressed that even though he witnessed the amazing event of the Transfiguration, he trusted the Word of God more than his own experience(s). In 1 Corinthians 2:9, I think the idea is that there were certain concepts that were hidden in OT times but were revealed in NT times. The emphasis in both cases is on the truth God reveals to man takes priority.
      Thanks for your thoughts on this. God bless!

  32. Hi Tim,

    This is a good post about context, which is important when we’re using Bible verses. Here’s a question though; do you think the verse’s promise could be transferrable to those grafted into the vine (Christians) in consideration of 1 Cor 3:16-17, 1 Cor 6:19-20, and Ephesians 2:19-22 and the idea that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? The last part of the context you quoted above really struck me as being applicable to a Christian of any era: “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” It sounds like He’s talking right to a believer. And if that part could apply to a Christian, couldn’t the earlier verses apply as well? Maybe I’m making too big of a jump in the temple metaphor though.

    Not trying to being argumentative, just wondering what your thoughts on the idea are.

    As for your second point, I’ve honestly never read that verse as referring to heaven, but I can definitely understand how it could be applicable to what God has in store for us after this life. I can’t imagine it. I try, but I know I’m not even getting close.

    God bless!

    Stephen Porter Manifest Blog

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for the kind words again. 🙂
      I would agree with you to a point. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and in that sense, God has placed His name in us. As I mentioned in the post, there are certainly some principles that we can draw from this as Christians. However, notice that this particular promise from God contains a promise about healing the land of Israel from pestilence or drought. Although many have tried to connect many blessings promised to Israel in the Old Testament and transfer them to the Church in the New Testament, this has often been carried too far. Sure, there are similar blessings that apply to both groups, but there are some differences. Most notably, what land or nation belongs to the Church? The answer is that we have not been given a promise of land like the Jews were given. As such, this verse does not pertain directly to the Church as so many have claimed. But I would reiterate that there most definitely are some principles we can draw from it.
      Thanks for reading and for the discussion! God bless!

      • Thank you and others who break down the literal meaning of who, what, where, and when God’s word means. You can write a BOOKS in reference to the same break down of bible. We in the earth today better stop trying to intellectualize pen point exactly what God is saying and Hear What he’s saying to o ur spiritual hearts and take heed! Jesus used Parables to teach. Why don’t we break them down and tell people all over the world that what He was saying was not meant for certain people and that is not the time, place, people, or piece of land He was talking about or talking to. THINK ABOUT IT. Come on…..Man……….! God’s Talking, are We really Hearing and Listening to what He’s Saying to Us, or we just spending time breaking it down and breaking it out, and sounding Good. Jesus kept it simple, why we can’t do the same. If all the People on the Earth would apply II Chron 7:14 and apply to their Lives, the earth-the LAND, and Every Human Being on it and in it would be 100% better Now. I expect my comment will encourage to be know truth and don’t try to figure out how God’s convicts and make changes in ours hearts. I’m talking about you “Heart” that pumps Blood! Do You Hear Me NOW. LOL

        • Leon,
          It is precisely because it is God who is speaking through Scripture that it is so important for us to understand the who, what, where, and when of what is written. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who do not need to be ashamed who rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Pulling verses out of context in an effort to make them mean something other than what they do shows a lack of respect for God’s Word. Yes, there are principles that can be applied to our lives, as I have stated in the post and many, many times in the responses to comments. Yes, we would be better off if everyone humbled themselves and prayed. No question. But we don’t need to misuse 2 Chronicles 7:14 to tell us that.
          Also, regarding your other question, for some reason the post I approved did show up twice in my moderation panel (at 11:17 and 11:29). I’m not sure why it did that, but I’m sure that is why you received the message you asked about.

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