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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. Pat

    Excuse me athiest, but it not just your goverment, it belongs to all of us! It seems to me to be quite the opposite as far as forcing one's belief down anothers throat. All the lawsuits Athiests have filed,wasting time and money to eradicate any mention of God is forcing one's belief down one's throat. Your comment MY Goverment says it all. It's all about me i am my own god.
    If you lived in the islamic countries of the middle east you would not even be able to express your hatred for God as you can so freely do here because you are protected by a Goverment that was based on a Judeo /Christian heritage.
    What I do not understand, is why when you have such freedom to believe or not believe as you want, would you want to change Goverment and it's laws to oppress other people who do not agree with your Philosophy? I suspect that deep down you do not want a different opinion other than your own to quell your conscience that bothers you a little bit.
    While you may think that you cannot prove God exists, I say to you you cannot prove that God does not exist.
    Do not write back and say where is he I cannot see Him. Can you see with your eyes the air that you breath? Can you scientifically (with all the tools we have today) really grasp what Love is, not on a superficial level as just a feeling.
    As far as religion causing a great number of deaths in the world as another person commented, that is a tiresome and quite an inaccurate statement that is used way too much.More people have died under Communist and Socialist regimes than all the crusades and whatever else you want to think .Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol pot etc, etc..... Many more people have been brutally killed in GODLESS regimes. A
    Judeo /Christian culture doesn't look too bad when you think of it.
    So the next time you get annoyed by a christian telling you that you are not living a moral life etc... What does it matter to you, , they certainly cannot arrest you like they can in Saudia Arabia. You are free to believe what you want and be convinced that you are right.. That is the beauty of this country founded on Judeo /Christian principles that you so want to get rid of.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      @ Pat. Although, you desperately need some fact-checking. My question has always been; wouldn't an omniscient, omnipotent, omniphilic deity be more concerned with how I comported myself in this world, rather than obsessing over whether I believe in him and/or his son in hopes of getting to the right place in the other world? I would think so. Behavioral comportment dines at the high table of morality and ethics; jealousy feasts on the empty calories of baser human emotions. In short, if there truly was a higher power "god" organized religion, prayer, preaching, etc are completely useless. Says your belief system.

      August 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • fred

      FreeThinker,
      I was going to give you an intellectual reply but, I had no idea what comportment was :

      Comportment
      A three pronged rating system based on physical appearance, se-xual aura and awareness of one’s portrayal. It is often used to refer to how a female carried herself, and her ability to attract you the evening prior.

      "Did you see Jana last night? Not very appealing.She was drooling everywhere, her comportment was disgusting."

      "Lindsey was being way too forward last night, her comportment was way out of wack. Whatta #$%@."

      "Julia isn't movie star hot, but her comportment last night took her to a whole new level."

      "Brittany Spears began her career with a cute and attractive image. However, over the years, her comportment has spiraled downward exponentially."

      Pat, not to worry your comportment gets two thumbs up from me !

      August 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Pat

      You said "Excuse me athiest, but it not just your goverment, it belongs to all of us! It seems to me to be quite the opposite as far as forcing one's belief down anothers throat. All the lawsuits Athiests have filed,wasting time and money to eradicate any mention of God is forcing one's belief down one's throat. Your comment MY Goverment says it all. It's all about me i am my own god."

      You show that you just don't get it. Atheism isn't a religion. There are no gods other than in the minds of those that don't have the capability for reasoned though or who refuse to use it.

      The establishment clause says that the government has no business endorsing any religion. That means that your god, and anybody else's, has to stay out of it. By insisting that it's OK to have your god front and center in a public space is forcing your religion down everyone else's throat.

      But it's not about your god in particular. It's about all mythical beings. None of them belong in belong in any government sponsored place.

      You said "If you lived in the islamic countries of the middle east you would not even be able to express your hatred for God as you can so freely do here because you are protected by a Goverment that was based on a Judeo /Christian heritage."

      So you feel that Iran has a system that you would like to emulate? You appear to be advocating just that. Anyone that supports government sponsored religion isn't a hair better than the regime in Iran.

      You said "What I do not understand, is why when you have such freedom to believe or not believe as you want, would you want to change Goverment and it's laws to oppress other people who do not agree with your Philosophy? I suspect that deep down you do not want a different opinion other than your own to quell your conscience that bothers you a little bit."

      You can believe whatever nonsense you want. You are free to stay ignorant. You are free to close your eyes, ears and mind.

