Certain Bible verses make the most quoted and popular list in church and Christian circles. But sometimes we miss important truths or gloss over the context of the passage. Or, we memorize a verse without considering the Bible verses before and after.

So I highlight 4 Bible verses in this post and discuss their neighboring Scriptures.

Popular Bible Verses

1) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

You see, to know God has plans for our welfare, future, and hope, taps into our longing to be affirmed and loved and cared for.

But Jeremiah pens God’s words in a letter to God’s people in exile. “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place” (verse 10).

Yet, the Lord planned to restore the exiles and bring them back to Jerusalem. And God has restoration plans for us.

God always brings us back to His Jerusalem, a place of spiritual thriving.

Now, look at the Scriptures that follow verse 11. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart” (verses 12-13).

Because when we call upon the Lord, seek Him with all our heart, we find welfare and hope for wholeness.*

2) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Romans 3:23 and other Bible verses throughout Romans make up the Romans Road, a method for sharing the plan of salvation. Trained in this approach, I committed Romans 3:23 to memory.

But while studying Romans years later, the unexpected happened when I read verse 23 and 24 together of Romans 3.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Notice the conjunction “and” connecting the thoughts in verse 23 to the thoughts in verse 24. Yes, we are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. And we are justified by grace, a gift through the redemption provided in Jesus.

Christians…

Sinners and justified.

Fall short and given grace.

Under penalty and redeemed.

Since God brings us out of our former sin condition, He is the “justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

More Highly Quoted Bible Verses

3) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9b NLT).

Oh, how I always loved the mystery of this Bible verse. And hearing God’s people speak of it in awe and wonder—and goose bumps—of the Lord’s hidden secrets to come. Still, when we look at the passage further, we understand further.

Paul’s teaching here is clear. Wisdom comes from the Spirit and not from the rulers of the age. “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

To summarize Paul’s words in the verses following verse 9. God revealed this hidden wisdom to us through His Spirit, who searches the depths of God. We received the Spirit from God “that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (verse 12 ESV). Paul concludes, “But we have the mind of Christ” (verse 16b).

So let’s ask God to open our eyes, ears, and mind to what He’s prepared for us…for the Spirit’s wisdom. And, yes, even goose bumps, not in hidden things but in imparted things freely given to us.

4) “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b).

Well-meaning Christians encouraged me with this Scripture as a way to resist temptation.

However, they left out important context and content in the chapter. First, James warns against wrong passions and friendship with the world.

But these believers also omitted the first part of verse 7,  “Submit yourselves therefore to God” then resist.

Until we submit our passions, desires, and entire being to God, we can’t resist the devil—not in our own strength.

Further still, the following verse holds another key to overcoming the devil. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Ouch! Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. But it remains true, God speaks His promises full on and holds nothing back.

So when we submit to God and draw near to Him, we send Satan running! When God is near, the devil has no choice but to hightail it out of our life.

I love the mental image of the devil hightailing it out of my life, don’t you?

So go ahead. Close your eyes. And imagine Satan fleeing from you. Now smile and remember how-to make it happen.

*The 2002 edition of my ESV Bible uses “wholeness” in place of “welfare.” Unless noted, all Scripture is ESV.

Featured image was taken of me reading my Bible at Doe River Gorge in TN, design courtesy of Adobe Spark.

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Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. She’s an award-winning writer and avid speaker who loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, Karen has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing and business development roles. Karen earned a communications degree and has experience in a broad spectrum of business services where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week. Hope is Among Us is an award-winning blog that expresses scriptural truths as life happens. Karen has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media. An inspirational speaker, she addresses a wide variety of audiences. Karen is passionate about mentoring women and discipleship that helps followers of Christ live with authentic faith in real life. Karen and her husband Mike Friday reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology.

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