That’s not in the Bible?
Since the New Year often brings lists of top tens from all over the place I thought we should share our personal list of the top ten things people often mistakenly think are in the Bible but actually are not.
10. “God helps those who help themselves”
This actually has it’s origins in ancient Greek even though it is most often attributed to Benjamin Franklin since it appeared in his book Poor Richard’s Almanac. This runs contrary to biblical teaching, since man can do nothing to help himself apart from God’s grace.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.”
–Jeremiah 13:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
9. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”
This phrase was used by Charles Dickens in his book Great Expectation but it does not appear in the bible. While keeping yourself clean is a good thing, Jesus warned about cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside is still dirty. (Luke 11:39) Only God can clean the heart.
8. “God forgives those who forgive themselves”
The bible never speaks about forgiving ourselves. Instead, it speaks about forgiving others who trespass against us. Mostly it speaks about seeking forgiveness from God since we have sinned against him. God forgives only because of the sacrifice of Christ. What an injustice it would be if we only had to forgive ourselves to gain eternal life. Can you imagine a criminal telling the judge he should be let go because he forgave himself?
7. “God works in mysterious ways.”
The is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform). However this is reminiscent of Deuteronomy 29:29 but regardless we should be accurate in our representation of scripture.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
–Deuteronomy 29:29 New King James Version (NKJV)
6. “Money is the root of all evil”
While the government would love to use this as justification to part us from more of our money in order to relive us of its evils, this phrase is not found in the bible. Instead it says, “the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) This points back to the Tenth Commandment and the first. If we love money we can’t love God at the same time. Also, the want of money is covetousness which leads to breaking other commandments like the eighth, “thou shall not steal.”
5. “to thine own self be true”
This supposed verse comes from Shakespeare play Hamlet. I’m not sure we should be true to ourselves when our true selves are wretchedly sinful. Just read Isaiah 64:6.
4. “The seven deadly sins”
The list of seven deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony) are not listed together anywhere in the bible, nor are they considered more deadly than any other. All sins are deadly leading to eternal punishment in hell. It was the Catholic Church that made up this phrase and its accompanied list.
3. “Charity begins at home”
This phrase is credited to Terence, the Roman comic writer. But it also sometimes attributed to Sir Thomas Browne. Either way, charity began with God.
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
– 1 John 4:19 New King James Version (NKJV)
2. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
This may be true but it’s not in the bible. Many people intend to find out the answers to what must I do to be saved but never obey the command to repent and trust the savior.
1. “God is all forgiving”
The implication here is that God will forgive all because he is kind and good. The sinner hopes this is true because he knows if God is just he will be punished. But the bible teaches that not only is God loving and kind he is also just and cannot subvert justice and just forgive and allow criminals to go free.
“…by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
– Exodus 34:7b New King James Version (NKJV)
If you know of other “verses” people believe are in the Bible but really are not please leave a comment and let us know.