“This is my favorite passage.” We heard this phrase from our pastor in almost every sermon. After a while the congregation started chuckling whenever he said it. Even he laughed at his overuse of the phrase as we all came to realize that whatever passage he’s preaching on inevitably turned out to be his favorite.
Is it wrong to have a favorite Bible verse, though, a verse that you actually consider more important in your life than other parts of the Bible?
It sounds odd when put that way, but people do it.
They call it their “life verse”.
I was at a church leadership conference the first time I heard the phrase. It came from one of the speakers who explained he followed a particular philosophy of church leadership because it fit his “life verse”.
He didn’t explain what a life verse was, just acted as if we all knew what he was talking about. Maybe everyone else did, but I was in the dark.
A life verse: Should I have one? Is my leadership suffering because I haven’t found my life verse? Is my life suffering because I don’t have one?
Here’s what I decided: No One Needs a Life Verse.
Ranking Scripture is Wrong
Picking one verse or passage over others as the guidepost for one’s life mistakes the purpose of Scripture.
The entire Bible – the word of God – is written so we will know God. It is the written revelation of the One who is himself the Word of God (John 1:1), God who told us he came so that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), the One who gave us the Bible so we “may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31.)
But do we really need the whole Bible in order to know God and grow in a relationship with him? Do we need to bother reading the seemingly interminable genealogies? Is there really any need to try to understand chapter after chapter of Old Testament laws on temple sacrifices?
The answers to those three questions are: yes, yes, and yes.
It’s the answer to the first question that leads to the answer to the other two.
All 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. (2 Timothy 3:16-17.)
All Scripture – each and every verse in the Bible – is useful for God’s people. Nowhere are we told to elevate one passage over another.
So if you want to be thoroughly equipped, if you want to know what God has for you in your life, then read all that he has provided for you in his written word.
After all, it’s not a matter of picking a favorite verse for your life but living in the truth that all of Scripture is favored by God for your life to be full and abundant in Jesus.