Jeremiah 29:11-13

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I have heard Jeremiah 29:11-13 preached in sermons where according to this passage a Christian is protected regardless of their activities. One sermon I’ve read uses the passage to encourage believers by saying they can have victory in their finances, health, family, and personal life.[1] Using this passage incorrectly can lead to a prosperity gospel mind-set believing if you claim it then it will be yours. As Eric Bargerhuff shared in chapter 3 of his book “The Most Misused Verses of the Bible,” I too felt at one time this passage promised prosperity, protection, and a great future in regard to a job and a college degree.[2]

The Jeremiah 29:11-13 verses can be properly understood by reading these 3 verses in the context of chapter 29 as a whole. [3] Reading the context of this passage shows us that God was speaking to the nation of Israel, and the promise given to the nation after their 70 year Babylonian captivity.[4] Knowing to whom a passage is written to, reading the culture in which a passage is written, and knowing the history that was taking place in a passage allows us to properly understand the meaning of the Bible. Another way of looking at it is Grasping a Text (What did the text meant to the original readers?), Measuring the Width of the River (What are the differences between the original audience and us?), and Crossing the Principlizing Bridge (What is the theological principle of the text?).[5]

Jeremiah 29:11-13 provides hope, encouragement, and support to the modern reader as we see the blessing and prosperity promised to Israel in a spiritual sense.[6] As Christians, we have a future blessing of heaven; however, we have blessing this side of heaven as well (i.e. reconciliation, forgiveness, peace with God, fellowship in the church, and love). We have our prayers answers and we have joy in worship.[7] If Jeremiah 29:11-13 is properly understood, we are inspired to live a spiritual life now while we trust in a future hope.[8]

 

 

[1] Charlie Roberts, “I Am, I Can, I Will!,” sermoncentral.com, July 2011. http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/i-am-i-can-i-will-charlie-roberts-sermon-on-blessing-158804.asp

[2] Eric J. Bargerhuff, The Most Misused Verses of the Bible. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012), 34.

[3] Ibid, 35.

[4] Ibid, 38.

[5]J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 42-43.

[6] Eric J. Bargerhuff, The Most Misused Verses of the Bible. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012), 41.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, 42.

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