Top 10 Misinterpreted Verses

When I engage with Muslims in conversations or debates, I notice that there are a few Bible verses that Muslims enjoy reciting but ultimately misunderstanding and misusing it over and over again. Whether it is a Muslim in Pakistan or Indonesia or Nigeria or Europe, it almost seems as if they have been trained to misquote these verses. Of course, quoting a Bible verse is not the problem. The hiccup is in honest and correct interpretation of the scripture verse.

Here is my compilation of the Top Ten “favorite” verses of Muslims all over the world.

God is not a man. (Numbers 23:19)
Muslims think this verse is a denial of the divinity of Jesus.

First thing to note is, Muslims very rarely even quote the entire verse! It’s like someone quoting just part of the Islamic shaadah, “There is no god.” Period. Is that what the shaadah teaches or is there more?
Here is the verse in full. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
What does it mean? It simply says that God does not lie like a man does; and that He does not waver like a man does; and He does not fail to fulfill His word like a man does. That is all.
This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with God’s nature nor does it deny the deity of Jesus.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Mark 12:29)
Muslims think Jesus is denying His divinity and denying the trinity. That is incorrect.

First thing to note is Jesus was answering someone’s question, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
How does He answer it? By quoting directly word-for-word from the Scripture passage that states the commandment. It is found in the Torah Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.” This is known as the Shema Yisrael. Jesus quoting the Shema is not a denial of who He. Neither is it a denial of the trinity because the doctrine of trinity asserts that God is One.

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
Muslims misunderstand the role of the Messiah. This is what He was clarifying when speaking with a Gentile (Canaanite) who addressed Him as Messiah.

As the long awaited Jewish Messiah, Jesus came to seek and save the lost sheep of Israel. However this does not mean He is persona non grata to Gentiles. Jesus Himself said that he has “other” sheep to bring into the fold, in addition to the lost sheep of Israel. (see John 10:16).
As Messiah, He had a mission towards the Jews but as Savior of the world, He had a universal mission to seek and save all man.
He said, “I am the light of the WORLD. WHOEVER follows Me will not walk in darkness.” (John 8:12). In fact, Jesus frequently healed and performed miracles for Gentiles, taught Gentiles, spent time with Gentiles, intentionally went into Gentile territories, and even personally sent the first Gentile missionary!
To read more on this, see my article: Did Jesus Come For The Gentiles?

He fell on his face and prayed. (Matthew 26:39)
Muslims think that Jesus prayed like a Muslim, and so He must be a Muslim.

Does posture equate to faith? Hindus and Buddhists fall on their faces to pray. In fact, Hindus have been praying this way for thousands of years before Islam. So it should be said that it is Muslims who pray like Hindus!
The fact is there are no instructions on specific postures to pray in the Bible. One can stand or sit or kneel or fall prostrate when praying but it is the posture of the heart that counts rather than external postures.
When Muslims quote Matthew 26:39, they dishonestly and deliberately fail to even quote the whole verse. If you read the whole verse, you will find that the first words of Jesus there in His prayer is, “My Father…” Is this how Muslims pray? Do Muslims address Allah as Father in their prayers? No.
Jesus never prayed like a Muslim. No one prayed like a Muslim in the Bible. When His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He never taught them anything to do with Islamic praying.
To read more on this, see my article: What Did Jesus Teach About Prayer?

“I can do nothing on my own.” (John 5:30)
Muslims misuse this verse thinking that Jesus is denying His divinity.

What is Jesus saying? Let’s read the passage carefully. In John 5:30, Jesus is simply repeating what He had reiterated earlier in John 5:19.
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, BUT only what he sees the Father doing. FOR WHATEVER THE FATHER DOES, THAT THE SON DOES LIKEWISE.”
In other words, Jesus was not at all saying that He can do nothing! Period. He was actually saying that He does only what the Father does! And not His own thing.
Do you see that Jesus is claiming equality with the Father? Imagine if Muhammad were to say, “Whatever Allah does, I do likewise.” That would be blasphemy and unforgivable shirk, because he would be putting himself on par with Allah!
To read more on this, see my article: Did Jesus Claim Equality With God?

“…the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
Muslims think this is a denial of Jesus divinity.

Notice that Jesus did not say, “God is greater than I.” What did Jesus mean? Jesus was talking about the role of the Father and the eternal Son. Father is greater than the Son, in regard to the incarnation. The Father is infinite and invisible. The Son who WAS also infinite and invisible, came to the earth in a finite and visible way, as a human being, named Jesus. In essence and nature however, Father and Son are equally divine.
“Who, being in very nature God….,he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil 2:6-7).
To read more on this, see my article: Why Did Jesus Say My Father Is Greater Than I

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. (Mark 10:18)
Even though it is very clear that Jesus was asking a question, Muslims misread it as “Why do you call me God?” and deduce that He is saying he is not God.

Jesus asked the question to a man who had addressed Him as “Good Teacher.” Was Jesus denying that He was a good teacher. Of course not! He was simply asking WHY.
Similarly, at another time, Jesus asked His followers, ‘Why do you call me Lord…”. (Luke 6:46). Was He denying His Lordship or was He asking them WHY?  Jesus did acknowledge He was Lord. (see John 13:13). Likewise,
Jesus did acknowledge that He was good (see John 10:11). Thus His admission proves He is God since only God is good!
To read more on this, see my article: No One Is Good Except God

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Muslims read this and think Jesus was crying in shock and disbelief at the position he found Himself.

Jesus had predicted His suffering and death many times. He said that the purpose He had come was “to give His life a a ransom”. (see Mark 10:45).
“… the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19).
Jesus knew exactly what will happen. So what did Jesus mean when He uttered those words on the cross? Anyone familiar with Scripture would have known that He was quoting word-for-word the opening line of an ancient Psalm. A psalm that prophesied His death a thousand years earlier! Look at Psalm 22:1.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? (Jeremiah 8:8)
Muslims point to this verse as proof that the Bible is corrupted.

Does it make any sense to say that a book is corrupt because a verse from the same corrupt book says it is corrupt? This is laughable. If the book is corrupt, why would you accept any evidence from it?
What did the Prophet Jeremiah mean? In Israel, scribes were teachers and interpreters of the Law. They were not authors. The Law had already been written. No one can write or add anything to what was already written! So what were the scribes writing? They were writing their false teachings and misinterpretations of the Law and teaching their falsehood. This is what Jeremiah was condemning!
To read more on this, see my article: Does Jeremiah 8:8 Say The Bible Is Corrupt?

But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.'” (Luke 19:27)
Muslims think Jesus is ordering people to be killed.

Luke 19:12-27 is a parable that Jesus told about a king and his servants. In the story, some of his servants are faithful, some are not. There were also another group of people in the story. And Luke 19:27 has to do with this group of people. See verse 14. “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ It was this group of rebels that the king in the story ordered to be killed.
The order begins with the conjunction “BUT.” Even if you know basic English, you would know that a statement that begins with “BUT” is connected to the earlier statements, i.e. it’s part of the parable, not a stand-alone as Muslims who misinterpret this verse claim.
Anyway, think for yourselves. Who was brought to Jesus and killed in front of Him? Give me just one name. Who did Jesus kill? Who did His disciples kill? Why isn’t there even a single example of any slaying if this was a command that Jesus gave His disciples to follow?