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.”
Look at all the comments we all have a lot to say on the matter! Is there anyone that hasn't heard of the deadly sins or the ten commandments? Is there one person here that hasn't heard of god or of the bible? If god did talk to man and man had to keep a record of god's book wouldn't there be holes in it? If men did talk with god and his son and wrote it down, wouldn't that book be everywhere and a best seller for years for the entirety of mankind?
This is SPAM and garbage, don't bother watching, click the report abuse link to get rid of this stupid TROLL.
"Taking a text out of context and using it as a proof-text, you get a pretext."
Not in the bible, but it applies to all those who read it. I think the kinds of people who find verses about David and foreskins merely funny are less interested in the dynastic history of the former than the latter. Not that it is an attempt at a "proof-text" anyways, but still.
spare the rod spoil the child can be found in proverbs
"He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)
This article is so misleading. Many scriptures are paraphrased because many do not know the Bible word for word but most people realize this to a greater or lesser degree. This article will leave you believing that most of the sayings that appear to be biblically based are made up.
Then you didn't read the article very well. You make the same point that the author of the article is making. That not many people know the Bible word for word and thus paraphrase.
King david liked playing with foreskins!
You people that believe in the supernatural are all creepy!!!
I can't wait to see my grandma's face when she finds out the 'spare the rod spoil the child'
"This too shall pass" is not from the Bible at all, or so I read many years ago. It's from a group of Islamic scholars working for a King who decided he wanted one pithy phrase applicable to all situations under all conditions. So he assembled all the wise scholars he could find. They worked for many years, gradually dying out, until they narrowed down all their ideas into this one phrase. This article should've mentioned that.
All the debate about the content of the "Book". Has anyone stopped to research the historical record of how, and who compiled the Bible. What were the motivations of these people and how has it molded the minds of society? I find the answers to these question fascinating.
But that would involve thinking, so most people haven't done that :p
King James of France created the Bible from various religous writings and gospels i believe some time in the 16th century i may be wrong anout the time period.. hence the king james version of the bible.. so a french king to answer your question
Not quite correct. The first English *translation* of the Bible was the Wycliffe Bible, some 300 years before the King James Bible. The first English *translation* in print was the Tyndale Bible – still well before the King James Bible. The King James Bible was commissioned by King James I & IV of the partially united crown of England and Scotland – a dedicated Protestant King that was a central figure in the English Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries. The translation was the first English *translation* that was tackled by a large team of scholastic Hebrew and Greek experts. The translation was finished in 1611.
But that wasn't the first collection of the books - not by a long shot. See, the King James translators used a fully collected Greek Bible called the Textus Receptus (the received text), collected and published in the first edition in 1516 by a Dutch Catholic humanist scholar named Desiderius Erasmus.
And THAT wasn't the first collection of the whole Biblical text. See, Erasmus used as a baseline for which he collected the Greek manuscripts the already translated (and transmitted through many, many editions) Latin Bible called the Vulgate (or "common tongue"), originally collected and translated by the Italian monk/scholar Jerome in the early 4th century.
And THAT wasn't the first collection of the whole Biblical text. See, Jerome had used what had been known by the churches for hundreds of years – that the Jewish Scriptures were Holy texts (called the Old Testament) and writing of the Apostles and some writings by early Christians with apostolic oversight (Luke, Matthew, James..) were Holy texts (called the New Testament). So known was this that – as they received the texts – second and third century Christians (50-150 years removed from the time of Jesus) made lists of the texts they had and sent the lists to other churches in the persecuted church in order to share the texts with other Christians.
No, Ace, the Bible isn't THAT new of a collection. Check the scholarship.. you will be hard pressed to find a work of antiquity better attested to that the collection of the Christian canon.
Free thinking Rich,
This is an old scholarly discipline called textual criticism. Many have really read through and thought through these things.
A short intro: http://bible.org/seriespage/session-3-transmission-scripture
Also, to further understand that many have a solid understanding concerning the transmission of the Scriptures, see "From God to Us" (Geisler, Nix), "The New Testament Manuscripts" (Bruce), "Systematic Theology" (Grudem), "The King James Only Controversy" (White) and "Sola Scriptura" (White). Also, I would suggest Dr. James White's debates with Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Robert Price, and Shiehk Awal.
The ILLUMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE predicted by O u r L a d y in Garabandal in 1961 will take place soon to
save the world.
The Warning is taking place to:
1. Prove to all that God exists.
2 Bring everyone to J e s u s and the Way of Truth.
3. To help save us before the final day of judgement by giving us a chance to ask for
forgiveness for the sins we have committed.
What will Happen?
TWO COMETS WILL
COLLIDE IN THE SKY.
The sky will turn red, it will look like fire & then you will see a large cross in the sky to
Everyone over the age of 7 will experience a mystical encounter with J e s u s C h r i s t which will last
anything up to 15 minutes.