      You are not free to force your stupidity upon everyone else. It's bad enough that you get to indoctrinate your innocent children. But there is no way that I will ever accept anyone forcing their moronic beliefs on me. I will do what I can to eradicate your despicable life style and your immoral behavior from the public sphere.

      You said "While you may think that you cannot prove God exists, I say to you you cannot prove that God does not exist. Do not write back and say where is he I cannot see Him. Can you see with your eyes the air that you breath? Can you scientifically (with all the tools we have today) really grasp what Love is, not on a superficial level as just a feeling."

      There isn't a shred of evidence to support your position that there is a god. It is not reasonable to assume there is one. The christian god has mutually exclusive traits, and therefor is impossible to exist. It is irrational to believe he/she/it does.

      You said "As far as religion causing a great number of deaths in the world as another person commented, that is a tiresome and quite an inaccurate statement that is used way too much.More people have died under Communist and Socialist regimes than all the crusades and whatever else you want to think .Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol pot etc, etc..... Many more people have been brutally killed in GODLESS regimes. A
      Judeo /Christian culture doesn't look too bad when you think of it.
      "

      If these atheists used their disbelief to justify killing that is just as despicable as justifying it based on belief in a god.

      You said "So the next time you get annoyed by a christian telling you that you are not living a moral life etc... What does it matter to you, , they certainly cannot arrest you like they can in Saudia Arabia. You are free to believe what you want and be convinced that you are right.. That is the beauty of this country founded on Judeo /Christian principles that you so want to get rid of."

      It matters to me because they are insulting me. They intentionally inflict harm. They use their irrational beliefs to pass judgment. By doing so they are attempting to force their immoral way on me. And I am much better off without the hate and bigotry.

      This country was not founded on judeo/christian principles. The principles you seem to refer to predate christianity and therefor can't be christian. Just because christian also incorporated them into their philosophy, doesn't make them christian.

      August 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      @ Fred. Comportment in the context of this sentence and the only context I've ever read is defined as "a way of acting or behaving." But thanks for the attempted English lesson. I would next request you to take a stab at the content of my argument.

      August 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      You said: "But it's not about your god in particular. It's about all mythical beings. None of them belong in any government sponsored place" – So perhaps it is time Christians started legal action and have the mythical beings the government has up all across the U.S. removed.
      Attention Chrstians let us tear down the statue of liberty ! Why, it is Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

      August 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • fred

      FreeThinker,
      I took the "liberty" of using Urban Dictionary for definition of comportment for fun. With standard usage I would say Jesus was perfect and His comportment brings glory to God.
      In response to your thought that God should pay more attention to your comportment than your belief in Jesus fly’s in the face of all that Jesus said and most Christians believe. The Bible reflects the various attributes of God and one of them is Holiness, perfect holiness. In this one attribute alone man has no way of connecting with God. Step back to the Garden of Eden and we see man was given specific order he could have everything and anything but do not touch or eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man did and from that moment forward man could not un-see what he saw undo what he did. That action / knowledge forever separated man from perfect holiness. Nothing imperfect can enter perfect holiness or perfection is lost. So thousands of years latter (allowing for the evolution of mans reasoning abilities) time was right (due to centralized Roman government and pieces of prophecy to fall together) for Jesus perfect by all accounts to make a way for man to get back into relationship with God. Note, no matter what your behavior or mine we retain that bit of darkness, some perhaps more than others, so Jesus is our only way. Jesus left specific guidance and a helper to get us back into the presence of perfect holiness. If we do not believe and find the God of the Old Testament and Jesus to be little more than myth then it makes no sense to argue against something that is not real or does not exist as far you are concerned.

      Toss God and the bible out then man is at the top of the heap. The strongest man or king of the mountain will tell you exactly how to behave in his presence. Strip away religion / accountability to some standard of good and history has shown us what power does to people. What we are a better smarter people today....38 wars in process as we speak...earth entering a period of seismic instability...Iran, North Korea with nukes....
      The man at the top of your heap does not obsess about you or your belief he is obsessed with staying king otherwise he will need to bow down to someone he stepped upon on his way up.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      @ Fred. I apologize, after reading through your post, I believe the point was not clear on my end. For most Christians, god is believed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omniphilic... all-knowing, the ultimate planner, the overseer of the masses, etc. If this is true and who knows, I may be a believer who is just contemplating a possible reality; why even pray? Why practice religion? Why evangelize? Because, according to Christian belief (for the most part), this is true; It is absolutely pointless to perform the actions or activities when everything has already been decided. If you are a true believer, you are evangelizing the word of "god" for selfish purposes only. To strike fear. To make sure as many people around you are part of the club. And that's fine, it's human nature to feel secure with like-minded surroundings.

