Proof Texting For Fun and Profit


Have you ever wanted to prove your opinions with irrefutable support from Scripture but just didn’t know how? Well today, I’m going to show you how easy it is to defend just about any belief you may have from Scripture with the tool of prooftexting. How great it will be to know that all of your thoughts, opinions, and wild guesses are completely Biblical!

The steps are simple

I. Start with a full text…

1 Corinthians 14:26-33 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

II. Yank out a phrase…
“For God is not the author of confusion”

III. Create an interpretation…
God doesn’t like people to ever be confused.

IV. Apply it…
Major premise: God doesn’t like people to ever be confused.
Minor premise: Your disagreement with my belief on anything is going to cause confusion.
Conclusion: Your disagreement is of the Devil.

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to being the most biblical person you know!

136 thoughts on “Proof Texting For Fun and Profit”

    1. Those were my first two thoughts as well.

      The post was great and after reading those KJV verses, I understand why some fundy’s struggle with understanding scripture in its proper context. It’s difficult to read without mentality checking out after a few verses.

      Thank you Lord for the abundance of readable interpretations of scripture that you have given us. We are truly blessed in this day and age.

  1. I do that all the time.

    Proverbs 30:6 “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”

    This CLEARLY explains why in our efforts to spread the bible across the whole world, we could save some serious money, or print twice the number of bibles by simply ignoring everything written after Proverbs.

  2. I’ll try my hand at it, from Leviticus 10! (KJV, of course):

    8And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,
    9Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
    10And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

    Note the phrase: “DO NOT DRINK WINE NOR STRONG DRINK.” now, move down to verse 10: “THAT YE MAY PUT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOLY AND UNHOLY.”

    Conclusion: God wants us to be holy. In Leviticus 10, the command is to not drink wine or strong drink. This is why we should not drink any form of alcohol, because drinking makes us unholy. Therefore drinking is a sin and an abomination.

    How did I do??? 😀

    1. While reading that, I thought you were going to go from Leviticus 10:9 to 1 Corinthians 6:19 (What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost). Either way, it “works” as well as all other fundy prooftexting. 😆

  3. Women with their hair up in a top knot are not truly using their hair as a head covering, since the hair is pulled off the neck. Did not our Lord command, “Top knot go down!” (Mark 13:15)

    And let him that is on the house _top not go down_ into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:

  4. My church was big on using Isaiah 47:1-3 as proof that women should not wear anything above the knee, saying that this passage describes the “attire of a harlot”:

    Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

    They didn’t appreciate it when I asked how a harlot could be a virgin. 😈 😈

      1. caused a little lust as well it would seem… I read that and suddenly I saw every woman in the office wearing only leg warmers… but since there are no women in this office is it really lust?
        However, I may need intensive therapy now cause I accidentally pictured Billy Ray *twitch*in leggins…(doing the Flashdance*twitch* Scene no less) 😯 bleh!

      1. Beloved,
        I think that particular interpretation came to my church courtesy of Andy Tully, who has been a member of my home church for a number of years. He also operates his Bible institute out of my home church. He’s a personal friend, but I disagree with a lot of his theology.
        I am so grateful I went to Maranatha. It was different enough from what I grew up in that I was able to see through all of the craziness. I am afraid that if I had gone to one of the other colleges I was considering (Crown or Oklahoma) I would have fallen right in line and would have continued down the path I was on.

    1. My parents used this exact verse as one more reason to defend KJVO – God is not the author of confusion, and it’s confusing if the pastor reads something and it’s different that what’s in your Bible.

      1. and it’s confusing if the pastor reads something and it’s different that what’s in your Bible.

        In the IFB churches I came out of that was a frequent occurance even with everyone having a King James. 😯

  5. This one actually happened to me. Here is the full passage

    Proverbs 23:29-end
    29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
    Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
    30 Those who tarry long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
    31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
    32 In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
    33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
    34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast. [8]
    35 “They struck me,” you will say, [9] “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
    When shall I awake?
    I must have another drink.”