Pray this prayer to be prepared: Oh my precious J e s u s,embrace me in your arms and allow my head to rest upon your shoulders so that you can raise me up to your glorious kingdom when the time is right. Allow your precious blood to flow over my heart that we can be united as one.
There is no biblical truth to this statement. I do not know where this originated, but our opportunity to confess to God who our sins are against id today.
Psa_51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
the scriptures say
"2Co_6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" waiting is a dangerous thing if you are going to ask for forgiveness, today is the day to ask God to forgive you for Christ's sake and ask him to come into your life.
There are so many myths concerning God and the End times. The last end of the world debacle should confirm that many simply have taken the word of God and twisted it to suit ther own needs. It is when a preacher is a true Shepard that he will lead his congregation in the correct manner and in all truth. The bible says
Mat_23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. The scribes and the Pharisees were the religious leaders and teachers. if we do not live and teach God's word correctly, we will have to be accountable to God for the blood of those that we mislead. Being a teacher of the Gospel is a very serious matter and teaching anything that is not in the Word of God carries very serious consequences. It is not something to be taken lightly or to use to gain fame or to seem like you know so much, it is meant to glorify God and to share the truth of the Gospel so that souls will come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel of God's Son Jesus Christ. and for no other reason. the Great commission of the scripture to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature yet stands. I strongly advise (suggestively) that anyone that will presume to teah God's word be very careful what is spoken. god will hold us accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths.
I say onto you, stop smoking the herb of the shire and relax.
I've been praying for Michele Bachmann and I ask all of you to join me in this prayer. Thalia goddess of comedy in your infinite search for mirth. Curry favor with Fortuna that the lot be cast, and Bachmann be the GOP nominee
I have noticed most Atheists have almost no understanding of what is in the Bible and American evangelical Christians read the Bible very little.
BlackYowe, it has been my experience that atheists tend to know the bible very well. And if you don't believe me, check here for yourself: http://whirledbulletin.blogspot.com/2010/06/deconversion.html
Accoring to every independent poll, Atheists know the contents of the Bible better than Christians. Draw your own conclussions from that (if you can).
yes, most atheists DO know more of the bible than most people who "claim" to be Christians
Note to unbelievers:
God still believes in you!.
He/she doesn't belive in YOU!!
God has forsaken me. As I have known too little love in this life from the people that I can see, how much love can I expect from the promise of a God that I cannot see? None at all. The afterlife shall be a curse of mere eternal existence. Without love, true and pure, there can be no salvation. Your religion mocks my very existence – as my existence proves that your religion is a lie. The daughters of God want someone other than me. Heaven among them after death will be Hell – a mocking reminder of the love that they would not give to me in life.
This is not in the Bible either:
Horse sense dwells in a stable mind. Doesn't mean your a equine in stature. It's not about what's not in the Bible it's all about what is and is not in your heart and mind.
The bible does not state an APPLE. It states FRUIT.
Well then..........that changes EVERYTHING. lol
The Bible does say:
ESV Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
ESV Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
ESV 2 Thess 3:10 If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
ESV Matth 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but, after their own lusts, shall they heap uto themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned unto fables."- 2 Timothy 4:3-4. "Let no man deceive you by any means, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor nor by word, nor by letter as from us; for that day shall not come, except there be *the falling away from the faith first, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition."-2 Thessalonians 2:3 *Note: The Greek text shows the words "he apostasia" in the place of "the falling away" and literally means the rebellion or departure.
Actually, Franklin borrowed from Aesop – the moral of one of his fables was "The gods help those who help themselves".
Im from Arménia sorry for my english !!
Just want says all scientifique have contribution to make and to tell bible its false but they dont have contribution to says Quran or Budhist or other its false why ?
Because MAthieu and Jean and Jesus says "On final years of begin apocalypse the AntiChrist make all to lost humain !!" This is one exemple !!!
Apocalypse incoming before Jesus came!!!
God Bless you Vartan. Your English is great. I love what you said.
They dont try to disprove the Koran because if they did – they would have their life threaten. And if you pretty much disprove one religion... you disprove them all.
One person blogging (a comment) about the Bible suggested that the Bible is a "myth." It's very interesting that one would assume the Bible is a myth just because it's ancient and yet hold stories by or about Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Herodotus, Nero, Augustus and others as facts. Even scientists have been known to write theories and make claims that have been determined to have been flawed or out-right inaccurate. Yet people still believe in scientists and science books.
However, many of the same people who hold scientific books with their many theories along with books on history in the highest possible regard, disregard the Bible. But what some people don't know is that the Bible gives more information about the history, present condition, and future of humanity, the world, and the universe than any other ancient book – and does so accurately – even though that's not the main purpose of the book.
