John Iverson

In his “immortal” work, “The Merchant of Venice”, William Shakespeare had one of his characters say, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” In this Shakespeare was eminently correct, for immediately following his baptism at the hands of John, Jesus was led into the wilderness, and tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:1). One of the things Satan tried to get Jesus to do was to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. The devil said, “ … for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone”. (Matt. 4:6). The adversary quoted Psalms 91:11. It seems significant that he omitted the phrase “to keep thee in all thy ways”, in other words, in keeping with God’s plans and purposes. At any rate, while the devil quoted Scripture, he did so “for his purpose” and in doing this, he most certainly misapplied what David had said!

Satan has “ministers” today (2 Corinthians 11:15) and they too quote Scripture. However, they also imitate him in perverting and misapplying the word of God. Such handling of the teaching of Christ will not bring a blessing; instead its results are disastrous (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Citing Scriptures in our teaching and preaching is truly a commendable practice, but in doing so, let us make certain that we always make a proper application.