Bible Verses That Don’t Actually Appear In The Bible

If your like me then you hate to hear cheap slogans and over-used phrases. Every time I go to a wedding and hear 1 Corinthians 13 read I cringe. Please, for the love of Peter, can Christians start reading the Bible?

Either way, here are some of the most over-used Bible verses….that don’t actually appear in the Bible.

1. Once Saved Always Saved

Why it exists:
This phrase is heavily used in some denominations that feel that Christianity is fine being a one-and-done type of activity. The more studied denominations like the Calvinists and Reformed call it Perseverance of the Saints. The idea is usually brought back to Jesus’ prayer in the gospel of John, which reads:

“27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28, NIV)

Why it’s an abomination:
First and foremost, this piece of theology only sounds good for those interested in acting a fool after they meet Jesus. Focusing more on the actual passage, it merely states (via Jesus) that no-one will snatch Jesus’s sheep from His hands. That’s great but it does not indicated that His sheep lack free will and can willingly remove themselves from the hand of Jesus. One only has to look as far as Jesus’ own inner circle to find an example; Judas.

Of course some might say that those who walk away were never truly saved to being with, but that would require us to know their hearts and we do not. I would also direct them to the book of Hebrew and the entire Old Testament.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:26, 27)

For more discussion on this topic read THIS POST.

2. God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Why it exists:
This one seems to be popular for many reasons. Even I have used it many times, including my previous post HERE. However, nowhere in the Bible does it appear. It’s origin is from one of America’s most beloved founding fathers; Benjamin Franklin. It was used in 1757 within his popular publication known as Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

Why it’s an abomination:
The phrase really captures the heart of what made America’s founders great. While I do kind of like the phrase, because it teaches people that they need to be responsible, it may be worth pointing out that in some ways it is the antithesis to the gospel message. God saves us because we cannot save ourselves. But, I think their is still a good sermon in there about walking in the spirit and not the flesh as well as producing good fruit.

3. God Will Never Give Your More Than You Can handle

Why it exists:
As with most quasi-biblical quotes, this one is somewhat rooted to an actual scripture. But it’s vastly mis-quoted. It is supposed to be a quote from Paul, written to the church in Corinth. The Passage from 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads:

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13, NASB)

Why it’s an abomination:
Now, the general idea from this passage is that God will not “allow” one to be tempted beyond what they are able to bear. Keep in mind that the very next sentence is a warning to “flee from idols!” This passage has a lot more to do with resisting temptation than it does with God testing you.

4. Any Quote About Judging Others…

Why it exists:
The idea that no-one can judge us but God is not exactly untrue, but the way in which we use this phrase is completely out of line. The original reference comes from quoting Jesus in both Luke and Matthew.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Luke 6:37, NASB)

Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, NASB)

It is important to note here that in both gospels this passage is situated in the context of not being hypocritical and to treat others in a Christ-like manner. If this is how we use the verse then I am all for it. Jesus Goes on to say in Luke 6:3  “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (NASB)

Why it’s an abomination:
The use of just about any verse that mentions judging almost always occurs because someone is pointing out something or correcting someone else. It usually goes something like this:

Christian #1 – Hey meet my new boyfriend! He’s not a Christian but he’s really nice and he promised to go to church with me.

Christian #2 – Uh, you know what the Bible says about dating non-Christians, right?

Christian #1 – Don’t judge me! Besides I love him….. yada yada yada

As you might have observed, the scene above has nothing to do with the original use of the word. Moreover, Paul specifically instructs the church to evaluate within the body, for the good of the body.

“But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:11-12)

5. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Why it exists:
First of all, I love things to be clean. In fact, so does God. Almost the entire book of Leviticus was written to address the clean and unclean things. The pinnacle of cleanliness was the Temple. It was required to be cleansed and the process was give to Israel in Leviticus 17.

