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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. SeekKnowledge

    "the unexamined life is not worth living" – Socrates The Apology... Stated at his trial for heresy. No matter what your beliefs may be, take the responsibility of questioning and examining them. Texts can be misinterpreted... A famous example of this is "The Road Not Taken": http://www.suite101.com/content/robert-frost-s-tricky-poem-a8712
    Questioning someone's use of a text to support their beliefs is valid – even shortening it or taking it out of context, which might lead to misinterpretation. Several of you have pointed out that the Genesis serpent may be Satan, if we take Revelations into account... Others have pointed out that Revelations was written by a different author and that we have no way of knowing if that was the intended symbolism of the author(s) of Genesis.
    Should it be conceived of as an attack on all Christians to say that many people misquote or mistranslate the meanings of the bible, no! Although, he and other scholars may be incorrect in their interpretations, too.
    Furthermore, I do believe that he is correct to think that there is some danger in supporting your beliefs and actions with phantom passages or mistranslations. This site has an excellent comparision of the Jesus of Luke's texts, who was a social reformer and concerned with the underprivileged in society, and the Jesus of matthew's texts who was more concerned with spiritual poverty. If you believe that "God helps them who helps themselves" is a great paraphrase of e Bible, then maybe you are not a follower of Luke's Jesus, who might suggest that you help the poor and unprivileged, but maybe the above idea supports your idea that the poor just aren't working hard enough or even that their povery is a sign that they aren't
    experiencing God's favor.
    After reading some translations of the original "spare the rod, spoil the child", I'd say that the paraphrasing is pretty close. (Even if I disagree with the idea of regularly practicing corporal punishment with children.). But I agree with the overall message of Blake's article, as I interpret it, that we should be examining whether we are supporting our arguements and for our beliefs correctly from the text. I'd add that cherry-picking supportive passages can also be a danger or not taking into account the changes that have occurred to the religion from it's roots on Judaism, through Christ's messages, through the various representations of Christ's messages in the Bible (again, look at the differences between Luke and Matthew's representations of Christ), and on to what we have learned of life and human interactions in modern times.

    Keep examining and applaud those who examine...

    August 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Dennis Clough

    Those hard to rationalize problem Psalms; perhaps they are difficult because we see them as a contradiction to the concept of a God of love? Certainly understandable, and we Christians often shy away from their graphic nature too. Here's my understanding so far, for what its worth. God chose Israel to be distnctly His people so they would be the recipients of His love and guidence in the earth. He promised to make them rulers for Him and not slaves to men on the condition of obedience based on faith. Thus they would be an earthly instrument to show the world what God is like, thus opening the possibility of salvation to the Gentlies as well. So David's imprecatory Psalms come from his identification with God and His purposes to build Israel against a sea of nations determined to wipe out Israel..These are not David's personal enemies as much as they are God's enemies.

    i

    August 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  3. Glenn

    You're wrong about everything you said in this article. All of the quotes cited in this article are distilled summaries of biblical text. Regarding the serpent in Genesis; conceptually it was clearly a malevolent, anti-good construct, and not simply a serpent. We would later give this thing a name: Satan. The two are the same. Regarding the quote, "God helps those who help themselves", attributions to Franklin are false; it is much older, dating at least to the Greeks, and probably existed in every culture in one form or another (subject to local language and customs barriers). Franklin wasn't even the first to use the sentence in English and in that form. Further, there is some biblical precedent; see:

    "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat."

    Of course, God's grace is about helping those who can't work (or cannot help themselves). The question is one of capacity. Do as much as you can in this life on your own, and God will take care of the rest, so to speak.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Glenn – "You're wrong about everything you said in this article" That would be a quote.

      To "distill" and "summarize" what you are saying you believe "Everything he saying in his story is false." but that would also be misquoting you, since that is not exactly what you said.

      "distilled summaries of biblical text" = paraphrase = misquoted.

      As to the rest of your post, it's obvious that you want to believe in Satan and spiritual austerity so believe what you will, just stop trying to "prove" your faith is real with the half quotes and paraphrased nonsense most Christians spout believing it to be some God uttered words of power.

      August 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Deff Dan

    I always assume that oft-used phrases are from Shakespeare, not the Bible.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. dc3gal

    That passage is in the Bible and it all depends on what version Bible you are reading. I know it's there because I have read the whole Bible and it IS there!

