Butchered Bible – John 14:15-24

Butchered Bible – John 14:15-24

The series, “Butchered Bible Verses” continues today with a section of verses from John 14.  As we consider the importance of teaching and preaching Scripture, we must make sure we are always approaching the Word of God in the proper context rather than chopping it up and ripping it out as a proof text for our own “personal interpretation.”  As we study the Bible, we should always be reminded that each text of Scripture has one single meaning and it is our task to discover it and believe it.

Butchered Text

John 14:15-24 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, [17] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. [18] “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [19] Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. [20] In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. [21] Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” [22] Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” [23] Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. [24] Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

Explanation of how the text is misused

In many Christian circles, it is a very common thing to hear people explain repentance to God through the phrase “asking Jesus into your heart.”  It is so common for many evangelists, pastors, teachers, and children’s workers to approach repentance from that angle.  In fact, there is a hymn written by Rufus H. McDaniel titled, Since Jesus Came into my Heart. The chorus of that hymn reads:

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.

Apparently, Rufus had a son that died and he sat down to write this song soon after his death as he sought encouragement in Jesus Christ.  While I commend him for looking to Christ in the midst of such difficult trials, the phrase, “Jesus in my heart” is simply nowhere in Scripture.  If Mr. McDaniel had changed the line “Jesus came into my heart” to “Jesus came into my life” it would be much better theology!

Many children’s ministries and evangelists use the phrase, “ask Jesus into your heart” as a means of inviting people to trust Christ for salvation.  From small children to a crowd of mixed ages in a sanctuary, that phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is used as if it’s sacred Scripture.  The reality is – it’s nowhere in Scripture at all.  Any search on one of the easy to use online Bible websites will render zero results for the phrase “Jesus into your heart.”

The danger in this phrase is that many children grow up hearing it on such a regular basis that it can lead to great confusion later in life when they realize that Christianity is much more than asking Jesus to come into your heart.  It becomes real shocking when those children discover that nowhere in the Bible does Jesus ever look at someone and command them to ask Him into their heart.  It is more troubling when no apostle or member of Jesus’ inner circle ever preached a sermon where they commanded people to ask Jesus into their heart.  Our evangelism and missions should be tightly connected to the Bible – not catch phrases that have tried to “dumb down” salvation to the level of a weight loss pill.  We must cling to Scripture rather than superstition.  We must be committed to the Bible rather than bumper stickers.

Explanation of the text

In John 14, we see that Jesus was planning to leave the disciples.  He was going to die on the cross, be buried, and then resurrect from the dead on the third day.  Following His resurrection, He would be preaching, teaching, and appearing for a period of 40 days, but then He would be ascend to the throne of Heaven.  Jesus was preparing His inner circle for what they were about to experience.  These people had left their occupations and devoted their lives for 3.5 years to Jesus’ earthly ministry.  What Jesus wanted them to know was that although He was leaving them, another Helper was coming to lead and guide them.  In John 13:33, Jesus referred to the disciples as “little children.”  Here in this text, Jesus wants them to know that He will not leave them as orphans.  He is sending another Helper or Comforter.  That Helper is the Holy Spirit.

In verse 17, Jesus speaking of the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) says, “he dwells with you and will be in you.”  Notice the point that Jesus was making to His disciples.  The Holy Spirit would be in the believers after Jesus’ departure.  He would lead them as a Helper and provide comfort to them in times of need.  In verse 20, Jesus says, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  This is where it starts to get a bit confusing.  Was Jesus entering the disciples or was the Holy Spirit?  The phrase “In that day” is likely a reference to Jesus resurrection, however, many commentators suggest that it’s a reference to the “day of the Lord’s return.”  In either case, we must realize the point of Jesus’ words.

When Jesus is raised from the dead, the veil of partial knowledge would be lifted from the eyes of the disciples.  This would enable them to understand His words, promises, and preaching in a much better way.  On that day, they would understand the relationship between Jesus and His Father better.  The disciples would also understand the intimacy of Jesus and the disciples as well.  What this text doesn’t mean is that Jesus is going to be dwelling in our hearts.  We must be careful to guard against that idea and to interpret this text from that perspective.  At conversion, we receive the Holy Spirit who lives in us, and He leads and guides us to all truth.  We simply don’t see any place in Scripture where we are commanded to “ask Jesus into our hearts” as a means of genuine repentance.

