5 Verses You Thought Were in the Bible, but Aren’t
Even though Western culture gets slapped with the “Post-Christian” label, that doesn’t mean references to biblical ideas have been scrubbed away. In fact, nods to Scripture show up quite often in pop culture—from movies to rock stars.
But as often as not, these attempts at grabbing onto what the Bible actually says can miss. By a lot. You see, we’ve got some “everybody knows” notions about God’s Word that borrow much more from Western ethos than they do from the Wisdom literature. You could say they’re something like the “old wives’ tales” that popular imagination has attributed to the Good Book.
That doesn’t mean these “phantom verses” are okay, though. In fact, they actually go against what Scripture teaches. Sometimes in damaging ways.
So, what verses do people think are in the Bible but really aren’t? Here are 5 to get us started.
1. “God helps those who help themselves.” 1 Americanians 17:76
The so-called American Dream means that almost anyone can be born into or come to the country with nothing, work hard, gather a loan payment or three, and die with enough to leave to children. And this “verse” (which may go back all the way to Aesop of fable fame) fits nicely with that American ethic.
But it’s definitely not biblical.
In the Bible, the help always comes from one place, which the Psalmist lays out succinctly in Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” When the Israelites stared down the crashing waves of the Red Sea and the crushing horses of Pharaoh’s army, God didn’t have the people build boats. He did the helping:
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
When desperate people came begging Jesus for help, He never had them prove their mettle. After all, He knows the sinfulness in us. Instead, He helped them because of His own compassion.
Does that mean we can just float through our Christian walk? Not at all. In fact, it’s because of our salvation through Christ that God has provided everything we need to “abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). We’re saved to do good because God provides the tools and power to get it done…
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