    August 14, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Kidwithabible

      Which passage and where?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jeremiah Diehl

      No, it's actually not there. Read it again.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  6. The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

    In my re-reading of many posters' writings, I do see many pleasantries in most postings. It seems to me that there is much logistical Camaraderie being displayed here in Belief Blog. Opinions are the vary means of leveraged weightiness that gives Life the worthiness for one to ark forward with wavelaengthened clarities of opulence'd unselfish envisionments. People and/or folks regarding the written Word as being above words just plainly spoken and/or mouthed is sorely an understatement due one's desires to be led by that which is spoken rather than become led by the written Word.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  7. John

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_6PxnvaySw&w=640&h=390]

    August 14, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • ....

      seriously stop posting your junk, it's not worth watching folks, this person is a troll. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this idiot.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  8. will

    Ever wonder why the Bible is in the fiction section of bookstores????

    August 14, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Kidwithabible

      I don't know what bookstores you go to but I've always found it in the religion section. :D

      August 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Jeremiah Diehl

      It's not in the Fiction section... it's in the Christian/Religion section

      August 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • IQuestionAll

      Will, you are a moron. A race-baiter. An elitist Liberal Progressive.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  9. linuS

    "You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!". -Austin 3:16

    August 14, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  10. Mrs W

    Funny – everyone here wants to argue about what the BIBLE 'says' – but no one is trying to out shine anyone else to actually do anything GOOD for others.....why?

    August 14, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Michelle

      I have to agree with you. I work at a VA Hospital and getting appointments are almost impossible. One lady called, Cussed me out and then has the gull to say... "And have a Blessed Day!" I could have slapped her but she was on the phone!! I believe actions speak louder than words...We as Americans need to take action together to solve our problems and stop acting
      like kids on a playground.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  11. Austin Smith

    Well, the Bible was also written in Greek and Hebrew, so none of the english appeared. "Pride goeth before the fall"" is an acceptable translation of the hebrew found in the bible. And regarding satan–true, the serpent is never directly named as Satan, but if you don't understand metaphor and symbolism, perhaps you should quibble with an easier book, Mr. Blake.

    August 14, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • IQuestionAll

      Mr. Blake, your motivation and direction is clear. You are as clever as Satan. Now, I didn't say you were Satan, nor did I infer that your parents misdirected you, or that your siblings are irresponsible beings, or that the rest of your family has lost hope of seeing christian salvation, or that your morals and ethics and character and honesty and integrity come into question...

      August 14, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  12. fayed

    I can't help wondering whay and how all of a sudden the "son of god" which christians used to ascribe to jesus become the Lord which in other words means that the son of god becomes his own father, i request the learned christians on this forum to enlight us on this.......

    August 14, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • mike_1307

      its very simple the 2 are one actually the 3 are one the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one in the same being. its just that simple, if u can't understand that then sorry for u.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Dennis Clough

      The scripture is all a revelation from God. It reveals Him as one God in 3 Persons a number of times. God became a man, "took on flesh". He (Christ) did not stop being God when He became a man. He was fully God and fully man. As such, He emptied Himself of His Godly perogatives and became a servant of His Father. (he is the "only begoton" of the Father neither created like Adam or born of a human father). He accomplished His earthly ministry culminating in His sacrificial work on the Cross through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit . His bodily resurection is a testimony to all that He is all that He claimed to be and that the sin debt for all of us has been fully paid. Refusal to acknowledge personal sin before God and put ones trust in Christ is the sin that prevents entrance into Heaven.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  13. Paul

    Well, Jesus said that heaven and earth shall pass away by my words shall never pass away. So if Jesus' word's are eternal then there is something important in them. So much so that every living soul should read them and believe them. Jesus Christ is Lord! Call on him today and he'll set you free and give you his Holy Spirit.

    August 14, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Rich GAz

      Aren't you late for your prayer meeting?