      The hypocrisy is within the belief system not brought out by atheists. This point cannot be argued as it's the foundation of every deity ever conjured up.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • fred

      FreeThinker,
      Why pray, why church, why evangelize ?
      Back to the Garden where it all began with that tree. God put that tree there knowing man would go for it opening up all that we have seen since the beginning of recorded history. Read the Bible to see what generations after generations of people did and will do through the end of time. The pattern is one of God restoring relationship with a people he has chosen for himself.
      Prayer is deep communication heart to heart or spirit to spirit. Relationship requires lots of honest communication. Throughout the Bible we see key communication types and styles with God and Gods response. Jesus prayed a lot and was one with the Father. We see His prayer and Abrahams prayer for example being answered. Regardless of the answer you receive it is the communication and your response that deepens the relationship.
      The church is not the temple of the old testament which was but a shadow or representation of the Church which Christ is. This church is a body of believers much like an organism since it is alive. I see the church as a botanist sees a clump of birch trees (the largest single organism) i.e. each member is part of the same oneness. Meetings in small groups and occasional regional pow wows are necessary but that is not the church it is part of administration and or simply more relationship building. The “organism” supports the individual members with encouragement etc
      Evangelizing is but sending out the good news for faith comes by hearing. God has always worked thru peoples in the Bible. God calls "for many are called but few are chosen"

      Free will is why that tree was put in the Garden otherwise we could never respond to Gods call freely of our own will. In the end thousands of years latter it is still a choice. Your heart is changed when you walk with God and as with Adam that walk is tested to reveal what is really there. Christians have the helper because as Jesus said these things are impossible with man.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • fred

      FreeThinker,
      You said: "evangelizing the word of "god" for selfish purposes only" – I am sure this happens but it should be the other way around unless we get caught up in pride etc. The pouring out of the good news is driven by a heart filled to overflowing with the grace and wonder of God. We cannot help ourselves. To the extend we get the glory and not God we have missed the mark and need correction

      August 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ fred
      Here's a little diddy for you fred,,,,,,,, "Of GOD By God are Men the gods." Kinda like the Totem pole for the masses to Pray/Prey upon especialy if one does contemplate the use of the King's English which by the way has been ever so changed in its' base word roots of dictioned providence. :-)

      August 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said "You said: "But it's not about your god in particular. It's about all mythical beings. None of them belong in any government sponsored place" – So perhaps it is time Christians started legal action and have the mythical beings the government has up all across the U.S. removed.
      Attention Chrstians let us tear down the statue of liberty ! Why, it is Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.
      "

      Maybe I should have been clearer (especially considering the audience). Maybe I should have said something like: "It's about all mythical beings. No religious references to them belong in any government sponsored place".

      The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French people to the people of the US as a monument to American independence. It was not erected as a symbol of the ancient Roman religion. It is not a religious symbol.

      But if you feel it represents an endorsement of religion and wish to argue your case in Federal Court, go right ahead. I'll be the last to stand in your way.

      Cheers

      August 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  2. The Whale and the Tree...

    Actually, the Bible DOES say Jonah was in the the belly of a whale...
    Matthew 12:40, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

    And...

    It wasn't the "Tree of Life", it was the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."
    Genesis 2:16,17,
    16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
    17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    They were allowed to eat of the "Tree of Life."

    August 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • ghan

      When it comes to "the whale," this is a good example of questioning what we are really saying when we say "The Bible says...".

      What does the Bible say? It depends upon which version you consult. In Matthew 12:40, the NRSV and the Revised English Bible say "sea monster;" the New American Bible has "whale." All of these Bibles are translations of ancient texts, and even the ancient texts have variants. In Matthew 12, the Greek has "keatos," (sea-monster) and the Hebrew in Jonah 2:1 has "dag ha-gadol" which simply means "big fish."

      Any statement that bases its logic on what "the Bible says" is a very complicated one, indeed. We should all take care.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  3. xenophilius

    Certainly, the Bible didn't say that the serpent was Satan, but it's easy to assume that the first sin ever committed by humans was influenced by Satan. He is the cause of all sin, either by him or indirectly, by his followers, his demons. So, saying that Satan himself tempted Eve is incorrect, but saying that Satan was inside the snake, or influencing the snake, is not absurd.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  4. Jake

    Hey, look at the article's graphic and notice that Adam and Eve have navels. Where did those come from? Obviously that's not in the Bible! This blog entry can point a finger at itself-ha, ha, ha.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  5. TheWatcher

    For the chosen amongst you who can tell us all where in the Bible it is detailed the fall of the Angels I shall grant salvation. But this shall not pass. Also, ignorant children, the Old Testament cannot be confirmed by the New Testament- whereas some of you are attempting to confirm your inept "understanding" of scripture by doings so. The Book of Genesis, attributed to Moses, "clearly" defines the Creation. This being the first book of the Bible. How is it that you can attempt to legitimize the foaming mouth spews of fanatical preachers by quoting the last book, Revelations, of the New Testament- of which all of you are so ignorant enough to believe it has anything to do with Armageddon?

