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Actually, that's not in the Bible
Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden right? Nope. That's one of many phantom passages that people think are in the Bible.
June 5th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Actually, that's not in the Bible

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people  - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to - people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

“They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text."

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

Ignorance isn’t the only cause for phantom Bible verses. Confusion is another.

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform).

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism,  says Thomas Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas.

“No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying - if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible,” Kidd says.

Our fondness for the short and tweet-worthy may also explain our fondness for phantom biblical phrases. The pseudo-verses function like theological tweets: They’re pithy summarizations of biblical concepts.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child” falls into that category. It’s a popular verse - and painful for many kids. Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it's not in the Bible?

It’s doubtful. Her possible retort: The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

Another saying that sounds Bible-worthy: “Pride goes before a fall.” But its approximation, Proverbs 16:18, is actually written: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

There are some phantom biblical verses for which no excuse can be offered. The speaker goofed.

That’s what Bruce Wells, a theology professor, thinks happened to Ditka, the former NFL coach, when he strayed from the gridiron to biblical commentary during his 1993 press conference in Chicago.

Wells watched Ditka’s biblical blunder on local television when he lived in Chicago. After Ditka cited the mysterious passage, reporters scrambled unsuccessfully the next day to find the biblical source.

They should have consulted Wells, who is now director of the ancient studies program at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. Wells says Ditka’s error probably came from a peculiar feature of the King James Bible.

“My hunch on the Ditka quote is that it comes from a quirk of the King James translation,” Wells says. “Ancient Hebrew had a particular way of saying things like, ‘and the next thing that happened was…’ The King James translators of the Old Testament consistently rendered this as ‘and it came to pass.’ ’’

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

People may get verses wrong, but they also mangle plenty of well-known biblical stories as well.

Two examples: The scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, nor did any New Testament passages say that three wise men visited baby Jesus, scholars say.

Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

Most people know the popular version - Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

“Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent,” says Kevin Dunn, chair of the department of religion at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years,” Dunn says.

Getting biblical scriptures and stories wrong may not seem significant, but it can become dangerous, one scholar says.

Most people have heard this one: “God helps those that help themselves.” It’s another phantom scripture that appears nowhere in the Bible, but many people think it does. It's actually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation's founding fathers.

The passage is popular in part because it is a reflection of cherished American values: individual liberty and self-reliance, says Sidnie White Crawford, a religious studies scholar at the University of Nebraska.

Yet that passage contradicts the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast, Crawford says.

Crawford cites a scripture from Leviticus that tells people that when they harvest the land, they should leave some “for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10), and another passage from Deuteronomy that declares that people should not be “tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”

“We often infect the Bible with our own values and morals, not asking what the Bible’s values and morals really are,” Crawford says.

Where do these phantom passages come from?

It’s easy to blame the spread of phantom biblical passages on pervasive biblical illiteracy. But the causes are varied and go back centuries.

Some of the guilty parties are anonymous, lost to history. They are artists and storytellers who over the years embellished biblical stories and passages with their own twists.

If, say, you were an anonymous artist painting the Garden of Eden during the Renaissance, why not portray the serpent as the devil to give some punch to your creation? And if you’re a preacher telling a story about Jonah, doesn’t it just sound better to say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not a “great fish”?

Others blame the spread of phantom Bible passages on King James, or more specifically the declining popularity of the King James translation of the Bible.

That translation, which marks 400 years of existence this year, had a near monopoly on the Bible market as recently as 50 years ago, says Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“If you quoted the Bible and got it wrong then, people were more likely to notice because there was only one text,” he says. “Today, so many different translations are used that almost no one can tell for sure if something supposedly from the Bible is being quoted accurately or not.”

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone - milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper - to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler - and the NFL coach - start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Faith

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. 30.06 Marine

    Let's not forget "Neither a borrower or a lender be." That one is attributed to William Shakespeare.

    July 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  2. Ray

    "...and so son, this is how lawyers came into existence"

    July 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  3. Da'rrell

    The Bible. Greatest fairy tale ever written.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Eby

      Fairy tale to some, but life for some.....