Caution:  We need to explain repentance the way Jesus did in the New Testament.  To water down repentance to the level of “asking Jesus into our heart” is to miss the reality of genuine repentance.  We must seek to do better as preachers and as those who work with our children.

Clarification: If you remember praying a prayer where you asked Jesus into your heart and that was part of your act of repentance to God in salvation, don’t take my words to suggest that you are not a genuine believer as a result of “asking Jesus into your heart.”  I do believe we need to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith, but the evidence of our faith should not be based in the words we prayed in the past, but in the desire for God and our fruit of the Spirit displayed in the present day.

The same thing is true for those who have led Children to “ask Jesus into their heart.”  Many dedicated volunteers and children’s workers have done this through the years, but merely out of ignorance based on the way they were taught.  This article is not to condemn the children’s worker in the local church, but it is to help us think through how we should instruct people to believe the gospel through our evangelism and mission outlets!

Those who have tried to lead people to Christ by informing them to “ask Jesus into your heart” have honestly tried to demonstrate that the heart is involved in repentance.  That is evident from Romans 10:9-10.  However, the phrase itself was born out of an era of revivalism and emotional decisions.  Salvation is more than an emotional decision.  While emotions are used by God, our emotions can also lead us astray.  Therefore, it’s best if when leading people to Christ if we simply tell them what Jesus told people – repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15).  A good explanation of repentance and belief (faith) is always helpful, but the act of repentance is more than “asking Jesus into your heart.”

May God cause us to examine the Word closely and guard us from butchering the Bible that He has inspired!

For the glory of His name,

Pastor Josh Buice

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Article by Trevin Wax – “Mohler on ‘Asking Jesus Into Your Heart‘”

David Platt says “asking Jesus into your heart” is superstitious.  See the clip below:

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  1. what is the heart in the bible?
    The heat is “home of the personal life” from
    Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

    who dwells in our heart ?
    1- holy spirit from 2 Corinthians 1:22 “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” , 2 Corinthians 5:5 , etc

    2- Christ from Ephesians 3:17 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love” 2 Corinthians 13:5 , etc

    3- the father through christ the image of him, from Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Deity bodily” , hebrews 1:3 , etc

    How ?
    The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God and repenting of sins and asking (calling upon , inviting )
    from Mark 16:16 ” He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damne” , Acts 2:38, acts 2:38, mark 1:15
    Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”
    call upon means asking , invite means asking (more formally) , the lord jesus himself used the word ask in matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”

    so saying ask the lord jesus in your heart is biblically right if you explain it right and the job of preachers, pastors , ministers, christians , etc is to tell about the death and the resurrection of our saviour the Lord Jesus and to believe in him and asking him to your life . No one will ever say the last sentence “asking him to your heart “without explaining the death and the resurrection and how to repent and believe .
    God bless you all

  2. At the age of nine I prayed to ask Jesus to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior. I loved being a Christian. I loved Jesus and I loved the Bible. I used to love witnessing to non-believers and loved defending my belief in (the Christian) God and orthodox/conservative Christianity. Then one day someone challenged me to take a good, hard look at the foundation of my beliefs: the Bible. I was stunned by what I discovered.

    1. The Bible is not inerrant. It contains many, many errors, contradictions, and deliberate alterations and additions by the scribes who copied it. The originals are lost, therefore we have no idea what “God” originally” said. Yes, its true—Christians can give “harmonizations” for every alleged error and contradiction, but so can the Muslims for errors in the Koran, and Mormons for errors in the Book of Mormon. One can harmonize anything if you allow for the supernatural.

    2. How do we know that the New Testament is the Word of God? Did Jesus leave us a list of inspired books? Did the Apostles? Paul? The answer is, no. The books of the New Testament were added to the canon over several hundred years. Second Peter was not officially accepted into the canon until almost the FIFTH century! So why do all Christians accept every book of the New Testament as the word of God and reject every non-canonical “gospel”? Answer: the ancient (catholic) Church voted these books into your Bible. Period.

