That’s In the Bible!

image by Robin Higgins on pixabay

A good many of us know more Biblical scripture than we think we do, and some of us know less than we think we do. I won’t disclose the category to which I belong. We’re familiar with John 3:16, and the 23rd Psalm, and Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning…”). There are also many passages that we can quote, even though we may not know the chapter and verse. Matthew 6:9-13, for example, is probably the most familiar of these passages, but we refer to it as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Another familiar passage, thanks to George Handel’s “Messiah,” is Isaiah 9:6—“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (I’ll bet you heard the music in your head.)

Those of us who went to church regularly learned even more scripture through familiar hymns:

Great Is Thy Faithfulness—Lamentations 3:22-24

Holy, Holy, Holy—Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8

Amazing Grace—1 Chronicles 17:16-17 and John 9:25

Many contemporary worship hymns, in my opinion, are even more scripture-based than the old standbys. My aunt referred to these contemporary hymns as “7-11 songs,” because in her opinion, you sing the same seven words at least eleven times. She was not completely incorrect. For an amusing and irreverent take on contemporary worship music, check out “The Worship Song Song” by Random Action Verb Worship. If you are easily offended, please do not click on the above link. Seriously, just read on.

Now let’s look at a few “Biblical” quotes that are not, in fact, in the Bible:

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” While this verse is a loose interpretation of Proverbs 13:24, the actual phrase was coined by a British poet Samuel Butler in the 17th century.

“This too shall pass.” Although Ecclesiastes 3:1 states that “To everything there is a season, a time for everything purpose under heaven,” the quote is actually attributed to Muslim mystics.

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Ritual purification and handwashing are described in both Exodus and Leviticus, but Francis Bacon, and later John Wesley, get the real credit for this quote.

“God moves in mysterious ways.” It sounds good, but the closest Biblical link might be Isaiah 55:8: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”

“God helps those who help themselves.” The quote most likely came from 17th century English politician Algernon Sydney and was familiarized by Benjamin Franklin. Not only is this not in the Bible, but it’s actually the opposite of the spirit of scripture. God doesn’t want us to be lazy, but He does want us to rely on him rather than trying to be self-sufficient. Psalm 121:2 tells us that “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

There’s no profound point to today’s essay—I’m simply sharing some information/trivia that I found interesting. After all, “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” That’s a Bible verse, right?

Sources consulted:

The Top 10 Verses People Think Are in the Bible But are Not

10 Popular Bible Verses That Aren’t Actually in the Bible

5 Verses You Thought Were in the Bible…But Aren’t


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