      July 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • BibleScholar

      What a cheap shot from someone behind a computer screen, never ceases to amaze me. So tell me, Mr. All Knowing, how was the first atom created? How is it that anything came to existence? What lies beyond the space we can see, beside space that we have yet to see? How is it that Man, a truely weak and inadequat species, has grown from that of an ignorant "cave man" to the controllers (and destroyers) of today's world? Before you denounce religion, figure out why you believe what you believe and if you say the Bible is a Fairytale – you better be able to quantify everything you believe about the world around you – all the way back to the very beginning without any lapse in fact or time. If you can't, you're "science" is a fairytale.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Uriah

      How do you know? Have you died yet?

      July 24, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Uriah

      Choose your words wisely. Your fairytale is your life.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Sara

      Flowers in the Attic- VC Andrews, Great series! It's about well, I don't lrelay want to give it away, but it's about these children locked away in an attic VERY dysfunctional family issues.My Sweet Audrina- VC Andrews, A stand alone novel. It's one of my favorites and fits into your category greatly. Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay AsherRunaway-?, A good, quick, read.The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold, A MUST read.The Almost Moon-Alice SeboldLucky- Alice Sebold, A story Alice Sebold wrote about her ****. I could probably go on forever, except I can't remember anymore Happy New Year!

      April 1, 2012 at 5:00 am |
  4. Amber87

    The thing with scholars is that we have to be careful with them. No two scholars are exactly alike with their beliefs, just like doctors. They are full of study and knowledge, but many of their conclusions are opinion. Yes, there truly is one real answer, and quite frankly it is in the bible, but because we are imperfect humans with imperfect minds we are not going to see it with perfection. We will find out one day the full truth of everything that we all argue over. Until then, we can only do what we can which is to study it for ourselves. Yes, scholars help us. But which one are you going to end up following? Believe me, my husband is in seminary and plans to be a seminary professor of old testament and Hebrew. I have sat through all my life debates and discussions from folks even in the same denominations and churches! And they don't all agree over everything. So the best thing to do, is study it for yourself and then only use the scholars for guidance, not to tell you all the answers.
    ps. Satan was the serpent who tempted Eve.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Hello Amber87

      I find your comments interesting. I agree that there are many different religions with different views and if you ask each and every one of them; who has the truth? I’m quite certain all of them will say they do. The Bible speaks literally as well as metaphorically. So; how can we truly know what the Bible teaches and know its meanings? Well let’s see: in one of your comments you stated “Until then, we can only do what we can which is to study it for ourselves.” It’s true that personal study of the Bible is very important and can be uplifting. But was this the same reasoning of the first Christians to only study it for ourselves? Take note:

      •Philip a Christian man at the time was inspired by the Holy Spirit to approach an E•thi•o′pi•an eunuch that was reading the prophet Isaiah. “Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” He said: “Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” And he entreated Philip to get on and sit down with him.” (Acts 8:27-31)

      •The apostil Paul also saw the need of being taught in the congregations when he said “let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as YOU behold the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

      As you can see that God does use men to teach the Bible just like he used Philip and the apostil Paul in these examples noted. We need the proper guidance through Jehovah God’s Holy Spirit. So how do we know who to follow? Here is my advice to you. Do a deep prayer to God and ask him to lead you to the truth and ask it in Jesus name; your answer will come soon. In the mean time we must be very careful when we take to heart everything a scholar may say to us. The apostil Paul warned us about them when he wrote: “For it is written: “I will make the wisdom of the wise [men] perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual [men] I will shove aside.” Where is the wise man? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this system of things? Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not get to know God, God saw good through the foolishness of what is preached to save those believing.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21) One does not need to have years of school to be considered wise men in God’s eyes. Jesus made it clear when he chose non-scholars as his disciples. I urge you to continue reading your Bible daily.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  5. Bev Nelson

    Regarding the following excerpt of your article:
    Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

    Most people know the popular version – Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

    But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

    “Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent,” says Kevin Dunn, chair of the department of religion at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

    “Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years,” Dunn says.

    I don't agree with this opinion. Satan WAS disguised as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Revelation 12:9 states "This great dragon - the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world ...". Revelation 20:2 states "He seized the dragon - the old serpent, who is the devil, Satan - and bound him in chains for a thousand years." I believe it is clear that all of these verses refer to the same serpent, Satan.

    July 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • JayGee

      Bev...

      you're right, it says that in Revelations. The END of the bible.

      Genesis is at the beginning of the bible. The article says, that nowhere in Genesis is the serpent identified as Satan.