    There is nowhere in the OT or the NT where God gives men the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word. If Second Peter was really God’s Word, the entire Church should have known so in the first century.

    3. Who wrote the Gospels? We have NO idea! The belief that they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is based on hearsay and assumptions—catholic tradition. Protestants denounce most of the traditions of the Catholic Church but have retained two of the most blatant, evidence-lacking traditions which have no basis in historical fact or in the Bible: the canon of the NT and the authorship of the Gospels.

    The only shred of evidence that Christians use to support the traditional authorship of the Gospels is one brief statement by a guy named Papias in 130 AD that someone told him that John Mark had written a gospel. That’s it! Papias did not even identify this “gospel”. Yet in 180 AD, Irenaeus, a bishop in FRANCE, declares to the world that the apostles Matthew and John and the associates of Peter and Paul—Mark and Luke—wrote the Gospels. But Irenaeus gives ZERO evidence for his assignment of authorship to these four books. It is well known to historians that it was a common practice at that time for anonymously written books to be ascribed to famous people to give them more authority. For all we know, this is what Irenaeus did in the case of the Gospels.

    The foundation of the Christian Faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If the story of the Resurrection comes from four anonymous books, three of which borrow heavily from the first, often word for word, how do we know that the unheard of, fantastically supernatural story of the re-animation of a first century dead man, actually happened??

    Maybe the first book written, “Mark”, was written for the same purpose that most books were written in that time period—for the benefit of one wealthy benefactor, and maybe it was written simply as an historical novel, like Homer’s Iliad; not meant to be 100% factual in every detail, but a mix of true historical events as a background, with a real messiah pretender in Palestine, Jesus, but with myth and fiction added to embellish the story and help sell the book! We just do not know for what purpose these books were written!

    I slowly came to realize that there is zero verifiable evidence for the Resurrection, and, the Bible is not a reliable document. After four months of desperate attempts to save my faith, I came to the sad conclusion that my faith was based on an ancient superstition; a superstition not based on lies, but based on the sincere but false beliefs of uneducated, superstitious, first century peasants.

    You can pray to ask Jesus into your heart 10,000 times, but if there is no evidence for his Resurrection, then odds are that he is dead. And if he is dead, he can’t hear your prayers. Sad, but the truth.

  3. Gary,

    Obviously I disagree with your positions. However, I want to explain.

    First, the Bible is not just any book. As we read the Bible, it becomes obvious that this is no ordinary book. Written over a period of 1,500 years from 3 different continents, by 40 different authors is no easy task. Imagine if you tried to organize this effort – do you think you could pull it off? The Bible, although complex, is centrally focused upon one main person – Jesus. From Genesis 3 to Revelation 22, Jesus is the main focal point.

    Out of the 5,500 NT manuscripts we have on hand, they all substantiate the same doctrines and where the variants (differences) occur, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s a spelling error or change. Not one single cardinal (essential) doctrine is contradicted between these manuscripts. The same story…and every time a new one is uncovered….it’s the same story!

    The biggest error in your argument is centered on the doubt of Jesus’ resurrection. I would point you to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, but if you don’t believe the Bible, I assume you are not interested in what he had to say. However, if you think about it, Jesus had to be raised from the dead based on the following:

    1. The Jews had an agenda to make sure Jesus was dead. They had a special interest in making sure he was gone and out of sight.

    2. The Roman soldiers had a dog in the fight too. They were experts in the crucifixion, and they wanted to make sure that Jesus was not only dead, but placed in a tomb.

    When the tomb became empty – Jesus either rose from the dead or His followers pulled off another trick (other than the 1,500 year Bible trick). The fact is – He proved His resurrection by appearing to literally hundreds of people over 40 days. This was not something done in a corner and testified about by a select group of followers. Even unbelievers documented His resurrection. Josephus, the Jewish historian, referenced it as well.

    The point is clear – Jesus proved His deity and His Word to be true by His resurrection. To disbelieve His resurrection is to reject Him as Lord. Be careful. Jesus can save, but He has also been given the power and authority to judge the entire world. I would encourage you to bow to Him as Lord God. He is no liar or lunatic, He is Lord God!


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