The Third Word: Scripture twisting is blasphemy

The Third Commandment:  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” 

The Westminster Larger Catechism gives a biblical exposition of the sins forbidden in the Third Commandment.  Let’s consider one of the phrases found in answer 113:  “The sins forbidden… are …misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it…”

To mishandle the Word of God is to take the Name of God in vain.  God’s Name is one part of His self-disclosure in His Word.  God reveals Himself, He reveals His Name, by His Word. To misinterpret, misapply, or pervert His Word is blasphemy.

Consider what the apostle Peter says about the writings of the apostle Paul.  In 2 Peter, chapter 3, Peter speaks God’s Word about the second coming of Christ, and the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness.  In light of Christ’s return and the renewal of all things, we are to be diligent to be found in Christ, without spot and blameless.  In verses 15 & 16, Peter writes, …the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Twisting or perverting the Scriptures is deadly, dangerous business.  It blasphemes God’s Name, and it exposes us to destruction – to God’s eternal judgment.  To take the meaning or application of God’s Word lightly is to take the Name of God lightly.  It is to profane His Name.  And yet we are so ready to speak our opinions about the meaning and application of God’s Word.  Did you ever think that certain kinds of Bible study, where Christians sit around and talk about what a passage “means to me,” may well be an exercise in blasphemy?  Potentially in “twisting the Scriptures”?  That God’s Name is taken in vain to an even greater degree than what you might hear at a local sports bar?  Not merely USING God’s Name in an empty, irreverent way – but misinterpreting and misapplying His Word.  TWISTING the Scriptures.

The Word of God is not about you, or me, or “what it means to me.”  The Word of God is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word of God made flesh.  The One who came to perfectly reveal the meaning of God’s Word – and its application.  He came to show us that God’s Law is true.  We are sinners – blasphemers – worthy of destruction.  And yet, He gives His own flesh on the Cross to bear the destruction, the judgment, we deserve in our place.  To forgive us our sins.  To justify us.  To reconcile us to God.  To renew us – as those who would treasure God’s Word as the revelation of His mercy and grace to us in Jesus.

So let us repent of our casual, proud, self-centered commentary on God’s Word.  Let us embrace by faith this Jesus – crucified and risen – who is the whole point of God’s Word.  And by His grace, let us see and confess our sin, and our Savior, whenever we open our Bibles, or our mouths about God’s Word.

Published by pastor tony phelps

Pastor of Christ Our Hope PCA in Wakefield, RI

3 replies on “The Third Word: Scripture twisting is blasphemy”

  1. Reblogged this on Stepping Toes and commented:
    Many people do take the Name of God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah in vain. Many also twist the Words of God, placing it in such a way it can fit their Trinitarian doctrine and denominational teachings.

    We should carefully read that Word of God, given to us in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. TO get to knowledge and to find the Truth we should dare to put away our previously learned denominational catechism or church teachings. Looking at the words black on white taking them for what they stand we shall see the light and find insight. Praying before reading the Bible shall help you to get the strength of the Most High to enlighten you by His Holy Spirit.


  2. Oh, dear. Your re-blog and commentary are an inference drawn from Scripture. You are not simply re-stating Bible verses. You are engaged in a form of catechesis. The questions are: Does your inference follow from Scripture? Is your catechesis biblically sound? To determine that, since God’s Word is the ultimate authority, you must compare scripture with scripture, especially seeking to understand less clear passages in light of the more clear. If you do so by the grace of God, I am confident that you will find that God is one, in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the Father sent His Son in love that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; that Jesus is God the Son made flesh, who died for our sins and rose from the dead – your only hope to be reconciled to God; that the Holy Spirit is also a divine person, who brings conviction of sin and righteousness by the Word of Law and Gospel. Who knows? You may even find that Westminster is a fine and faithful exposition of Scripture, and abandon your sectarian teachings for biblical, historic, Reformational orthodoxy. God grant it!


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