      The article is telling the truth. It says that in Genesis, it isn't called satan. It may make a comparison in revelations, but that doesn't mean that it said it in Genesis. Revelations (in the new testament) came far after the old testament. Therefore, it is accurate in saying that the print of a serpent doesn't come until centuries after the original Genesis was written.

      I'm kinda confused how you think that it's false. It doesn't say that there is never something that refers to it as satan... it just says not in Genesis.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Carl

      jaygee – Bev never said it was false. It seems that all of us can assume in error. The Bible doesn't mention satan in Genesis, in this short passage. The scholar is correct. The symbolism escapes the scholar. The meaning escapes the scholar. Genesis 3:14-15 is very clearly referring to satan. The whole gospel is in Genesis, but the truth of that is only being revealed over time. Scholars generally forget this, and only look at the Bible as a piece of literature. How sad that a graduate of a school of divinity would look first at the literature, and later at God.

      July 22, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Andy

      Okay..it was a snake. In some circles, the snake was Lilith, Adam's first wife who became a "demon" because she wouldn't be an underling of Adam.
      Satan isn't isn't even mentioned until the book Job..and is known as the Adversary...
      In order to understand the Bible, one has to actually read it, along with all the odd interpretations people have had about the text over the past 5000 years or so. Even if you want to argue that the Bible is the "word of God". I'd argue that maybe some of you haven't actually "heard" what God had to say. We read, we interpret, and we constantly misunderstand the message since arguable no one has heard directly from God for about 2000 years or so.Esp. if you are listening to some 3rd party preacher who has cherry picked what he/she wants you to hear.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  6. Lakeyia Medina

    I would like to first acknowledge the truth that there are many who profess the Bible, yet are not personally familiar with scripture due to lack of personal study. Many people are content and comfortable with relying on receiving 'truth' from others without also seeking it out for themselves. Now to a degree we all practice this in some form or another. No one can truly argue against the fact that MUCH of our knowledge and truth is based on the testimony/findings of others. Where the distinction comes in is whether we will leave it just on the testimony of others or whether we will also seek it out for ourselves (obviously not in every case). What I did not appreciate about this article is first it's biased and almost misleading opinion. Many of the quotes that are not literal scripture are based on principle of literal scripture. I will address two quotes. "Cleanliness is next to godliness", is derived from the literal passage of Galatians 5:19-21. In it Paul explains the "fruits" (or actions) of the flesh/ungodly and 'uncleanness' is listed as one of them. So in that sense hygiene can be an indication of someone's spiritual standing. Now when the Bible speaks of 'uncleanness' it is not talking about being spotless, but a filth that goes beyond the average filth. It is a filth that reveals a person's spirit man. So while the literal quote is not found in the Bible, the principle is. The quote "spare the rod, spoil the child" is taken from the literal passage in Proverbs 13:24. It's not a ticket for parents to abuse their children, it is wise advice for parents who's child's actions call for physical punishment at times. The same as when we send our kids to the corner or take away their favorite toy. It is discipline towards someone we love because we know that if we continue to allow destructive behavior it will result in the destruction of our child's life. Again put the 'rod' to your child is not a license to abuse. The punishment has to fit the crime, and some children are more mild tempered than others. Much of the quotes people state may not be literal scripture but it is based upon biblical principle. While there are quotes that can be used for evil, the overall theme of this article falls short in proving its point.

    July 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Tyler_Tom

    Book of Armaments

    "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

    July 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. maggie

    Scripture defines scripture. The reason we can say the serpent that the bible speaks of in Genesis is Satan the devil it is because in Revelation 12:9 calls Satan the devil the original serpent. It is very clear in the the bible it is the same snake. The author should have done some reading first before he wrote this article.

    July 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • LostNomad

      Scripture doesn't define scripture. It can add to itself but not define itself. It is not very clear in the bible that it is the same snake any more than the talking donkey was clearly the donkey from Noah's ark.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • George R

      So, no time at all passed between creation and the fall, even though it doesn't say that anywhere? Further, do you know what a "metaphor" is?

