There Is No God


Sep 20, 2022

—Psalm 14:1 NLT

Do you know this verse? Actually it’s just part of a verse. And
when taken by itself, it is totally out of context.

If you tried to pass it off as a complete quote from the Bible,
most people would instantly recognize the absurdity of such a
blatant untruth. After all, the Bible is God’s autobiography. The
book’s entire purpose is to proclaim His eternal existence and
extraordinary attributes.

For the record, the full verse reads, “Only fools say in their
hearts, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!” (NLT).

Even an atheist who read the entire verse would discern that
the four-word phrase, “There is no God,” does not reflect the mean-
ing or intent of the author.

While that statement is easily recognized as misleading, the
danger of taking biblical passages out of context is very real. Too
many Christians know or recognize small snippets of the Bible
but fail to see the big picture. They embrace a biblical concept but
neglect to read the surrounding verses and other references that
would help them understand the entire scriptural and historical

We Christians love to display our favorite verses on plaques,
bumper stickers, posters, and framed needlepoint pictures:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.”
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy bur-
dens, and I will give you rest.”

But what about the surrounding verses? What does the entire
chapter—not just the single verse—reveal about the nature of
God, His purpose for our lives, and all that other good stuff? Let’s
not be afraid to sweat the details.

Often, right on the same page where we are reading, we can
find supporting arguments, corollaries, and deeper truths. On the
other hand, sometimes the very next verse seems to say the exact
opposite, and that’s something that we shouldn’t take lightly.

Even worse, it’s tempting to elevate the meaning of a short
passage that makes us feel good about ourselves or even seems to
condone errant behavior. The challenge is to move beyond pithy
quotes and easy answers to arrive at solid biblical truth.

So, please: Keep memorizing your favorite verses. Jot them on
notecards. Do sword drills with your kids. Write them on your
doorposts. But always, always, always take your favorite passage in context. Together, that’s what we’ll be doing in the pages ahead with
60 well-known, well-loved verses and passages.

Prepare to be a little surprised. You’ll smile and nod your head
in recognition of the passage that begins each chapter, but then
we’ll look at the verses that come next or even before, as well as
other nearby and related passages that explain, expand, seemingly
contradict, or just make you say, “Wow. I hadn’t thought of that.”

Our goal is to go deeper into the Scriptures and arrive at the
ultimate purpose—being transformed into the image of Jesus

Will you promise yourself this? Before you quote it, cross-
stitch it, or leave it on your voicemail, commit to reading the next verse.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Then you will love Jay Payleitner’s devotional Next Verse: What You Never Knew About 60 of Your Favorite Bible Passages.

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