That’s Not in the Bible!

There are several popular sayings in our culture that are attributed to the Bible but are not found in the pages of that sacred and holy book.  Some are relatively harmless and kind of helpful, too, like Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Being clean is a good thing, isn’t it?  Others are simply misquotes.  For example, Money is the root of all evil most likely comes from misquoting 1 Timothy 6:10.  Paul’s actual advice to Pastor Tim is, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”  Money in this verse is neutral.  The love of it is what gets us into trouble.  There is a good sermon there!

However, some of these popular sayings that are not found in the Bible are downright harmful and psychologically dangerous.  During the month of January, I will examine four of these well-known “verses” in my sermon series, That’s Not In the Bible.  We will also look at what the Bible does say about each topic.

Here is a preview:

– Love the sinner, hate the sin.  This one seems harmless and maybe even gracious but in between the lines there is a spirit of judgmentalism at work.  Many find it easy to use this statement as a way of denigrating the other while (silently) lifting their self to the status of non-sinner.  Since Jesus never called anyone a sinner we should follow his example and do the same.

– God helps those who help themselves. This is almost the exact opposite of the Bible’s teachings on helping our neighbors, caring for the least of these and so on.  This common saying has its roots in the good old fashioned American ideal of every man and woman for him/herself but it is not biblical.

– Everything happens for a reason. This idea implies that everything that happens to you is sent by God.  It is heard most often in the face of tragedy. This does great damage to ones caught in the turmoil of tragic circumstances. 

– Satan tempted Eve.  This one is not so much a popular saying as it is a popular misconception.  Satan was not there.  A serpent was.  The Genesis story doesn’t even know about Satan.  It will be 500 years before a biblical writer begins to even think about the idea of a devil. 

I will look forward to seeing many of you in worship in January as we explore these timely topics.  This would be a great series to invite a friend or neighbor to attend.

Grace and peace to you,