      July 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  9. Hartley Anderson

    I've slowly come to the conclusion that very few people, including clergy, actually study the Bible, which this article implies. And Scripture refers to that when it speaks of the low and high roads, that few will find the high one. Also, Jesus referred to it when he rhetorically asked the question would he would find faith on earth when he returned.
    What faith in God really amounts to, as practiced by most, is faith in man. Mention the admonition to keep one's eyes on Jesus and "Christians" will start talking about their favorite pastor, "Christian" author, etc.

    July 21, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  10. Gavin

    Why do non-believers and anti-believers frequent "belief" sites?
    Why do atheists spend so much time discussing God?
    I know that there is a God,I have a testimony of that but the antis want to say "you are wrong there is no God",which is strange considering that they don't know what I know and that they have NEVER bothered to try and find out if God exists.
    "If any of you lack wisdom,let him ask of God,that giveth to all liberally,and upbraideth not;and it shall be given him.
    But let him ask in faith,nothing wavering.For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed"
    James 1:5-6

    July 21, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, that's not accurate. Most atheists started out as believers. Personally, I realized I didn't believe in god when I kept having to invent reasons why the universe needed a god. In the history of the world, there is not a single shred of proof that ANY god has ever existed, but there is ample evidence for the formation of the universe without any supernatural help.

      Many of us post here because there are religious people trying to legislate their beliefs. We also post because we think our thoughts are just as valuable as yours and don't wish to be silenced.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Ryan

      We frequent this topic because at some point, I start to become embarressed for our race. We have come soooo far with so many amazing things....but lots of people are still lost or stuck in the idea of a deity running the show........and they reference the book they created as a form of "proof". It's sad and depressing.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Ryan

      Gavin-

      Never bothered to see if he exists??? How might you go about such a feat? How about the lockness monster, bigfoot, whiches in your backwoods....list goes on and on and on. You are CRAZY! Please don't babysit children or be left alone with them.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Peace & Love

      Just would like to point out that I am a Christian and maybe many people in my faith disagree with me, but I believe the Bible supports evolution. If you read Genesis... I'll paraphrase here but it says let the earth bring forth grass... God created great whales and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly. The land produced the grass, the water produced the whales. The Bible says a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day etc. basically saying that to God in heaven time is relative. So if that it so than what if the earth wasn't literally created in 7 days but was created in the timeframe science estimates it took for the waters to evolve a whale or the earth to produce grass or animals?

      July 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • J.W

      What is the evidence of the universe forming without supernatural help? What is the evidence that life occurred without supernatural help? These things have not be scientifically proven. Some of these explanations may have been what happened, but if we cannot show how or why they happened scientifically, then there must have been another force involved.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Messenger

      Scripture says, Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3 (KJV)

      By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

      By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3 (ESV)

      By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. Hebrews 11:3 (ASV)

      July 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Harish

      Just gotta put this out there, since I don't know where else to comment, but your tetwes are cracking me up! :] I'll definitely give you the follow on twitter

      March 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Siyajkak

    not a huge thing. The bible shouldn't be taken literally, and a lot of parts should just be ignored. Over millenia of revisions, mistranslations, mis-transcriptions, editing, and passage via word of mouth, the Bible is a compilation of misquotations itself. It should be taken as a whole, the details being, in most cases, unimportant. Only the New Testement can be said to be mostly credible, and even then...

    July 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Hartley Anderson

      Balogna! Buy a good modern-English translation, such as the NASB or the NIV (but minus a commentary - you want God's words, not man's), believe what God says in Isaiah 2:22. Psalm 146 and 1 John 2:26 & 27, and start reading, asking Him to teach you and to give you wisdom. If you're serious about seeking Him, which includes doing as He commands, you'll soon be amazed at how much you're learning.
      God can be relied on, but you must be serious about wanting Him as Lord of your life.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • George R

      God's words? God dictated the Bible? Furthermore, he dictated the bible *In modern English*?

      You must be monolingual to not understand that translation inherently alters meaning. A translation of someone's words can never be said to be "their words."

      July 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • CRE

      As an interpreter, I get paid quite a large sum of money to translate other people's words from their native language to another while making sure that they are "their own words." Translation is an art. To say that it cannot be done is absolutely false.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  12. Gary

    "Most people know the popular version – Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. "

    Ha ha. Even this article's author quoted a big one, and did not point it out. The Tree of Life was not prohibited. Gen. 2:9 & 2:17

    July 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • tahitigirl

      Good catch! It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • ej

      Again, we need to be careful with the details! I agree that Satan was tempting Eve in the guise of a serpent, but where does it say that Eve ate an APPLE? It is a FRUIT of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wasn't an apple tree! (Found in Gen. 3)

      July 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • ej

      ...kinda like Jonah and the Whale!! The Bible only describes it as a Great Fish!

