My name is Kathy and I don’t have a life verse. And I feel like I just might be the only Christian on the planet who doesn’t.
What is a “life verse?”
According to the Dictionary of Christianese, a “life verse” is a “specific Bible verse that a Christian believes to be specially representative or predictive of his or her life. Many Christians regard their life verse as an inspirational motto or lifelong mission statement.”
Why do people choose a life verse?
Honestly, I’m really not sure. As far as Christian history goes, it’s a fairly recent practice – like in just the last 100 years. As far as I have been able to determine, there is no biblical principle to support choosing a life verse. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, or a bad thing to do, but it could be more trendy than spiritual.
If you’re considering choosing a life verse, you can get all kinds of help online. For instance, you can learn how to find your life verse. Then if you’re still having trouble narrowing the more than 31,000 down to just one, here are 20 suggestions! Still at a loss? You can take this quiz to determine what yours should be! But the article I like the most was this sarcastic one on “Stuff Christians Like.”
Right now I don’t see a need to choose one verse that defines, directs, or represents my life. However, that doesn’t mean concentrating on a specific verse or passage for a period of time is a bad thing. But I do think you should proceed with caution.
4 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Life Verse
- All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13) – Yes, some verses and passages have greater impact at certain times in our lives. For instance, if we are in a season of grief and loss we may want to memorize verses about God’s comfort and peace. But God’s Word has value for all things – the whole Word of God, not just a piece. Why would we even attempt to narrow it down to one verse!
- One verse or passage can easily be misapplied – We cannot correctly understand one verse apart from its context in the greater passage. Pulling one out on its own can be dangerous. For instance, in the list of 20 life verses mentioned above, Philippians 4:13 was at the top of their list. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? I see it on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and wall plagues all the time. But I imagine most people take this verse out of context. When we read the larger passage, we discover that Paul was writing about finding contentment even in the most dire of circumstances. Yet we often claim this verse as a promise that God will empower us to tackle any big task or great thing we want to take on.
- Only God knows the future – It seems if we take this life verse thing really seriously that we just could get the cart before the horse. What I mean is this – if we choose one verse as a statement for our life, we could easily fall into choosing a verse that reflects our life rather than working to make our life reflect God’s Word.
- It’s easy to make ourselves the focus – Often choosing a life verse seems to be a lot about “me,” and not so much God. Many times, it’s about what makes us feel good or reflects what we want to do for God.
Yes, there are times when I’ve spent days or weeks or more focusing on one passage of Scripture. There are specific verses I hold dear because God has used them to teach me something huge or impact me in a significant way. And I fully expect that to continue. But for now, there’s no “life verse” for me.
Would love for you to chime in. “Yes” or “no” to a life verse and why!