    Take only this verse 31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.

    The Bible clearly states to not even look at wine much less drink it therefore you should not drink.

    My response was, among other things, Paul tells Timothy that drinking a little wine could be good for certain reasons. His response, not kidding. “We know scripture cannot contradict itself so therefore Paul must be talking about something else.” Or maybe Proverbs, in context, is talking about something else, namely outright S!@# Faced drunkenness.

    1. Yeah. Our pastor used the “look not on the wine” verse to preach [read: scream] that we were not even supposed to walk down the liquor aisle at the store. 🙄

        1. Let’s try that again, George:
          Blind people can have as much wine as they want, since that would NOT necessitate their looking at it, or even seeing it.

        2. Or we could drink non-red wine really really quickly (not lingering) without looking at it. And then we’d be OK.

  6. A preacher that my son had for a Bible class in a fundy high school would pull out the “God is not the author of confusion” thing whenever any of the kids asked questions that challenged the fundy line.

  7. My turn:
    Deuteronomy 25:13-15:
    13Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

    In other words, only one unit of weight and one unit of volume are permitted.

    Here’s my Biblically-correct cake recipe:
    1 pound of flour
    1 pound of sugar
    1 pound of salt
    1 pound of vanilla extract
    1 pound of eggs
    1 pound of milk
    1 pound of baking powder
    1 pound of cinnamon
    1 pound of nutmeg
    1 pound of allspice
    1 pound of lemon zest
    Grease a cooking vessel with one pound of oil. Mix all the ingredients well. Pour them in the vessel, put it in the oven, and hope for the best.

    1. Big Gary – What about our readers who are not from the US and therefore use the metric system? Would this recipe not cause some….confusion? And since God is not the author of confusion I would have to say that your recipe is of the devil and is evil. :mrgreen:

      1. I’m not sure the Metric System is old enough to be spiritually acceptable; better make it an ephah of each ingredient instead.

        Ezekiel 45:10 (KJV 1611):
        “Ye shall haue iust ballances, and a iust Ephah, and a iust Bath.”

        1. Some translations say, “… a full ephah and a full bath.”

          I take this to mean that it is a sin to bathe with the tub only partially filled with water.
          I understand there is some sectarian difference between those who insist that the bathtub must be full before you enter it (thus spilling a good deal of water on the floor), and those modernists who say that it’s acceptable to fill the tub to rim after you’ve sat down in it instead of before.

      1. I think you’re right. But keeping diving weights in a bag is forbidden. And you can’t keep diver’s measures in the house. They should be stored in a shed outside.

  8. I don’t know if this is a strictly Fundy thing though. As a recovering Charismatic, it strikes me that the ‘signs & wonders’ crowd is pretty adept at this kind of ‘proofing’. I seem to recall Acts 19 1-4 as a support for for ‘tongues’ & such as validation of conversion. No tongues? Oh well, you must be: under a generational curse/trapped in secret sin/agent of Satan, etc…and I can prove it with Scripture!

    1. Yeah, this was my experience. Sermons were “holy spirit-led” which meant that the pastor (under the spirit of God) could look at any scripture and make any sermon about it because that’s what the holy spirit was telling him.

        1. I have a friend who still goes there under the coercion of her parents and she tells me that the pastor continues to get stranger and stranger with his sermons. One Sunday recently the pastor just read the entire book of James and then told the congregation to listen to what the holy spirit had to say about them about it. All my friend could say was, “I think he ran out of material.”

        2. @Maybe Gray
          I read that link and wow…that sounds a LOT like the way my church and family approached the Bible. And God was always unhappy with me because every time I flipped open the Bible it was about God’s wrath, and obviously flipping open the Bible was the way God would specifically talk to a person, so if I flipped open to those scriptures they were meant for me.

          Thanks so much for the link!

