Blog: Max Dawson
January 21, 2016
It’s a verse lots of folks talk about. That’s especially true among those who are of a mind to “claim” Scriptures. Those folks find a verse that sounds good and then “claim” the promise found in it. They “speak” it for themselves.
I am not suggesting that it is wrong to apply the word of God to yourself. But the word of God needs to be properly applied in context. We need to be discerning because not every verse applies to you or me.
The verse under consideration is Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
This verse, isolated from its context contains beautiful thoughts. But, that’s just the problem–isolating it from its context! It sounds good to apply it to yourself. It sounds like nothing but blessing. This verse is widely promoted by the proponents of the “health and wealth gospel.” It is claimed that you should “confess” this verse and the blessings will come rolling in.
But the context shows something very different. Jeremiah writes in the context of the Babylonian captivity–a judgment from God that would last for 70 years. God’s purpose for the captivity was not to destroy Israel, but to punish. It would be severe and lengthy. The Jews of Jerusalem would lose everything. But at the end of this judgment from God there would be restoration. Those who were punished would yet have a hope and a future. God’s intent in sending the judgment was to correct them. Many would die by the sword; some would starve; others would be enslaved. But it would not be the end of the Jews. There would yet be hope.
Those who claim this verse give no thought to the fact that it is written in a context about awful judgment. Respecting context is the first rule of Bible study.
What do we learn from this? You can’t just pluck verses out of context and apply them to yourself. Pay attention to context!

Here are some verses–properly understood in context–that you can apply to yourself.
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)
“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Study these verses in context. You will see that each one applies to people in need of salvation. “Claim” these.

Blessings to you and yours,