    This article IS well written and seems to have been very well researched, as many of you have proven by continuing to misquote one of the most popular books every written by MAN (actually many men- and rewritten, edited, cut, edited, translated, burned, rewritten, edited, re-edited...) and formulating poor arguments to try and protect your small, feeble minds afraid of your faith being diss-proven by actual references to your Book of Faith. Of which you have an all likelihood never read for yourselves.

    By the way, Jesus spoke in parables so that the ignorant would not understand his true meaning...and that IS in the Bible. Keep reading.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • joanbarker

      I think you forgot to take your meds today. Self aggrandizing speech aimed at making you sound like god is disturbing. You should get out of the house once in awhile. Not that I completely disagree with your point, but the way you stated your views really makes you sound....well....deranged.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  6. Katie Gillespie

    The reporter's time would be better spent in reading what IS in the Bible!

    August 1, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  7. Rippyrooroo

    Atheist..you are attempting to force your beliefs by even bothering to respond..yet as an atheist you have no beliefs therefore, why does it matter to you in the first place?

    August 1, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • marauder2ii

      Actually, Atheists have beliefs, they're just not THEIST beliefs.

      I can see where the confusion lies, as many people who are theist persons don't really have beliefs from outside their religion.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • testifi

      no he's right, atheists do just as much forcing of their beliefs on us that God doesn't exist. If they were really pro choice they would start practicing what they preach. The belief that God doesn't exist is a belief.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  8. chrisanthemum7

    Oh my God, this is the worst blog everrrr, dude...what in the world??? People need scholars to help them read the Bible??? No they don't!!!! This is the opposite of what Jesus was talking about!!! This will only appeal to people's pride and God hates pride!! Someone fire this guy, he is doing so much damage aaahaaaahhhh!!! It would be funny if it wasn't so terrifying!!!

    August 1, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • marauder2ii

      Sorry but you did exactly what this author was talking about. You failed to actually read the article very much like how most people fail to read the bible.

      Look, the problem isn't that we NEED scholars, it's that people need to be able to be at least reasonably literate to A.Read in the first place. B. Comprehend what you're reading. and C. Understand that what you're reading has been translated many times from its original text.

      Keeping all of these things in mind, you'll find that many firmly held beliefs and passions held by people under the guise of 'It said so in the bible' are usually just anecdotal statements propped up by many people waving signs with a single quotation on it. The context of those statements usually makes one realize those statements are not 'The word of god' and are, in fact, recordings of the word of people who are not god. Examples include such things as Leviticus, where the laws for a society at that time were being elaborated on. By the way, that's the list of laws where a rapist can buy his victim from the family and is conscripted by law to do so.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  9. katmoondaddy

    I believe that when you're bad and you die, your soul goes to a garage in Buffalo, NY.

    July 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Lady Goodman

      I just heard God laugh. :)

      August 1, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  10. yojimbo

    The one thing that the law of moses has over the Quran is that the latter was supposedly downloaded into Mohammeds brain. whereas the former was probably the result of centuries of folk wisdom.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  11. yojimbo

    both are works of fiction loosely based in reality

    July 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  12. yojimbo

    Doesn't really matter if it's in there or not. It's like saying "parsle mouth" is a real phenomenon because it's in Harry Potter!

    July 31, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  13. Tom Raven

    I found great value in this article save one point. The serpent did speak with Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1,3). Further, the serpent is identified as Satan in Revelation 12:9 and 20:2.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • marauder2ii

      Hold on I think you're proving his point here

      Revelation 12:9
      New International Version (NIV)
      9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

      This is not 'Identifying all serpents as satan' this is saying 'That satan guy, yeah, he's a jerk, one might even say he's a snake in the grass, or a serpent'

      Revelation 20:2
      New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

      Again this is just calling satan 'A serpent' not 'All serpents are satan'

      Sooo.... -10 points for not reading.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  14. jjacks

    Rev 12:9 and the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and satan, who deceives the world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angles were thrown down with him.
    Rev 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and satan, and bound him for one-thousand years;
    -Those who say Satan is the serpent who tempted Eve are informed by scripture, not the lack-thereof. They know that the God who created Adam and Eve is the same God who gave a vision to John, his bond-servant, on the island of Patmos. John was imprisoned, because he proclaimed the resurrection of Christ and His Kingdom to come.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  15. SAW

    How about an article on the Quran? Show us that killing in the name of God is not in there. Be brave CNN.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Aaron

      Haha. Yeah, that will happen. But then you'll get all these kooks that say Christ was violent and hateful and point to the Old Testament for their "proof".