  9. This is done constantly with I Thessalonians 5:22, which the KJV mistranslated as “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” which can cover pretty much every single thing you could ever think or hope or want to do.

    From the Greek it should actually be translated (as in the ESV) “Abstain from every form of evil,” or loosely, “Abstain from evil when it appears.”

    It’s a pretty huge linguistical difference that has kept people beaten down for years.

  10. I’ve heard CCM preached against because of the “vain repetition” clause in Matthew 6:7, because clearly any song written after 1950 employs vain repetition.

    The big shocker visiting a contemporary worship service while away from Fundy U for a week? Most of the songs had a depth of theology I’d never heard before. That was the beginning of the end for me. 🙂

      1. Yes, because when those of us who believed them completely discovered that they were wrong (either from ignorance but perhaps from purposefull deception), we decide that they are not to be trusted or listened to or followed. I believe Proverbs talks about how a brother offended is harder to be won than a walled city. Well, the fundy un-truths certainly offended me.

    1. @mounty, Just a couple weeks ago, an old man in our church was complaining about the “camp-fire music” we’ve been singing. Well, he’s 80 years old and was choir director at a former church for 20 years so I get that he just doesn’t enjoy our passionate praise, but he too pulled out the old “godly music isn’t repetitive.” Next time he says it, though, I want to ask him to really listen to the lyrics of the “Hallelujah Chorus”.

      1. I refer to the Hallelujah Chorus when I have to confront the “vain repetition” charge. I also mention that if you sing all the verses-with-refrains of “Blessed Be the Name” (blessed be the name, blessed….of the Lord), you’ve sung that phrase 24 times! 🙄

        1. IF they speak out on vain repetition again, point them to Psalm 136. (In one of my classes a couple years ago, my prof did an entire lecture solely on the aspects of different kinds of Christian music)

        2. @supernova: Right! I’ve used that one a lot. The Psalms are a great resource. When folks complain that some “worship” songs are too short to say much (which can be true), I point them to Psalm 117.
          I often say that most people don’t think about music; they feel about music.

    2. When I lived down south, I’m pretty sure I heard CCM preached about more then Jesus. 🙁 You can draw it out of any verse. My favorite was the ‘horrible pit’ in Psalms, although ‘vain repitition’ was also good.

      1. haha, i remember frank garlock preaching at bju one time about the “horrible pit” and how the hebrew can supposedly mean a “noisy” pit – NOISY LIKE ROCK N ROLL!!! (i kid you not!)

        also: since God has given the christian a “new song,” we shouldn’t listen to CCM/rock music (for that’s the “old song” of the unregenerate man). we should listen to hymns/classical/fundy-approved music. my question always was what if you liked classical music BEFORE becoming a christian? what’s you’re new song then? the assumption is that to be unsaved is to listen to Led Zeppelin, apparently.

    3. “Most of the songs had a depth of theology I’d never heard before.”

      So true, mounty. I was introduced to some awesome CCM early in life, so I never really bought the ‘hymns are deep, CCM is weak-sauce’ argument. But especially after singing ‘Honey in the Rock’ in the pew, then going home to listen to some Michael Card. 😀

      The funny thing is, most of the ‘spiritually rich hymns’ they breg about in the hymn book have amillennial or holiness movement doctrine. That’s probably why we always skip the third verse. 😛

      1. Is that why they always skip the third verse? I’ve always wondered. I hate it when they do that. I like singing all the verses (part of my quirkiness, I guess).

        I must admit I like hymns, although I agree about the depth of theology not being exclusive to hymns. But hymns are familiar and comforting and I KNOW THE WORDS and the melodies are simple, which for musically-challenged me is a good thing. I find CCM difficult to sing along to, so I actually prefer to sing hymns in church. But that’s my preference.

    4. The truth is that most songs and other pieces of music feature repetition, both of musical phrases and of words (if there are words). This has been true since music was first invented by the Neanderthals or the Australopithecines, or whoever invented it.

