A life verse is a Bible verse that a person ascribes to their life. An extremely popular life verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Maybe you have a life verse or maybe somebody you know has a life verse. Life verses are extremely popular in the Christian culture, but are they biblical?
What Are Life Verses?
The Bible never specifically mentions life verses. There does not seem to be any person in the Bible who assigns a Bible verse to their life. While there is nothing wrong with having a life verse per se, it is not biblical in the definition that they were not practiced in the Bible.
What the Bible does tell us is that it is highly important for all believers to be trained in the scriptures as the Word of God is how we can take our stand against Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:10-18). The devil tried to tempt Jesus three times in the desert, but Jesus rebuked the devil three times with the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11).
There is nothing in the Bible to imply we should have a life verse; however, it is important for us to know, understand, and retain the truth of God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
If you want to have a life verse, it is perfectly fine — just make sure you are not using a Bible verse out of context. It is not advisable to “cherry-pick” Bible verses and manipulate them in order to obtain the meaning you want out of the verse or passage.
If you choose a life verse, make sure you are using it in its proper context. As an example, an individual may choose Philippians 1:21 as their life verse. This verse says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
There is nothing wrong with ascribing this verse to your life; however, make sure you understand the surrounding context. Paul penned these words to the Church at Phillipi while he was discussing important truths about his work for the Lord.
Paul was telling the people that he eagerly desired to depart and be with Christ, but he knew his place was to stay with the church and help more people come to know the Lord (Philippians 1:21-26).
When Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” what he means is that “to live” meant to live for Christ by spreading the gospel, encouraging the local churches, and building up the church; however, “to die is gain” meant that Paul knew when he died would be when he would be with Jesus forever.
To go on living meant fruitful labor; however, to die meant going to be with the Lord. If a person wanted to have this as a life verse, it would be perfectly okay as long as they understood the true meaning of the verse and the surrounding passage.
In the same way, no matter what Bible verse you may want to choose as a life verse, make sure you fully understand the verse and avoid using the verse out of context.
Freedom in Christ
As previously mentioned, the concept of having a life verse does not come from the Bible. However, having a life verse is not inherently evil. Just because we do not find individuals having life verses in the Bible does not mean it is a sin to have a life verse. All Christians are given freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1).
With this freedom, you can choose to have a life verse, or you may choose not to have one. It is entirely up to you. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a Bible verse nor is there anything wrong with not having a life verse.
It is common among Christians who were brought up in legalistic families to choose not to partake in choosing a life verse because of the legalism they were exposed to growing up. However, no matter how you were brought up, it is up to you if you want to have a life verse or not — just make sure you are using the Bible verse in its proper context.
Never use the Bible out of context. The devil is notorious for using the Bible out of context (Matthew 4:5-6), thus, it is best to always use Scripture in its proper context. Misusing or manipulating the Bible is always a sin. Proper hermeneutics needs to be utilized as you choose a life verse.
Even though life verses are not found in the Bible, having a life verse can help you redirect your thoughts back to God and keep Him as the focus of your day. Whether you choose to select a life verse or not is entirely up to you. If having a life verse will help you in your Christian walk, choose one.
However, if you feel that having a life verse would cause feelings of legalism or other negative feelings, then you do not have to choose one. Having a life verse is not necessarily wrong as long as the motives are good, and the verse is understood in its proper context. If you do choose to select a life verse, research the verse, and craft a life of multiple Bible verses.
After you have crafted a list, you can narrow down the verses to better ascertain which verse you would like to have as your life verse. It is important to note that if you do choose to have a life verse, it is okay if you want to change it after a few years to a different verse.
A person can go through many different seasons of life, and you may feel a particular Bible verse resonates with you better over the course of the years. If you wanted, you could even choose a life verse each year, such as a life verse for 2022, 2023, 2024, and onward. It is entirely up to you.
Why Does This Matter?
Life verses can be great things if you have them for the purpose of helping you stay Christ-centered in your mind, heart, and life. Whether you choose to personally have a life verse or not, make sure you are still active in reading God’s Word and meditating on it. God’s Word is a light for our path (Psalm 119:105).
Reading the Bible, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture will help you in your overall Christian walk. God has revealed Himself to us through His creation and in the Bible. If we are not active in Bible reading, we will not be able to take our stand against Satan’s attacks.
The Bible is God’s way of communicating to us in the present day. The Lord will not talk to us out of storm clouds or through prophets in the modern-day. Rather, the Lord speaks to us through His Word.
Having a life verse can help you stay rooted in God’s Word and it can help you keep Jesus at the center of your heart as you go about your day. While the concept is not found in the Bible, it is okay for Christians to have a life verse as long as they do not misuse the verse.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.