      August 14, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  14. Yaakov Rubenstein

    Bronze age fables – you moron – the New Testament was in the bronze age? Get your history right you dope.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Dubhly

      actually he is correct, bronze age. Since the passages quoted are old testament, they would be bronze age. Side note..since the bible stole some of these from other cultures and incorporated them into itself, the stories are even older then when they started getting codified. At best early iron age, and thats giving you some.....
      shouldnt call people a moron btw unless your right.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  15. Eric

    While it is true that nowhere does scripture say that 'three' wise men visited Jesus, it does say that 3 gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) were presented to him by the wise men. The plural "men", as opposed to a wise "man" indicates that there was more than one. So we are faced with the option of 2 wise men, 3 wise men, or more than 3. Considering the culture of the day (and even today for that matter), if there were only 2 wise men and one of them brought 2 gifts, while the other brought only one, would have been an inexcusable dishonor. And likewise if there were more than 3 wise men and 3 of them brought gifts but the other(s) showed up empty handed. It just wouldn't have happened...especially in the culture of the day. God says to accept the scriptures as the Word of God...he doesn't say to throw common sense out the window.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Kidwithabible

      Actually the (multiple) wise men of could have all brought all three of the varieties of gifts. It is simply private interpretation to assume that we know how many there were or that it matters (If it did God would have had it included).

      August 14, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • arcwa

      I wonder if anyone ever considered that perhaps these wise men were readying Jesus for death at the ripe old age of birth: though having many other uses, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were often used in mummification.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  16. JB

    Spare the rod, spoil the child was taken from Proverbs 13:24 and the essence of the paraphrased quote is correct.

    Satan DID tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8 – 3:6)

    I can go on and on, but it is obvious that the author of the article really does not know the Bible at all.

    As for those who either disbelieve the Bible or consider it a book of fables or fairy tales, I challenge you to prove the THEORY of evolution AND the big bang THEORY. There is no direct scientific evidence for either, only conjecture and more theory that is not supported by facts. Good luck.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Jim

      JB,
      From my view point, the following bible verses say exactly the opposite of the old adage you claim is accurately represented.

      **from the NIV Bible **
      Proverbs 13:
      24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
         but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
      Proverbs 24:
       13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
         if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
      14 Punish them with the rod
         and save them from death.

      Proverbs 27:
      2 All men shall be judged in God's eyes
      and their quoted phantom phrases shall be known.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Dubhly

      There is no mention of satan in the garden of eden, sorry to spoil your world view, I know becuase years ago when i heard this i checked.
      Theory of evolution, easy one. There have been many many studies on fruit flies, as well as other creatures and plants that clearly show evolution at work. It is a basic study anymore, the reasons why it happens are not always understood. The WORD theory btw, does not mean its unproven, just understood. Since you challanged everyone, you should accept one yourself...Prove to me that the THEORY of gravity doesnt exist....Then fly away ;)
      As to the big bang...I love religious zealots on this one.... They can accept that a BEING fully formed and intelligent sprang from nothing, just popped into being and then proceeded to create everything. However, for some reason they cannot accept the fact that matter, just pure basic material did the exact same thing.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • Kidwithabible

      @ Dubhly: If matter just sprang into being on its own, where did all of the orderly methods and reactions of matter come from? Why does each categorization of atoms (an element) react in its own specific way to do so many amazing things consistenly (the same way every time)? Why do do each of the laws of physics and chemistry hold this all together? Why is there gravity to hold us here? Why did the orderly reactions of chemicals and energy form stars and planets? Sure that is just the way things are and you might also say the same of God (Where did this BEING come from and why is he here) but you (and anyone as a flawed human being) should assume that I (you) know better than everyone else, or even that anyone knows the truth. To find truth you must always search. And be ready to be wrong, I have seen miraculous things that cannot be explained. People with cancer get tested and it's gone like it was never there. I have broken my ankle falling down the stairs and my sister prayed for me and I was healed. I'm not saying that there is no other explanation. But I believe God because of what I have seen and heard. And with the information that I have I believe that I have reached the most logical conclusion. Never assume that you have all of the data to have reached the perfect conclusion. That is why I study the Bible, so that I can learn more.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Dubhly

      @kidwithabible those are laws of matter, why does it take someone to set that in motion. That makes less sense then those simply being there.
      As to faith, prayer, and miracles.... Well i feel the human mind and body are capable of amazing things. My grandfather had cancer when i was born and always said i kept him going. When I was taken from him ( I was raised by my grandparents) for a bit by my mom, he gave up and in a week we were told to come to the hospital, inside anouther week he was gone. I feel he kept himself alive and when his reason was gone, he gave up. I do not feel it was any form of divine intervention, guidance or help. I have seen this type of thing happen again and again during my life, things that others might subscribe to miracles. In your cancer example, why would it be hard to believe that the persons body produced something that killed the cancer, or perhaps whatever caused the cells to mutate was removed and the cancer cells were replaced by normal cells again ( that is the basis of kemo and radiation therapies).
      Perhaps some people need a focus to direct their abilities.
      I guess what im saying in gist is that there are plenty of other reasons that are more rational, and probable then faith. However, I am not saying that your wrong, nor am I saying that you should not believe what you choose to believe. So please don't take it that way, I fully believe in freedom, and equality.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Kyle

