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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 • Evangelical • Faith

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. Name

    more information:

    (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.”

    July 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  2. Jenny

    ‎"They should leave some for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10) is actually "Leave some for the poor and the foreigner." This is just an insidious way of injecting the whole legalizing illegal aliens into the debate without it being obvious. So this very article is doing the very thing that they are accusing everyone else of doing...misquoting things from the bible. This is why I don't trust CNN because their liberal bias is showing, albeit in a subtle way.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • bible_scholar

      The Bible was not written in English, Jenny: the word is neither "foreigner" nor "alien" but "ger," the Hebrew word for a non-Israelite living among the Jews. The strictest implication would be "one who does not share our religious or cultural beliefs but lives among us." Whether you think "alien" or "foreigner" better captures that sense is up to you: the more traditional translation of the Hebrew scripture is simply "stranger" (which is how the text runs in KJB). I wouldn't see politics in the choice, just variation among translations (I would be shocked if the texts either you or the author of this article cite were composed after the political debate over illegal aliens arose.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  3. q

    .

    July 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  4. Grace

    The phrase “Spare the rod, spoil the child" comes from Proverbs 23:13-14 which says, "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." While not all phrases that are said to come from the bible are quoted accurately, you have to agree that saying the entire verse all the time is a mouthful in conversation.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  5. Liz

    Actually the Bible does clarify that the serpent was Satan in the book of Revelation.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Bobdole

      Yes, thank you!

      Also, alot of those phrases don't actually sound like biblical versus. Am I supposed to believe that people believe that these sayings are scripture just bc some journalist says so? It seems to me this is a story about nothing.

      Better that normal people read the Bible and come to their own truths than rely on the INTENTIONAL lies that the Catholic church was spreading for oh so many years. That isn't opinion, that's fact and in every text book that bothers to mention the Church's history (corruption).

      July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  6. GODISNOTREAL

    You are all going to hell for reading the bible

    July 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  7. Rachel

    גם זה יעבור‎ (This too shall pass.)

    King James What? This is an old Jewish proverb involving King Solomon. It far predates the King James Bible. For fun, I even happened to look at Wikipedia and even it cites the Hebrew, "Gam Zeh Ya'avor," and its history as a proverb. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but the lack of "fact checking" among writers who do this for a living is really discouraging.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  8. Robert

    There are the RR laws of existence:
    First law: "There are no supernatural creatures"
    Second law: I am an ape and I do not have a soul.
    Third law: So are you and you don't either.
    etc.
    If you plan to worship the supernatural, what difference what the bible says? Just make up whatever you like and go with it.

    July 27, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Randy

      Robert....there is even a place for Athiests.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  9. AvdBerg

    Psalm 82:5. Are all the foundations of the earth out of course? For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to read the latest article listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    We have listed it below the article Influence of the Media. All of the other pages and articles explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    July 27, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  10. peace

    Only GOD knows. Let just believe that in the last time everything will be for our goodness. Just simply belief, pray, and love.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  11. gingerroels

    Love this. When my dad was ill I got a lot of "all things happen for a reason" which is not in the Bible. I thought it was awesome that people cared as much as they did but, eventually, understanding their intentions were good and wanting to honor that, I blogged about what to say and what not to say when someone is going through extreme difficulty. That seemed to work.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • SJ

      Actually it's aparaphrase of Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything,
      and a season for every activity under the heavens

      July 27, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • sean B

      Actually, it's not a paraphrase of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes says only that there is a time for everything: it doesn't say anything about a REASON for anything. In fact, f you read it, you see it is the words of a man who is world-weary and sees an almost existential emptiness behind everything.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  12. amador

    Like any other common story or information that has been shared by family and friends and onto more family and friends and thru many generations passed on. The story and information has been told so many times that the words have been changed and interpreted differently, each time it is told and said. It is up to the individual to research and get more information in order to satisfy our need to know more or just leave it alone and get your ticket for the next debate-athon.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Zeshan

    The concept of this too shall pass is from scripture and Mike is right:

    If your team is losing now later on it will win and these good and bad conditions are alternated by God between people.

    Quran 3:140

    If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers – (quran 3:140)

    Also in the Quran:

    For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (94:5)
    Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (94:6)

    Arabic scholars say the way the arabic word for ease is used in these two verses means for every difficulty there is twice the ease. This is fundamental law of God towards his creation.

    -Z

    July 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  14. Preacherman

    The Bible contains the sacred stories of the Hebrew people. Except for Luke, all the authors were Jews; all the disciples were Jews and Jesus himself was a Jew. One has to understand how Jews create their sacred stories in order to get a proper understanding of the basic texts. My frustration is that the rich religious and cultural histories of Western Europeans have been co-opted by Christianity, a tiny sect in judaism and has subsequently spread its influence across the globe. To the extent that foundamentalists take the Bible to the extreme, one can only have pity on a people who lost their religious history and must cling to a foreign religion that they will never understand. Go back to your roots while there is still time. Remember Jesus never built a church; Jesus never established a priesthood because there were already priests in Israel before his time, he never baptized anyone, Jesus never presided at a wedding or buried the dead. He lived in his community, visiting homes and teaching his people wherever they were. He wanted nothing to do with gentiles either.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • stejo

      Re your last sentence – why then did he tell that parable of the good Samaritan? Weren't they gentiles?

      July 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  15. Doug Lynn

    This is in the Bible:

    He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

    There sure are a whole lot of blind people posting here.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Taylor Burton-Edwards

    Actually, Mr John Wesley did NOT coin "cleanliness is next to godliness." He was quoting it as a saying already by his time in the 18th century, both in sermons and in letters. By putting it in quotes, he was indicating the quote was NOT his, but "in the air" as it were.

    Peace,

    The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards
    Director of Worship Resources
    The General Board of Discipleship of
    The United Methodist Church

    July 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  17. CPS

    Ditka did not blunder. At least use Google to check your reference before printing/posting. See Mathew 24:6-8 and Matthew 24:35.

    July 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  18. Cece

    Mr. Dunn is misinformed about Genesis listing "serpent" in the Bible. And he chairs what?

    July 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  19. Mattwm

    maybe Godless liberals use those phrases as if they are in the bible, but i never thought anyone of those were in the book.

    July 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • stejo

      Godless liberals? wow, so full of hate...

      July 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Sam

      Mattwm your comment was made for nothing other than to incite a political debate or to stir the pot. People who make comments like this knowing it will help polarize the two political parties do nothing but harm the advancement of the United States. The majority of Republicans and Christians do not feel this way.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  20. Grant

    What divides Christians is also what is NOT in the Bible. Papal authority is taking Jesus' comments to Peter to a conclusion not found in the Bible. Mandating baptism by immersion takes a literal meaning of the word baptize, when even the Bible does not. The Israelites were baptized to Moses, but they walked dry shod. The disciples ate with unwashed (unbaptized) hands. The abstinence from alcohol of some churches does not come from the Bible, but from WCTU hysteria. Those who quote Paul as saying not to eat or drink if it offends, avoid alcohol but not food, and ignore Jesus' example of providing wine for a wedding, even though there may have been alcoholics there. The idea of dressing up for church does not come from the Bible, but from the Roman Emperor.

    July 26, 2011 at 9:21 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.