Is the Phrase ‘The Promises of God Are Yes and Amen’ Taken Out of Context?

God’s scriptural promises are “yes,” and believers can adamantly proclaim “amen.” However, Christians need to be careful about personally declaring a scriptural promise for themselves in their own desired expectation.

Woman with arms raised in excitement

Songs, blogs, and books often affirm that “the promises of God are yes and amen,” to inspire people to keep going in hard times or to hold on to dreams. In today’s culture, people often claim specific things as “promises of God,” such as the assurance of healing, comfort, or financial security.

They would argue that declaring “Amen” and having faith ensures that Christ will answer yes to these supposed “promises.” However, people who take this perspective often take verses like 2 Corinthians 1:20 out of context, ignoring what the verse is saying to readers. All God’s promises are “yes” in Christ, but He fulfills all biblical promises, not personal desires.

What Is the Context of 2 Corinthians 1:20?

An important aspect of reading and interpreting the Bible is to keep verses in context and consider the background setting of specific verses. In 2 Corinthians, Paul was writing to the Corinthian church about false teachers and the accusations they were making against his character and apostleship.

As the Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edition states, “One reason Paul wrote this letter was to answer insinuations raised in Corinth about the authenticity of his apostleship, the propriety of his conduct, and the sincerity of his commitment to those Christians.” By keeping the overall purpose of the epistle in mind, will help readers to better understand passages and verses in 2 Corinthians.

In the latter part of chapter one of 2 Corinthians, Paul discusses his travel plans and intention to visit the Corinthian church twice as he went to and from Macedonia (2 Corinthians 1:15-16). The false teachers accused Paul of being unreliable and careless, claiming he had made these plans but never intended to keep them (2 Corinthians 1:17-18).

Based on these false accusations, the Corinthians were being told that Paul and his fellow workers were “yes” and “no” people who made commitments but didn’t keep them. The false teachers used this reasoning to make them doubt Paul’s preaching as well.

Paul made his travel plans with the intention of keeping them if God did not change his plans. Evidently, the Lord did change Paul’s plans (2 Corinthians 2:1). The apostle did what was right by listening to God and waiting to visit the Corinthians.

Although the false teachers tried to use this to discredit Paul, he asserts that he had conducted himself in sincerity to God and not according to worldly values (2 Corinthians 1:12). Paul then ended his defense of his travel plans by reminding the Corinthians of his own trustworthiness and reliability, which is based on the Lord God Himself.

Jesus always said what He meant to say, and Paul and his workers had diligently proclaimed the truth of Jesus to them in the past (2 Corinthians 1:19). Since their ministry was established by God, their reliability as workers of God was established.

As he wrote, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him, the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

What Is the Meaning of ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’?

Central aspects of the verse deal with “Yes” and “Amen.” All promises in Scripture are “yes” in Christ. Fulfilling numerous prophecies in the Old Testament, Jesus is truly the “Yes” of the Law and Prophets (Romans 10:4).

As He stated in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (NIV). He is the promised descendant of David, born in the line of Judah as the King of kings (Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:3; Revelation 5:5; 19:16).

Christ is the promised child who would crush Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15), and the seed of Abraham who would bless all nations (Galatians 3:16). Significantly, Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior of the world foretold in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53). Even the remaining prophecies that are going to be fulfilled in the future will be fulfilled by Christ (Zechariah 14:4; Revelation 19:11-16).

Through Jesus, Christians also declare “Amen” to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). This term means “very truly” or “let it be so.” Declaring “Amen” affirms a believer’s agreement with God in what He has accomplished through the fulfillment of His promises.

Paul often ended a doxology of praise with “Amen” (1 Corinthians 14:16), which fits with the overall flow of the first chapter in 2 Corinthians. In Christ, believers can be assured that the promises of God will be accomplished, and they can offer their own affirmation of the certainty of the promises because of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Thus, by understanding the context and examining the verse, people can understand that Jesus is the One who fulfills prophecies and is the assurance that the yet-to-be fulfilled promises in Scripture will be accomplished.

Through Him, the promises in the Bible are “yes” and believers can confidently proclaim “Amen.” The Apostle Paul not only showed that Christ was the basis of his ministry but also affirmed Jesus’ central role in the promises of Scripture.

