Mistaken and Misquoted Bible Passages and Words
It's funny how the world quotes from the Bible those verses which aren't actually in the Bible. Then there are misquotes where they have the correct Scripture but the wrong wording. There also are a few terms Christian's refer too, where the word isn't actually in the Bible, but the concept or truth of it is. This is a fun, rather amusing study. Follow along and find out what the Bible doesn't say.
Mistaken Quotes Attributed to the Bible
"God helps those who help themselves"
Sorry, this is not in the Bible, nor is it biblical. It is actually a quote by Benjamin Franklin, who is not exactly a theologian. This quote is really quite opposite of what the Bible teaches. Take for example the following Scriptures:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6
Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
The Bible teaches us that without God, we will go astray. We cannot depend on ourselves. We are not perfect, we are not God, and we are sinners, every last one of us.
"Cleanliness is next to godliness."
Another proverb-ish sounding verse, but not in the Bible. Strangely, it is from the mouth of John Wesley, the great 18th century evangelist. Whether he meant physical cleanliness, or heart cleanliness, I am not sure.
"To thine own self be true."
Buzzer sounds again. Not in the Word of God, but from Shakespeare's pen in his famous play Hamlet. And again, it is not even a biblical concept. The Bible says to be true to God our Father, not ourselves.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
"Moderation in all things."
This quote is not in the Bible but from the great philosopher Aristotle.
"This too shall pass or all things must pass."
Neither of these are in the Bible and it is not known exactly where these phrases came from.
"God works in mysterious ways."
Although this a true statement, it is not in the Bible. This phrase comes from a hymn by William Cowper.
"God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."
"Spare the rod, spoil the child."
While the concept seems correct, the Scriptures do not word it this way. The verses this quote is likely to be attributed to is:
"He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently." Proverbs 13:24
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him." Proverbs 23:13-14
"Money is the root of all evil."
This is a misquote of 1 Timothy 6:10, which actually says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
There is a significant difference here. First of all "all kinds" is not the same as "all." It does not say money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. People who are greedy and covetous have a love of money. If money were the root of all or even all kinds of evil, that would eliminate giving money to the poor and needy, providing for ones family, and many other good, godly uses of it.
"The lion shall lay down with the lamb."
There are many who swear this is how the verse is worded, however the correct word usage of the verse is:
"In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all." Isaiah 11:6
"Pride goeth before a fall."
This miquoted verse comes from Proverbs 16:18 and says:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
It means pretty much the same thing, however.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
This is worded wrong. The correct wording, which can be found in Matthew 7:12 is "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
The NIV does use almost the same wording as the misquote.
That's Not How the Story Goes
There are stories in the Bible which for generations have been told with inaccurate facts. Here are just a few:
Eve ate the apple in the garden.
There is no mention of a specific fruit in the story of Eve's sin. It is simply called "fruit."
Three wise men came to see baby Jesus bearing gifts.
There is no reference to the number three. It says "wise men from the East."
The Word Isn't There, But the Truth of It Is
The word "Trinity," believe it or not, is not in the Bible; however the truth of it is to be found throughout the Scriptures. We can see the Trinity at work in creation. In Genesis 1:1-2 God and the Spirit are present in the making of the earth, and John 1:2-3 says that all things were made through Christ. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, and Isaiah 6:8, the words "We" and "Us are used referring to the Trinity.
At the Baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all present. In the Great Commission found in Matt. 28:19, Jesus sends the disciples out to preach in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Notice it say "in the Name" not Names. The three are One. There are many, many more evidences throughout the Gospel's and Paul's writings showing the presence and truth of the Triune God.
The word "rapture" is not in the Scriptures, but it is described in the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul describes it this way, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."
The word "rapture" means to be snatched away. The rapture is a bit of a controversial topic in Christendom. Some believers simply don't believe there will be a rapture. Others disagree on the timeline, and still others disagree on which Scriptures are talking about the rapture or the 2nd coming, or some other event. The 1 Thessalonians verse I quoted is the most popular one used to describe the rapture. This is not an essential doctrine so we need to give grace to one another.
God is not mentioned in the book of Esther.
Surprising but true. However, when Queen Esther realized that the Hebrew people, her people, would be destroyed, she called for a fast. Fasting was always accompanied by prayer, and the Hebrew people prayed to the One God.
The word "Incarnation" is not in the Bible, however the doctrine of the Incarnation is definitely there. The word "Incarnation" means "in the flesh." Merriam Webster defines it this way, "It is the unity of the Divine and humanity." God came to earth in the form of a Man (flesh) who was Jesus Christ.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5
"Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory." 1 Tim. 3:16 (NLT)
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, andcoming in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:5-8.
Miscellaneous Things That Are Not in the Bible
The sinners prayer
There is nothing wrong with saying a sinners prayer when committing your life to Christ. But for the record, there is no actual formulaic sinners prayer in the Bible. On the day of Pentecost when Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved, there is no mention that a sinners prayer was said by all who were saved. When they asked, "What must we do to ?" Peter simply replied "Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
The altar call
While there are instances, such as on the day of Pentecost, where thousands of people believed on the Lord, we don't find an actual altar call where people are called to an altar to get saved. Again, that is not to say it is wrong to do so. Personally, I think it is wonderful.
Slain in the Spirit
This term is not in the Bible. This is my own personal view, but I believe that there are no examples of people being slain in the Spirit as people do it today. People for generations, charismatics and pentecostal have lined up people, like in an assembly line, and when someone laid their hands on them, the Holy Spirit knocked the person flat on their backs. I fail to see how this serves any purpose and I find that people who practice this are calling attention to themselves, not the Lord.
There are instances in the Bible where the Lord has appeared to someone (usually they are alone and in prayer) and in awe they fell on their face, or actually fainted or fell asleep. In Daniel 10:5-12 we find such an occurrence:
"I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.
Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.
Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer."
I don't believe this is what is going on when people do the assembly line fall over thing in some charismatic churches and meetings. It is not a private experience, it is done by the laying on of hands of another person, and they are not seeing a vision of the Lord. Certainly they are not sleeping or fainting.
Again, this is not an essential and we all need to offer grace.
Read It and You Will Know
A lot of the sayings that people attribute to the Bible sound like proverbs, wisdom from above. The misquotes are probably ignorance, or Bible illiteracy. Sometimes it's just like the old game where somebody whispers something to someone else, and they pass it on and mess it up, and on it goes until it sounds nothing like the original or a very botched up version on it. People hear it enough times and figure it's true.
If you want to know about the Bible, God, Jesus, and all the saints and prophets, it's a good idea to learn what it says by reading it yourself. Second hand knowledge isn't always accurate. The Berean's in the book of Acts always went home after hearing Paul and his friends preach and teach to make sure that what they were saying was accurate. So, be a good Berean and read the Bible for yourself. Then you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
© 2012 Lori Colbo