What Is Proof Texting?

Question?   -   Newsletter   -   New!
What exactly is proof texting? Why can it be detrimental to understanding what the Bible actually teaches?

Many times when someone discusses what the Bible teaches what they may use, even though they may be unaware of it, what is called Proof Text. Proof texting uses certain short passages, many times only a single verse, pulled from the Bible in support of a particular belief or doctrine.


The problem with this method is that the person who is Proof texting usually gives their selected verses a meaning that may be entirely different from what the writer intended. The Bible is written in such a way that most verses cannot be correctly understood in a stand-alone fashion. The context of a particular verse, who wrote it, the time period in which it was written, where did they write it, etc. is needed to arrive at what God intended it to convey.

Proof texting can easily lead to wrong conclusions regarding what is the truth of God. An argument or doctrinal stand that relies heavily on proof passages is ultimately considered weak. In fact, those who preach and teach others based on such special passages in Scripture are generally viewed negatively by true Biblical scholars and those who seriously study the word of God.

A Better Way

A better way of understanding the scriptures than through proof texting is through what is called Hermeneutics. This technical term simply refers to the process or method of carefully analyzing what a particular passage might mean.

Factors used in hermeneutics include considering who wrote a particular passage, the period it was written, where and to whom the passage was written, etc. These characteristics need to be considered in order to arrive at a correct understanding of what the Bible actually teaches.

Any interpretation of Biblical text needs to stand the test of what other related parts of Scripture have to say about what is studied. This is one of the foundational principles to studying God's word! Simply using one piece of text for proof texting a certain belief, and leaving out other relevant verses, is not honestly seeking to know the mind of God.

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:10).

List of All Terms in
Dictionary of Biblical Words

Recommended Articles
Where Were Books of the Bible Written?
Comparison of Bible Translations
What Exactly Is Hermeneutics?
Why Was New Testament Written in Greek?
Are There Lost Biblical Books?
What Is the Milk and Meat of Scripture?
How to Prepare Home Bible Studies
Why Is God Not a Trinity?