Why it’s NOT an Abomination:
Of all the items on this list, this is the 1st of only two items that gets a pass. It is not actually in the Bible but the idea is incredibly useful in understanding the holiness and the perfection of YHWH.

6. God Moves in Mysterious Ways

Why it exists:
Yes, God indeed does behave in ways that are mysterious. However, it’s good that one does not need to read the Bible to know this fact. Which is really good since it’s not actually in the Bible. A number of Biblical references are used to allude to the idea that God works mysteriously.

“Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!” (Isaiah 45:15, NASB)

“Oh, the depth of the riches [a]both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33, NASB)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, ‘declares the LORD.'” (Isaiah 55:8, NASB)

Why it’s NOT an Abomination:
As much as I would like to hammer this quote simply because it’s so cliche, I have to give it a pass. Even though the passage does not really exist it does demonstrate a known biblical principle.

7. Avoid the appearance of evil

Why it exists:
Where do I even begin with this one……
First, before I say anything about this biblical phrase I am going to point out that this verse actually exist in the Bible…… Kind of. It is found in mostly just the King James Bible. For those who follow my blog you know how much I love the KJV.

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thes. 5:22 KJV)

However, almost all modern translations will translate it thusly: “Abstain from every form of evil.” (NASB)

What is the difference here? The difference is that avoiding all things that “could appear” to be evil is very different than avoiding all the different “kinds” of evil. So, why the discrepancy?

Why it’s an Abomination:

As it turns out, the KJV translators understood and used certain English words much differently than we do today. So, the appearance of evil would have made perfect sense to them; meaning any way in which evil appears or manifests itself. It had nothing to do with a thing or an action having the “likeness” of any certain evil. Paul was literally telling the church at Thessaloniki that they should avoid all forms of evil, not things that could possibly look bad.

This idea is easily seen if you know Greek, which was the language Paul wrote to them in. The word in Greek that Paul used was “eidious” which is the singular genitive form of “eidos.” The definition simply refers to the outward appearance or the form that something has. The way in which something is manifested. It is used elsewhere in the NT to refer to the physical manifestation of God.

“And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.” (John 5:37, NASB)

In John 5:37, did Jesus mean that no-one has ever seen anything “like” or “similar” to God? Of course not. Jesus himself said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Jesus was saying that no-one has seen God’s physical manifestation, His form, His appearance. This is how we should translate the “appearance (form/type) of evil” in 1 Thes. 5:22.

“Abstain from all forms/manifestations of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:22

In short, it’s time to stop using this verse to tell Christians that they can’t do something because someone might think they are committing a sin.

8. All things happen for a reason

Why it exists:
This saying exists because it provides hope that maybe something bad happened so that God can bring a greater good from it. While I love that idea, its absolutely not in the Bible…..unless you’re a Calvinist, but that’s another conversation.

Why it’s an Abomination:

In a sense, this passage is almost true. All things have a cause and effect, but that does not mean that God is the cause for all things. Here’s why:

Let’s say for example that I (Justin) decide today that it would be great to learn how to skateboard (is that what kids are doing these days?) and I go out to the store and buy myself a nice board. Let’s say that despite my exceptional balancing skills I end up eating pavement….. who’s fault is that?

Or what if some guy who’s desperate to feed his family mugs me tonight…. did God cause that to happen?

What if an entire nation turns away from God to worship other false idols….. did God cause that?

What if the entire population became so evil that they needed wiped out with a massive flood….. is that something God caused?

You see, once we decide that every single thing that ever occurs occurred because God decided it was going to be that way, then we are forced to think that God is responsible for all the evil actions that have ever happened. Moreover, we are forced to contemplate every little thing that happens in order to understand the “greater purpose” that is hidden within it. Does that mean the God is not sovereign? No of course not. It just means that he has given us free will to make decisions. Sometimes (many times) we chose evil over good.

If my car breaks down tomorrow I am going to blame either Volkswagen or my own crazy driving…..but certainly not God.


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