      July 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Fred

      "kinda like Jonah and the Whale!! The Bible only describes it as a Great Fish!"

      Depends on which translated version you are reading some bibles do say whale.

      July 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  13. CS

    Doubleday 3:16 – "And there shalt be no crying in baseball."

    July 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Norm

      John 3:26: And Lord sayeth 'Go Sox!' ~ Peter

      July 22, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Mbye

      I cannot stop in the dlidme of a chapter either. I would love to see your schedule! I am trying to become a morning person; key word "trying" ;) Also, I measure my percentage by using the smartphone app "YouVersion". I believe you can go to youverison.com to also access the reading plan. Blessings!

      April 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  14. abdul

    maybe people mixing between Qur'anic and biblical narratives. it;s Islamic belief that Satan misled Adam and Eve and caused them be kicked out of paradise. Qur;an 2 : 36 states, " But Satan caused them ( Adam and Eve ) to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been, and We said, " Go down [all of you] as enemies to one another and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time"

    July 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Matt

    Jonah 1:17 The Lord arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.... does it really matter what kind of fish?
    Genesis 3:1-7 The serpent convinced the woman to eat the apple... The point isn't who caused the temptation, the problem is Adam & Eve's response to that temptation.

    July 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • denny

      Since the "whale" is often misquoted in this verse and being that whales are mammals, not fish, it would seem that what type of fish would be important. :)

      July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • LostNomad

      The Lord arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.... does it really matter what kind of fish?
      *A whale isn't a fish. If nothing else, accuracy matters.
      The serpent convinced the woman to eat the apple... The point isn't who caused the temptation, the problem is Adam & Eve's response to that temptation.
      *There is more than one point to this story. One is very much who caused the temptation. What is being suggested is that Satan didn't cause the original sin.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Hartley Anderson

      The problem was they did what they wanted as opposed to obeying God. And remember: They didn't have the sin nature at that point, so they knew better. How do we know they didn't have the sin nature? They weren't embarrassed about their nakedness until after they'd disobeyed.
      But even with the sin nature, being embarrassed about nakedness makes no sense; it's entirely illogical. Why should certain bodily orifices be covered up, while others can be completely exposed? We all know that everyone who has been normally formed has them.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Wow

      lostnomad, Who is a Christian supposed to believe helped caused the first sin on earth? There is only one possible answer if you are a Christian.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  16. funk

    He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24)

    July 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  17. SwissArmyKnife

    I find it a little disingenuous for the writer to say that "Most people know the popular version – Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life...But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden."

    The Jews understood this to be Satan, the fallen archangel (originally created beautifully and full of glory), and the New Testament Jewish and Gentile Christians understood this to be Satan, as well. He is oft referred to as "the serpent" because of His sneakiness.

    If we are willing to not simply take one verse out of the whole context of God's Word, intellectual honesty will admit that this passage is referring to the Tempter.

    Secondly, for those who doubt the reality of Satan have obviously not seen those demonically possessed and consequently delivered from demons. Satan is only a real fear to those who have not submitted themselves to the Lord, as even Satan is under the power of God in Christ Jesus.

    Scoffers have always been around. I was one. They will come and go. Sadly, they will also face the reality of Jesus as Lord someday, when it's too late, unless they humble themselves and seek the Kingdom of God as Jesus and the Apostles taught.

    If you are interested in finding the Truth, you will be able to apprehend Him. But you must be willing. You must ask Him, seek Him, and knock at the door of Truth. His name is Jesus!

    July 20, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • i2h

      so if i have faith in the zombie jew to absolve my sins, he will telepathically hear my calls for absolution and the grand poobah sky wizard will let me into his magical candyland? sure, sounds absolutely possible and in no way delusional. where do i sign up?

