be·ware: be cautious and alert to the dangers of.
Why in the world am I telling you to be cautious of the Bible on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (or any other social media site)?
Isn’t reading the Bible a good thing? You may ask.
Absolutely! But I don’t think this is the way God intended us to read His Word.
Now, don’t get your feathers ruffled just yet. Let me explain.
Usually, the scriptures we read on social media sites are individual verses or snippets, or even paraphrases. Many times they are presented with a photo with a verse overlay. This is called a meme. I enjoy seeing memes on my newsfeed. You probably do too.
So what’s the problem?
Jesus refers to Himself and His Word as the “bread of life”. He also refers to our daily food as “daily bread”. Is Jesus telling us He is actually bread? Is He saying we should pray only for bread to eat? Of course not! Without the context, we are missing some vital information in order to fully understand what Jesus is telling us. The same can be true when reading only snippets of scripture.
Just as eating only bread is not a complete diet, neither is reading one scripture enough to grow in a healthy relationship with God. A person can survive a long time eating only bread. However, eventually, their health will begin to suffer from a lack of key nutrients.
We cannot survive spiritually on memes alone!
Comfort Without Conviction
I like the warm fuzzies I get from a really good meme. However, it’s rare that I read one that convicts me. This is a necessary purpose of scripture.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16
If all we are reading are things like, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Will we recognize when our broken heart is due to the separation from God that our sin has caused? Often, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin through the Word. If we are only reading “feel good” verses on our phones, we aren’t allowing Him to speak freely and fully to us.
I’m not knocking technology, mind you. I love my You Version Bible and First Five apps. I see a problem when memes turn Holy Scripture into an aphorism or a vague prophecy like a fortune from a fortune cookie.
So, my dear readers, let’s keep reading and posting those scripture memes because they can be fun and helpful. But beware that they do not take the place of spending quality time in the Bible and prayer every day.
Oh, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!
Please join the conversation in the comments below.
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We need more than a half-way exposure to scripture… and as you said, we need to be convicted!
Elihu, thanks for your comment. I know I personally need the conviction I receive when I spend time meditating on scripture.
Absolutely, Beckie! Memes are great reminders to go and actually READ our Bibles, and they can make us feel warm and fuzzy, as you said here. But they are only M&Ms to the meat and potatoes nourishment the Word provides for us.
Love this illustration and admonition to be willing to dig deep into the Scriptures.
Martha, I love it! Indeed digging deep in the word is the meat and potatoes nourishment we need.
Thanks for commenting, my friend!
For a Believer yes, what you suggest is absolute truth…however, for someone seeking the Lord or who may not know anything/much about Jesus or God, these verses shared publicly could be a motivator or a life-line God uses to reach their hearts.
Stacey, you make a great point. Thanks for sharing. I only hope it will inspire them to actually open the Bible 😉
I create memes for that very purpose – to reach those who don’t open a Bible as Stacey said. But I do agree with the points you made, Beckie. Memes are like snacks. Disciples must live on real food. Great topic!
Kathryne, well-said! I create memes (not as good at it as some) for the same reasons.
God bless and thanks for taking the time to comment.
Thank you for cautioning us while being sensitive in not putting down the practice of sharing Bible verses through social media. I concur that indeed, it could be ‘dangerous’ if His words are read in snippets without putting it in the right context. Thank you for this post.
Mel, I’m so glad you saw this as a warning. I truly want us all to engage deeply in the Word thereby growing in relationship with Jesus. I pray that memes and scripture posts will draw people to their Bibles!
Thanks for stopping by Spotlight and taking the time to comment.
Grace, peace, and many blessings!
Amen, We must read a scripture in its complete context, not hand pick verses to suit our situation. Thank you for shining light on this.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. My prayer is memes will draw others to want to read their Bibles!
You’ve definitely said a mouthful in this post, Beckie! A must read indeed!
I smile when I see beautifully done memes. In fact, I really love them. But it occurred to me I have a deeper connection because I’m already familiar with the stories and the context of the snippets I see. I know God’s word never comes back void. So, I pray those memes draw people closer to reading their Bibles.
Beckie — thanks again. The posts are great to read for a quick inspirational hit but you are right — we must continue in God’s word for a complete picture. Well done.
I love a good meme (though I’m still not sure I could pick a meme out of a lineup), but I love the insight that comes when someone can put Scripture in context and draw out the gems that are there also. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Brian! 🙂
AMEN! Amen, Amen, Amen! 🙂
Hopefully those memes will send us to the source instead of us using them alone. You’re right–context is so important!
Heather, thanks so much for your comment. We need the WHOLE Word to be fully fed 🙂
I found a meme once on Pinterest of a “scripture verse” in Psalms. For the purpose I wanted to use it, it was perfect. However, something…I’ll say it was the Holy Spirit, prompted me to look it up. The verse isn’t even in the Bible. I googled and checked every Bible website I could think of and it was not there. Goes to show you, not only do you have to be careful that you are taking the meme into the fullness of God’s word, but you also need to make sure it actually is God’s word.
Dawn, that’s a great example of the warning I’m giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love the encouragement I receive from many of the memes I read. But we need “meat” not just “milk”. And as you stated so well, we must be careful that it is indeed the TRUTH.
Thanks for taking the time to share, sister.
Grace and peace to you and yours!
I think memes can be a great source of encouragement, but you’re right–they aren’t meant to take the place of spending time in God’s Word.
Thanks, Leigh. I agree about the encouragement memes can bring 🙂
Thank you! This is a good reminder even for myself to remember to dig into verses I see on FB.
Whether it is social media or just a verse that you overhear or see, it is good to remember that unless you study all of his word we can easily miss some of the most important parts of our ‘Daily food’
Code4theking (Kevin), I’m so glad this post resonated with you. I love memes, but like you, realize they are only a snack compared to the entire meal of God’s wonderful Word.
I would also like to thank you for your service to our country. I have a son, Kevin, in the Air Force 🙂 I checked out your new blog and Twitter. I pray the Lord blesses your writing as you share the hope of Jesus Christ on social media.
Grace and peace.
Good observation. Now that they are misquoting the Bible, removing some verses and trying to make it lose meaning.
Thanks for shedding light on it.
Becky, having been privileged to study the Psalms at a summer NEH (National Endowment of the Humanities) seminar in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I learned that there is a developmental arc to the Psalms. The Psalmists go from being thankful to and angry at God at various times until in Psalm 150 they state that they will follow their God “No Matter What!” (Brueggeman, et. al.) So what you say about taking verses out of context is so true.
Mary, thanks for adding some history about the Psalms. I did a study of the Psalms of Ascent that was so enlightening.
Although I find mems fun and useful, I caution others to please read the Bible in its full context to garner accurate information. But another important aspect of reading the Word is to develop a “relationship” with God. I want to soak in as much of His presence as possible! I hope memes will whet the appetites of readers to look into the actual Bible for the full meal. As Psalm 34:8 says, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Thanks for commenting.
Blessings to you and yours!