If just reading the Bible isn’t giving you the peace and happiness you desire, worry no more! Joyce Meyer claims that with her new book, you will “experience a new level of joy, contentment, and excitement about your life.” 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better will hit store bookshelves on April 4th and there is a sample available on JoyceMeyer.org that includes the introduction and the first two chapters. However, if the sample is any indication of what we can expect from the rest of the book, I’m willing to bet that it is full of twisted scriptures and total nonsense from beginning to end.
Joyce starts out her introduction talking about the problem with bad days saying, “I don’t believe for one moment that you have to go through life held hostage by your circumstances.” Then later in the same paragraph she says, “Your hope and happiness is not dependent on the world,” along with a bible passage, “He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The problem with her use of this passage is that 1 John is not talking about a bad day or our happiness, but it is talking about false teachers, which I find to be both interesting and ironic.
Joyce then twists Proverbs 4:18, “more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared]”. She says of this verse “that God’s will is for [our] lives to get better and better.” The Amplified Bible that she likes to use gives every alternative meaning and adds a lot to this text, and she also started in the middle of the verse so there is a lot of room for misconception here. This is what the English Standard Version says starting at the beginning of the verse, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” This verse is simply talking about wisdom, not literally a “perfect day” or “truly enjoying each day”, as she discusses in the next paragraph. In fact, the entire book of Proverbs speaks of wisdom and folly, and a good example of folly would be changing the meaning of scripture as you please.
Another verse Joyce uses to convince us that God wants us to enjoy our “destiny-filled life” is John 10:10, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” You may have read that thinking it sounds different than you remember, and you are right. Again, the Amplified is adding words and distorting the text. In the 25 other versions of the bible provided on Biblehub.com, not even one of them has the words “and enjoy”. The English Standard Version simply says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus was speaking here of eternal life, through belief in Him as the Son of God and the only way to Heaven. It is not saying that God wants us to have a “great day”, or have a fantastic, destiny-filled life on Earth.
The introduction ends with, “this is a book full of biblical instruction, practical application, stories to inspire, and helpful observations.” Sounds exactly like what the Bible does, so why do we need this book again? Especially since she has not given biblical instruction so far with the passages she has presented. Every passage she used in the introduction was taken out of context to make a point that she is reading into her Amplified Bible. When reading these passages in context, in any other version, it is clear they are talking about something entirely different than what she would like you to believe.
The most important observation I made in my reading is that she uses the words “I believe” many times throughout. In fact, she uses this phrase 5 times in the 4-page introduction. When learning from a bible teacher, and I use that statement loosely in this case, I don’t want to know what they believe, I want to know what the bible is teaching. A bible teacher, or pastor should be telling what God’s Word is saying, in context, not taking a few verses and placing them next to a nonsensical opinion.
This book did not give me a new level of joy about my life. In fact, it frustrated me to see how many times a person can take the bible out of context in just a few pages of writing. 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better provides 20 ways to distract you from spending time in Jesus’ Word. We are going to have bad days no doubt, but we can still have joy through the bad days and we don’t need Joyce Meyer’s new book to do it. Just remember John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”