      July 20, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • David

      It is also valid to note that the serpent portrayed in Genesis 3 behaves exactly as Satan does when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4). Throughout Scripture Satan as shown as a tempter that uses only half truths just like the Serpent in Genesis 3. It is a fair assumption that the serpent is in fact Satan as only a character analysis would reveal the stark similarities between the two. This coupled with other biblical references and brief knowledge of how the Hebrews viewed this text point to the serpent being Satan. However, I do feel that this is an open handed issue and does not discount anyone's belief in Christ. You do have to resolve this instance some other way that is consistent with the rest of Scripture if you do not view that it is Satan.

      July 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Solomon Solomon

      Rev 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. #WIN

      July 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Hartley Anderson

      Amen!

      July 21, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Pastorbob

      good point, however the Bible never mentioned an "Apple" in the scripture reference. IT only tells us that is was "fruit". Just to inform. God bless and i pray that those who are unbelievers for Christ to opne the eyes to the FACT of the Bible which is the only TRUTH there is for the world! One will either confess Christ s Lord now, or later which will be too late. But everyone will confess Christ as Lord, however some will be on their way to hell. God help the USA!

      July 21, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  18. MJSouth

    The bible helps teaches lessons, it is not a literal nor history book!!

    July 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • i2h

      i absolutely agree with your statement. countless others of your faith however don't share the same sentiment and treat it as literal truth.

      July 20, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Hartley Anderson

      Really? Says who, those who refuse to believe? I'm no professional historian, but I've heard time and again that archelogy typically uncovers evidence that proves the accuracy of the Bible's historical account.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Wow

      Take a trip to Isreal. You will be amazed at the archealogical evidence that abounds to support the OT and NT in that country.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • BibleScholar

      Actually, you couldn't be more wrong. The Bible is extremely literal in many cases, quite historically accurate according to many historical scholars, and generally the Way, the Truth and the Light for all who believe in it's words.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  19. auminer

    no one can or ever has built an immunity to cyanide, period,,,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  20. Keiffer

    It is fiction. Science proved the earth was not made in a thousand years, or 7 days. It is nothing but propaganda to control the masses.

    July 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Mark Curts

      Keiffer,

      I respectfully disagree. I'd like to challenge you, if you are not closed to the possibility of being wrong, which would be a very unintelligent stance, wouldn't it?
      How would you respond to the factual evidence presented at Answersingenesis.org/. Can you examine the evidence objectively, with an open mind?

      If you're up for it, you may want to begin at http://www.answersingenesis.org/PublicStore/product/In-Six-Days,4497,224.aspx

      Regards

      July 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mark: I checked out your site. It lost all credibility with this statement:

      "The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on."

      If that is representative of the logic of this site, it has nothing to offer anyone interested in the truth.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • David

      What you're referring to shows that you yourself have not studied the words in just Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." These are the first two verses in the Bible and they both take place before the 7 days that you are referencing. This implies that there very well could be an incredibly old earth. The Bible does not say how long there is between the creation of the "heavens and earth" or, better put, "universe" and the Biblical 7 days of creating days, animals, and etc. While i know this will not suffice what you seek because you refuse to study Scripture for yourself I want you to be informed on what it actually says.

      July 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Hartley Anderson

      The "days" used by the King James' translators was just one way of stating what they understood of the Hebrew then, in the 16th century. A more accurate rendition by today's understanding is: The "evening-morning" merismus of Genesis 1:8 should be more accurately rendered "this was the second complete phase of the entire cycle" in order to capture the meaning as understood by the original author. (Reference: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, general editor Geoffrey W. Bromiley, publisher: Eerdmans)
      The trouble is some "Christians" refuse to believe that any translation other than the KJV/AV is God's Word. So, they're stuck with refuting all of science's dating technologies, which then becomes part of their "faith."

      July 21, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Ryan

      Mark Cutis-

      oh buddy.....you have never really debated a topic like this before have you? DATA my friend. You all need data (and science has done a damn good job of supporting it's thoughts) to support your claims. UNBIASED data. Remember that last part....UNBIASED. Good luck in your wich hunt. I feel so sorry for you. Don't waste your life with this slop. Sepnd it doing worth while things. Life is short.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Eby

      Look around , nothing is accident, you are not an accident... The earth is perfect, and no perfect can come from accident , it needs to be created by a master designer, just do not look no where , just look into you, what high def , wide angle and zoom lens you have in your eyes, you look at yourselves and you will know how amazing creation you are.....
      Denial do not negate the existence of a creator, either you accept or reject....

      July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.