    5. Absolutely. One of the reasons that I listen the Lecrae, Trip Lee and the rest of the 116 guys more than any other music. Some of the most doctrinally sound and focused music I’ve ever heard and when I met Lecrae he seemed to be someone who truly lived what he rapped about.

      1. Like! and absolutely agree with the above statement. I don’t even like rap that much, and I love listening to these guys. They are reaching a different culture and generation with their music. You should try Shai Linne.

  11. My “favorite” (as in, the one that’s caused me the most frustration over the years) is the “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” verse, which was usually interpreted in my former circles to mean use your fickle, fleeting feelings and emotions like a diving rod to figure out if you’re supposed to attend that college, take that job, accept that marriage proposal, or wear that outfit today. As a person who suffers from OCD and general anxiety, this strategy of decision-making never worked for me. I was anxious about everything all the time for no logical reason. Even no-brainers, like marrying my husband.

    The realization that my condition prevented me from making decisions the way they said I was supposed to (and that I’d have to find another way to know if God approved of me transferring schools or taking that job offer) led to study and questions about how to make decisions biblically, which led to questioning about what I was taught–it was the beginning of the end for me.

  12. Thank you everyone. I have probably never had such a good laugh about myself and almost everyone else I used to know back in the Brethren thirty five years ago. Now is there a twelve step group anywhere for this stuff….?

  13. What bothers me is that so many people do this without even knowing it. I am still getting over certain assumptions about passages that have been drilled into me over a long period of time. You might call this accidental proof-texting.

    I think (as others have mentioned already) that this sort of thing is especualy rampant among KJV only people. In some passages, this is because the KJV is simply weak or slightly off on that text. Don’t get me wrong, the KJV is my favorite translation and it is usually very good, but sometimes the NASB or the ESV or whatever translation, simply has a better or more understandable way of translating or phrasing a given text.

    The main problem with being KJV Only as it relates to proof texting is familiarity. The phrase ‘God is not the author of confusion’ or ‘happy the man who hath his quiver full of them’ or ‘remove not the ancient landmarks’ has taken on a culturally specific connotation among the KJV only Fundamentalists that is almost completely separated form the actually meaning of the words. When we read a passage, these phrases jump out at us and are internally, almost instantly interpreted as the fundy concept that has been forcibly injected into the phrase.

    1. “The phrase ‘God is not the author of confusion’ or ‘happy the man who hath his quiver full of them’ or ‘remove not the ancient landmarks’ has taken on a culturally specific connotation among the KJV only Fundamentalists that is almost completely separated form the actually meaning of the words”

      you’ve hit the problem perfectly.

  14. Oh yes, I have heard Isaiah 47 misinterpreted in the same fashion many times. Every spring, in anticipation of the warmer weather, our pastor would preach on modesty. (Special just for the women folk.) He would freak at the thought of the summer heat and lived in fear of women baring their skin to keep cool. This annual “what not to wear” sermon usually came in two parts on Sunday nights and included preaching on why “the ladies” should not wear pants. One of his favorite analogies: “Even the world knows that a woman should be in a dress! Just take a look at the doors of a public restroom. On the door of the ladies room is a stick figure wearing a dress.” I KID YOU NOT.

    1. Well, what better text to base sermons on than signs on restroom doors?

      “Yield” signs would make another sermon text.

      But what would he make of “No Parking or Standing”?

    1. My husband and I had that one quoted to us several times by angry hicks on Phil Kidd’s facebook page, because we were calling him out on some of his racist comments.
      I think it would be ok to hit him with a baseball bat since you wouldn’t actually be touching him…(just trying to interpret literally).

  15. How about Jer. 29:11? 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.

    This must mean that I am destined for prosperity.

  16. At my first fundy-esque church where I was the music pastor, I once heard the youth pastor (an older guy) use “move not the ancient boundary stone” to argue for sticking with “the great old hymns of the faith”. He must have seen my expression; 😯 he later called me and said, “Maybe that verse doesn’t really mean that, huh…”

    1. I think it actually means you shouldn’t steal land from your neighbors by moving the markers of the edges of the property– a subterfuge not unknown even today.