The Bible correctly indicates that human civilization began in the ancient Near East (now called the Middle East). It tells us that the earliest people lived in the Fertile Crescent and Northern Africa (by mentioning the fourth rivers that flowed through the region called "Eden" or paradise.) It tells us that the first humans spoke one language and that all languages came from one language. Linguists who've studied ancient language agree that most languages come from one "mother" language. It tells us that all families of the earth came from one set of parents. Biologists into genetics have confirmed this. It predicted the fall of certain nations (which until one hundred years ago or less, many of these ancient places were not known to the secular world – outside of their names being in the Bible). It foretold the rise of Greece (because of Alexander the Great of Macedonia) in the Old Testament book of Daniel. It foretold the rebirth of Israel thousands of years before Israel became a nation again in the 20th century. It hinted to the sun buring people (which some attribute to global warming) in the book of Revelation. It predicted the destruction of 1/3 of the earth's plant and sea life and the contamination of the earth's waters 2 thousand years before it began. It also foretold the day that all of the earth's governments would merge and be under a one-world leader (called the Antichrist). It spoke of a day when people would do business by a mark and/or number in their hand and forehead. And, although geologists who are athiest or agnostic won't necessarily admit it, the Bible lets us know that there was a massive flood that swept away all animal life on the surface of the earth. This is why there are fish fossils on top of mountains. This is why there are fossils from one age or time period in prehistoric times found in the strata of a different age. This is why dinasour bones, which are supposed to have existed millions or billions of years ago and covered with tons of earth since then can still be found in some parts of the world either above ground or near the surface. The bottom line is this – people who hate authority, religion, Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, or God won't be convinced no matter how much info secular history or science books get wrong, or how much the Bible gets right. They would rather believe genetic mutations over millions or billions of years evolved into higher lifeforms than believe that there is an intelligent, energy force which we call God (or Jesus) which brought all of this into existence. But if people can believe in physics and quantum physics, and/or that matter converts into energy, and that energy comes from matter, why not accept the idea that an energy created this universe and that energy has a purpose or intelligent direction that we need to get in line with?
..biblicists and scientists are two sides of the same coin....both are just theorists consoling themselves.
the bible is a rip off designed for this final stage of life strictly for the Anti-Messiah's mission that's why all of you are lost.
There is some historical record in the Bible. As long as you take away every "miracle", every "fact" that contradicts modern science and of course, the biggest lie of all, that the Bible is the word of god and not written by men...........then I'm OK with that. It's just a really, really old book – that is all.
(Modern) science produces theories and then looks for ways to verify them through experiment, quantum physics came from phenomena that we couldn't explain that we were then able to identify and perform highly accurate experiments in order to confirm our theories were correct, to the best of our knowledge. We keep on experimenting, and if something turns out to be wrong, we accept that the theory is wrong, and make a new one to test. Theories that we can't test, most of the scientific community won't believe in. All scientific papers are constantly subjected to review and critique by other scientists. No one paper is taken to be something that will always be absolutely true.
There are some scientists that believe in theories that we may never be able to prove, for example string theory. That kind of blind belief is often compared to religion.
Maybe oneday we will prove that strings exist, and maybe oneday we will find that there is some sort of 'universal conciousness' that began the universe. It seems unlikely, but nothing's impossible.
Religion asks for blind faith in a god that can intervene in the world, some sort of great plan. I can imagine no 'kind god' that could watch a world with so much suffering in it, and if that figure does exist, some sort of great puppet master, I can't say I have any respect for him, watching people hurt as part of his 'great plan', just like I would not respect any dictator who hurt his people like that.
I'm sorry, it upsets my Christian friends when I say stuff like that, but that's what I think. I do good stuff because I have empathy and that's how I'd like to be treated, not because I think anyone else is telling me to.
IF the bible states that humans came from one man and one woman (Adam and Eve) then where did the wife of Cain come from? He didn't marry his sister....there is nothing in teh bible that says Adam and Eve had girls..... Hmmmnn seems there was somebody some place else makin whoppie!!! So much for the bible and its truth.....
One or more people blogging about the Bible said it was created by government to control people. One person asked why the Bible had to scare people into being good. Why can't people be good just to be good? I'll ask, "why do we need police, judges, lawyers, laws, rules, stop signs or traffic lights? The answer is because everyone doesn't have the same sense of concern or goodness as everyone else. Without laws, rules, police, judges, or government, we'd have a "Wild West" or more widespread chaos. This is the same reason why we have a BIble; people need it as a guide or rule book to provide some sense of direction.
Almost every nation or people throughout history had rules or some type of guide. We live in a "post-modern" age where too many people don't feel that we need rules, Bibles, or God. Those of you who don't believe we need the Bible should be glad that some of us still believe in God and the Bible. It's actually got some us of on the right path and led us away from doing things that are countreproductive, morally wrong, and physically detrimental to the well-being of others.
You mean like diddling little kids that you're in charge of??????
And what is the percentage of people in jail that are christian?
You're opinion is just that, an opinion.
c'mon jimtanker, you're making a horrible generalization... "diddling little kids"?? you can't seriously believe the majority of christians are like that... and if you end up in jail for doing bad stuff you aren't REALLY christian, you just say that you are and maybe think that you are, but you would obviously not be doing what it takes to really BE christian
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.