Friday, June 4, 2010

Romans 4:17---->Stop half quoting. A much needed repost.

I saw the following on FB yesterday:

"As long as you....speak it into existance you wil receive it?" No...smh.

This made me think of something I wrote a few years ago. The following is a repost of a repost of a repost, originally posted at my myspace blog on 2007 on the butchering of Romans 4:17.
Gotta write this, because I keep seeing people who are building an entire doctrine from a paraphrased HALF QUOTE.

People often say "Speak those things that are not as though they were." People often use this paraphrased half quote as a means of promoting positive speech and the believer's ability to speak things into existence.

Nothing wrong with speaking positive, but here's the problem. THAT IS NOT WHAT THE VERSE SAYS. Let's begin this examination by reading what the ENTIRE verse says in three different versions.

" it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the GOD in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist." English Standard Version
"..As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations."[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the GOD who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." New International Version
"...(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even GOD, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." King James Version
Okay, now WHO is the subject of this verse? Who has the ability to "speak those things that aren't as if though they were"?
GOD. The answer is GOD. GOD has the ability to speak things into existence; not man (whether he be a believer or not).

I know it's a popular doctrine, but let's be clear...Romans 4:17 DOES NOT say that any creation of God, redeemed or otherwise, has the ability to speak things into existence. We are not little gods. God is holy and righteous. He tells us himself in Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Our God is altogether unique!!!

Now let's read Romans 4:17 in context. Let's check out verses 13 through 25, so we can get the full meaning:

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." 23 But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

So in reading this, we see that there is no mention of ANYONE being able to speak things into existence but GOD. You will probably also notice that verse 17 and surrounding verses are discussing FAITH in Christ, not your ability to "speak things into existence." A small section of a verse has been brutally butchered and promoted as meaning something altogether different!

Still not convinced that God is the only one that can speak things into existence? Check out the parallel verses for Romans 4:17. (Hebrews 11:19, John 5:21, 1 Corinthians 1:28, Hebrews 11:3, etc.)

I want to close by saying there is nothing wrong with positive speaking, BUT please don't think that in saying you will get a BMW that God has to give you a BMW. Doctrines like these only serve to create a materialist world view among Christians that can only lead to destruction. We, myself included, have to examine ourselves to make sure we are after his heart and not after his hands. God will bless us materially, but if it's your main priority, please turn back to God.

So, if you are a professing Christian who needs material possessions as a sign that God is real or that you are blessed, I beg you to check out Hebrews 11. Here's verse 1, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things NOT seen." *side note: The "faith" here is referring to our faith in God's promise of salvation through Christ Jesus* Don't be like Thomas who needed to TOUCH the holes in the hands of our Savior to believe that he had resurrected (John 20:24-29). "Blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet have believed." (v 29). Instead rely on the word of God, which is our Father's self revelatory work, proclaiming both his existence and his plan to reconcile his people to himself.


  1. GREAT post!!!

    People who take that verse (in the wrong way) obviously don't read the Bible. They take what their pastor says and trust that it means what he's says it to be instead of "studying to show themselves approved".

    Besides, the book of Romans is pretty heavy stuff, so I don't understand how anyone could get a prosperity Gospel out of that one.

  2. Thank you for that. If I could find a church that taught the Word like that I'd be much more comfortable in church.

  3. JT!

    You may be able to find a church like that. Try to find a church that is a part of 9 Marks.

  4. Amen! Amen! Amen! Thank you for this post. In the age of false prophets and teachers, this verse is taken out of context for the purpose of self-gain. End time "teachers" are directing their flock to "speak" possessions (ie. houses, cars, wealth, etc.) into existence as though they are little gods unto themselves. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you through this message of truth!

  5. John 14:12-14 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. The simple answer is Faith and the "name" of JESUS, that you call those things that are not as though they are,(Romans 4:17). God Bless,

    Risen Rucker