    2. O-M-G

      I’ve heard that preached/mentioned quite often in my nearly three years here. Bugs me to death.

      If a preacher doesn’t want his church to become modern and contemporary and the people/sheeple really don’t mind, fine. Just for goodness sake, don’t use passages taken out of context to support it!

  17. One of my favorites was a Sunday School teacher who used Numbers 11:7-9 (KJV) to demonstrate that manna did not taste like honey, as it was intended, when the children of Israel tried to improve upon it by baking it. Rather, it tasted like “fresh oil.” This was proof positive that people who tried to add to what God had already provided in His word would end up corrupting the scriptures and make it distasteful.

    Never mind that the verse that originally described manna as tasting like honey (Exodus 16:31) came just eight verses after God expressly encouraged the Israelites to bake the manna:

    (Exodus 16:23) And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

    But in a strange way, he kind of proved his point.

  18. My “favorite” verse is Hebrews 10:25. The preacher used that and the immediate surrounding verses (For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,) to prove that if you missed a church service you would fall away from the truth.

    When from what I’ve read, it’s talking about how much worse it will be when a person knows the truth and rejects it anyway. So do not forsake the assembling of yourselves etc etc so you can encourage each other.
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+10&version=KJV

    Lately the verse has been used as a rallying cry to get everyone involved in church. Which is a good thing, imo. Just don’t use a verse out of context to prove it.

    “Come out from among them and be ye separate” is almost the church verse. Yes, be separate from the world and sin. But you don’t have to be separate from other Christians because they use more modern music and put their song lyrics on a screen instead of a SOTL hymnbook.

  19. I remember hearing a sermon about Absolom. He was caught by his long hair in a tree which lead to his death. So obviously long hair on men is bad.

    And then there was Samson. We we’re never quite sure what to say about his hair, I just rememember his strength came from the LORD. NOT his hair.

  20. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
    (Colossians 1:18)

    1. Jesus is over everyone, including earthly rulers.
    2. You dress up to meet the President in his house.
    3. You should dress up to meet with Jesus in His house.

    😀 😀 😥

  21. Here’s a nice little passage…

    “Many, O LORD my God,
    are the wonders you have done.
    The things you planned for us
    no one can recount to you;
    were I to speak and tell of them,
    they would be too many to declare.

    Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but my ears you have pierced;
    burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you did not require.
    Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.[d]
    I desire to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.” Psalms 40:5-8

    The Prooftext: 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced;

    So, by this passage, all men should have their ears pierced. :mrgreen:

    1. This is a fundy proof text fail, because it’s not from the KJV! In the KJV, the verse reads, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened.” Forget that checking the original language gives you the option for the word to mean “pierced.” Any IFBXer knows you don’t need to know Hebrew because the KJV itself is inspired – if God wanted the word to be “pierced” He would have had the KJV translators USE “pierced”; they didn’t, so that means God meant the meaning to be “opened.” Anyway God would never approve of men’s ears being pierced (the same way God never approved of men with long hair, except for Samson and we all know how HE turned out). The ears were OPENED! He that hath ears to hear let him hear!

  22. Philippians 4:3 “and I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement ….”

    What I get from this is: work [al]on[g]Clement. Obviously my current job is a biblical command, as the store I work at is on Clement St. :mrgreen:

  23. The pastor of an IFBx church I attended for a while would select a different (apparently random) text for every sermon, but always managed to get the same three points out of it:
    1. You need to get saved and baptized.
    2. You need to join the church.
    3. It is wrong to trade with China.

      1. No, he wasn’t that high-tech. To him, high-tech meant using a wireless mike. I think some of his sermons were available on cassette, though. He’s no longer at that church. Depending on who you ask, either he retired, or even the IFBs got fed up with him.

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