The Promises of God Vs. Personal Desires

Through close study of 2 Corinthians 1:20, one can plainly see that the promises that are “yes” and affirmed are those that are referred to in Scripture, which Christ fulfills. Specifically, these promises are biblical, not mere personal desires or affirmations.

For instance, some people believe that “God has promised me health, wealth, and happiness,” “The Lord has promised me a spouse,” or “I will be victorious over every struggle with sin because of the promises of Christ.” However, God does not promise any of these things.

While the prosperity gospel teaches that Christians will have health and wealth, Jesus reminded His followers that they will have trouble in the world (John 16:33). Many Christians around the world can testify to this fact, since following Christ often involves sacrifices and even persecution. Likewise, the Apostle Paul was neither rich nor kept from illness.

In fact, the Lord allowed Paul to have a “thorn” in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). God reminded the apostle that “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

God’s promises are sure, but Christians need to be careful about personally declaring a scriptural promise for themselves in their own personal circumstance. For example, an athlete can misuse the promise of having renewed strength (Isaiah 40:31), since they are taking the verse out of context and not considering what the promise means.

Also, a believer may wrongly assume that since the barren couples Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:19) or Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:13) were given the promise of a child, that their own barrenness is assured to be healed. Christians need to be careful in interpreting the promises of God and not misuse them for their own personal desires or wishes.

Remember to Consider Scripture’s Context

God’s scriptural promises are “yes,” and believers can adamantly proclaim “amen.” Jesus Christ fulfills the promises of the Bible, both past and future. Christians can be assured that all the promises in Scripture will come to pass just as the Lord has declared.

However, believers need to be careful to consider the context of biblical promises and not to confuse them with personal affirmations or their own desired outcomes for a situation. By treating the Bible with respect as the Word of God, followers of Christ will better understand the promises of God and not misuse them.

Kingdom Mindset – Dr. Myles Munroe

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God’s first priority

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Jesus preached the kingdom message.

Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 6:10 – your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 11:12 – From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.

Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. Luke 22:29 – And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,

Matthew 23:13 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Luke 12:32 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

What is a kingdom?

The governing influence of a king over his territory, impacting it with his personal will, purpose, and intent, produces a culture, values, morals, and lifestyle that reflect the king’s desires and nature for his citizens.

You can’t have a kingdom without a king and a domain, a territory. King’s send their citizens out to colonize the kingdom. We are citizens of the kingdom of God and are called to establish God’s kingdom here on earth, God’s morals, God’s purpose and intent, God’s values and establish His kingdom culture here on earth.

What is His kingdom culture? Heaven! We are called to establish heaven here on earth.

What are the characteristics of a kingdom?

In a kingdom, there is the principle of the commonwealth which says that all citizens have equal access to the wealth and resources of the kingdom. The quality of life of the citizens of a kingdom reflects the glory and reputation of the king. Kingdoms provide for all the needs of their citizens, and the king is personally committed to and involved in the welfare of his citizens.

Matthew 6:31-33 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Psalm 84:11 – For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good the thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

There are many more characteristics of a kingdom besides the commonwealth principle that citizens of the kingdom get to participate in:

-The king personally owns everything, yes we are just stewards

Psalm 24:1-2 – The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers.

-The king embodies the government of his kingdom -the king chooses his citizens and citizenship is not a right but a privilege.

Philippians 3:20-21 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

-the keys of the kingdom are the principles, precepts, laws, and system by which the kingdom functions.

Matthew 16:19 – I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

-as citizens, we have royal privileges

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

-The kingdom economy principle

Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

-The kingdom delegated authority principle, worship, glory, royal favor, influence, provision, and much more. So many benefits and privileges of being a citizen in His kingdom.

Developing a kingdom mindset starts with understanding what a kingdom is and who we are as citizens of God’s kingdom. As we begin to understand our identity as citizens of the kingdom of God we can begin to develop a kingdom mindset like Jesus had and preached. Jesus didn’t preach salvation, he preached the kingdom.

We need to begin to see the bigger picture of our privilege and responsibility as kingdom citizens and children of God. We are part of the royal family and can walk in the promises the word tells us about that citizenship. We have the full authority of the kingdom of God backing us up and delegated to us as ambassadors here on earth. We need to walk in that authority and power to establish His kingdom here
on earth.

John 14:12 – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and
they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father