      @Jim let me get this straight, are you saying that you can't see a significant connection between the statement, spare the rod, spoil the child, and the verse whoever spares the rod, hates their children? I see the connection. I see the way someone thought to create an easily memorable paraphrase to encapsulate the need for discipline of kids. To say it's the opposite I can't see! As stated in this thread numerously, there are many translations of scripture into English and other languages. There are even quotes from the old testament in the new that are clearly the same verse but worded differently. It's the message that needs to stay the same. There are cases of people that don't discipline children when they should and it doesn't always end up biting them, but as a general rule, to not discipline when it's called for could be tantamount to hate and I do believe that when we spoil children, we are setting them up for possible regrets. I can equate spoiling with hate. Food can spoil when you leave it out, the way you keep it healthy longer is the same way you do kids....you keep a lid on them.

      August 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  17. ticbcbsiac

    The author is correct in what he said. Nothing quoted is in the Bible as it was presented. I would add that the inference of it being Satan that tempted Eve is supported by the Bible. In Revelation 12:9 it states, "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which decieveth the whole world:". In the greek text "old serpent" is archaeus orphis, which may be better translated as original serpent.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  18. Autumn

    After reading this article, it's almost more interesting to read the comments made about. It's easy to see who is who when you read comments posted by those who are offended by this article, and those who find it an interesting academic look on the way we interpret things.
    Interpretation is something that can be argued on all ancient sacred texts, not just the bible. This article isn't an "attack on the bible" but more of an look on ignorance or human error.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Gary

      I see a lot of ignorance in the author as well.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Kidwithabible

      I agree with you that this is an interesting look at people's ignorance of the bible, but not all but many of the misqoutes that he quotes are just poor paraphrases. I must agree with his and his contributors conclusion that there is a great deal of biblical ignorance. The NFL coach may have been quoting some kind of mash up of I Corinthians 13:8-10 and Ecclesiastes 3?

      August 14, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  19. John

    Its funny how everyone against the bible has a petty argument, you can argue the bible but your arguing stuff that is already in the bible and trying to say thats its not, I understand a lot of people take the bible out of context and dont know most of it, I dont like that either, both believers and none believers are guilty of that, but your doing the same, your taking 5 or 6 phrases and trying to make an argument, all these phrases originated from the bible, whats wrong with you, your suppose to be a teacher, not all the words are exact but those phrases are in the bible, if your going word for word, you shouldnt be teaching, heres an example "Bob and me bought ice cream" "Bob and I purchased ice cream" Are you telling me these are not the same phrases, give me a break, they are the same, just with different words, we dont speak old english, it can be translated into modern english with different words,and still be the same, and what about when the bible is translated into other languages, some grammar in other languages is backwords to the way english grammar is, are you telling me that its wrong cause it wasnt that way in english, wow, really, this article is ridiculous.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Mark

      Talking about backward (spelled correctly here) grammar; I believe that you should win a prize for the longest run on sentence I've ever seen.

      August 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Kidwithabible

      @Mark: I have to say that that was pretty rude.
      @John: You should look up those references in the bible. You think that the quotes are that close but they are not. The heart of the Football coach is in the right place and his statement is somewhat biblically accurate (perhaps put under I Cor 13) but is not a scriptural quote.
      The article's conclusions themselves aren't ridiculous, rather the implications from it that most of christianity is foolish and ignorant is offensive and subtly smacks of the clever atheist sneaking one in on the inside (perhaps). Well just look at it as a challenge to Christians to read the Bible more faithfully so that they are always ready to give an answer to any man that asks them of their faith.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  20. Buzzing

    This is nothing short of an attack on the Bible, to discredit it. Setting a fuse to discredit one of the oldest and most read book on earth, you simply have to be a worm.

    August 13, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Walrus

      I'm curious as to how you came to that conclusion. I, for one, am glad to actually see an article like this. It irritates me when people do exactly what its saying and think that because they say its from the bible, they cant be argued with. Or worse, use the so called "phantom verses" as reference when attacking the bible.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Or a realist, considering that despite the number of times the book was read, there is no actual proof that it is anything more than a book of bronze age fables.

      August 13, 2011 at 3:01 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.