      July 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Believer

      They wouldn't do that because Christian bashing is the in thing, they will not want to offend the religious minority! hypocrites

      July 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  16. ralpha1961

    Many of the "sayings" are merly synopsis or a short story of a chapter in the Bible. Read the Bible people and you will understand these short stories.

    July 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • TomBoy

      This article was not about synopsis or failure to understanding stories, it was about complete misquotes....things that are just not in the Bible.

      July 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • ralpha1961

      @TomBoy

      “God helps those who help themselves.”

      Luke 11:1-11
      Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
      1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
      2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

      “‘Father,[a]
      hallowed be your name,
      your kingdom come.[b]
      3 Give us each day our daily bread.
      4 Forgive us our sins,
      for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
      And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

      5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

      7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness[e] he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

      9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

      11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

      “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

      Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."
      Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
      Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
      Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
      Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
      Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."
      Hebrews 12:6-7: "...the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

      There are more. The article is correct that these are not Bible verses. But I and many Christians do not use these as Bible verses but as synopsis. It is only for people who have knowledge of the Bible. It does not make sense to any other who rejects God.

      Matthew 13:1-17
      The Parable of the Sower
      1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
      10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

      11 He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

      “Though seeing, they do not see;
      though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

      14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

      “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
      you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
      15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
      they hardly hear with their ears,
      and they have closed their eyes.
      Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
      hear with their ears,
      understand with their hearts
      and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]

      16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

      July 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • marauder2ii

      @ralpha

      Which versions were those, because I'm pretty sure with less than 15 minutes of work I could show you at least 2 other translations that don't have the same words in the same order.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  17. dcfromct

    the reason you hear so many misquoted bible verses is because many people don't actually read the Bible themselves but rather participate in a religious version of telephone tag – you hear something (an interpretation from someone else) and then try to repeat it adding or subtracting from it. Many faiths of large numbers like the catholic church don't have their parishioners reading from the bible themselves as part of their service (mass) compared to more evangelical churches were the church body typically bring their bibles as the pastor reads through the entire bible book by book, verse by verse.

    July 31, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • You're wrong dcfromct

      You are absolutely wrong that there is no reading from the Bible in a Catholic Mass. During the Liturgy of the Word (a part of the Mass) there are four readings from the Bible: one from the Old Testament, one from Psalms, one from the New Testament, and one from the Gospel. They are read from the lecturn while the congregation follows along. You should really educate yourself before making ignorant blanket statements.

      August 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Lee Russell

    Genesis 3:1 ... Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    Wouldn't it be handy if the reporter broke open a Bible for this article? Serpent was one of the names given to Lucifer.

    You did get Jonah right (it was a great fish with no mention of a whale) or three wise men (it's just wise men with 3 gifts), but really? You write an article about the Bible and you couldn't be bothered to do a basic Google search?

    July 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  19. Maegan

    Another phrase people swear is in the Bible but is not is, "the sea of forgetfulness." Look it up. It's not there!

    July 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  20. testifi

    @Atheists
    This is the reason why we're taking our world back one way or another, one step at a time, one helping hand, one healing heart, one loving hymn, even beyond your bias attacks.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • ATHEIST

      You're ruining our world by forcing YOUR beliefs into MY government.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • puresmokey

      "taking the world back". back to when, and what, exactly? Back to those magnificent golden years when Christianity burned those who dared to question? Or tortured those of other faiths? Or imprisoned and enslaved those who they decided had no souls? Or maybe to when Galileo was tried to heresy?

      August 1, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • GodPot

      "tortured those of other faiths?"

      I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they believe will happen to those of other faiths, they just have decided not to get their hands dirty doing the job themselves anymore. It's really the only thing thats changed within Christianity since the dark ages, they have just taken a more hands off approach. They still believe were all going to be cruelly tortured for eternity just for not bowing our heads and thinking thought's of remorse and thanks to their specific sentient universal brain in the sky.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:32 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.