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. Nate-Dawg


    I just gotta make a few points here about the article & the Bible itself.

    1. I (and many other well-meaning Christians I believe) are very concerned about today's lack of knowledge of scripture. Sometimes I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry when someone misquotes scripture or puts their own opinions or knowledge into what Scripture says. That is why I want to go to Seminary in the future. I want to be able to equip\empower other Believers to challenge what society says is in the Bible and discover for themselves what scripture says.

    2. I've noticed a few posts have been making fun of the Bible and saying it isn't true. Well as far as whether or not you want to believe in what scripture says that's your call. But for those Believers out there, who want to explore the Bible for yourselves I would encourage you to get a decent Bible and begin to study. I believe you will be amazed at what you'll find and I also believe you will get to know Jesus and God on a whole new level, which I believe helps believers in the end.

    God Bless,


    June 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      May I ask what you mean by "Get a decent Bible" ? Which one in particular considered decent out of the so many bibles I hear of? Then you have there the Old and New Testment which of those can be considered more decent to read?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      God/Allah has provided all the religious texts, and everything else around us; and given us the brains to understand, so long as we have more faith in God than Satan/Iblis. Unfortunately, it often seems even well meaning people put their faith in the wrong place far too much, and cower in fear when faced with something different than their leaders allow. If one fears Satan more than they trust God, that's what leads to so much of the hateful misunderstandings. God's work is all around us. Bounce it against the texts and gain a little understanding of the historical context to understand as much as you can. And remember, easy answers are like easy work....not much really results from it.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Muneef

      Beyond Human Ego.
      Hi there.
      Actually I seen in few posts that Christians out to believe in Jesus blindly with out even needing to read the Bible or use their brains to think of the contents to learn wrong from right ! Even another post spoke of elderly catolics keeping Bibles but fear to open and read alone but rather would ask the priests for every tiny thing...!

      This remind me of what I hear about some "Jihadist's" who curse every body as infidel when them self know nothing other than what the imam tells them....!? So it seems step by step Christianity and Judaism would be having similar "Jihadist's" that fight knowing nothing for what they are fighting for...!?

      June 7, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Wyatt

      Muneef- the New King James Version, is the most accurate translation of the Greek text. But it should not be taken alone, a bible study handbook is a great tool, Halleys Bible Handbook is an amazing tool for helping to understand scripture, where the scripture came from, and how we can know it's accurate.
      and 1 Catholics dont read the bible, they are completely ignorant of the word of God and it is completely disgusting. The Church of Christ is the only true church ordained by the Gospels, and committed by Christ himself after the resurrection. EVERYONE, should read their bible's DAILY; Especially the books of Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and all of Pauls Epistles to Churches across the globe, so that we can KNOW and DO what is the >TRUE< will of God. NOT just what some priest or preacher "FEELS" is "GOOD". Diligent study of the word with an open heart and open mind, only seeking to do the TRUE will of God is what EVERY CHRISTIAN needs to do. If someone claims to be a believer, and they don't study the Lord's word and DO as it commands, they are blasphemers and liars. Because if you are not seeking the Faith in truth, you WILL NOT be close to God and there will not be peace in the end. Because Jesus Christ died for Our Sins that we might have the ability to reach an eternal heavenly home with him in God's kingdom; but if we do not KNOW that we ARE doing the will of God, there is no hope for us, and the only way to KNOW in truth, is through the Word of God.. (And im not meaning to Blast any Church that does not call themselves "the Church of Christ", but most Churches that do not identify themselves as such teach sectarianism and denominationalism, that which pulls people away from the truth of Gods word, and puts hearts and minds into a group of leaders or a preacher).

      Nathan- i hope you have read what i addressed to Muneef, and understand that YOU need to search the word to find if whatever congregation you belong to is indeed the true Church of Christ, No matter what you are "used to" or "like" i cannot stress enough that you NEED to bond yourself to a group who TRULY does the will of God as it is instructed by the word, and if you are not searching and trying to challenge yourself and your congregation, you are not following the will of God, and you may very well be led astray by those who claim to "know".

      In this I only hope that you and any others might learn the will of God in truth, so that we might all share a His Love in one another.

      June 7, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Muneef my freind, you are absolutely correct. There are blind jihadists in every type of religion. I was raised in an old time Baptist form of Christianity and it had very similar fundemental values towards persecuting or looking down on others not like them, as some are led to believe all Muslims do. I was shocked when I explained to my parents that many of the values of both religions were the same, but all they could see or discuss were the differences. Its sad to say but I kind of stay away from them now, because I know we will always disagree about such things asnd i don't wish to bring discord to my parents home. You probably run into a few such people on here. I even remember one of my bosses and some of my coworkers treating me like I was crazy when I said the acts of 9/11 and other terrorists were not what all Muslims believe. I may have even come close to losing my job over it out of their spite, though I'm sure they'd never admit it. I knew someone was gonna get hurt in return after 9/11, but I was just hoping we were smart enough to not cause even more trouble. Sadly I'm not sure we did the best we could to avoid further problems for all, nor am I proud of all of the things that happened. I'm sure there are many more like me now, than when it all started though. Some just learn slower. I still remeber when Iraq was invaded, some of my coworkers acted like a football game had just started and we all should be cheer leaders. I wonder if they feel the same all these years later. I feel sorry for those on both sides that have sufferred. Its amazing how ignorant about war some can be. They rarely end the way people think they will when they start. I don't believe in a World Caliphate though, any more than I think Christain missionaries need to convert the rest of the world. I don't know where that leaves me with God, but I just trust in ITs compas-sion. Iguess that's my faith. Peace to all, as soon as possible.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • Muneef


      Should thank you for your sincere post that gave us the opportunity to express our thoughts and concerns in a clean heartedly as brother to brother and not only as a friend to friend....since we as God believers on the Creed of Abraham..and Abraham was Monotheist....;
      Allow me to spoil the thread with truth.

      [2:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      [2:130] Who would forsake the religion of Abraham, except one who fools his own soul? We have chosen him in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be with the righteous.

      [2:131] When his Lord said to him, "Submit," he said, "I submit to the Lord of the universe."

      [2:132] Moreover, Abraham exhorted his children to do the same, and so did Jacob: "O my children, GOD has pointed out the religion for you; do not die except as submitters."

      [2:133] Had you witnessed Jacob on his death bed; he said to his children, "What will you worship after I die?" They said, "We will worship your god; the god of your fathers Abraham, Ismail, and Isaac; the one god. To Him we are submitters."

      [2:134] Such is a com-m-unity from the past. They are responsible for what they earned, and you are responsible for what you earned. You are not answerable for anything they have done.

      [2:135] They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper."

      [2:136] Say, "We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters."

      [2:137] If they believe as you do, then they are guided. But if they turn away, then they are in opposition. GOD will spare you their opposition; He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

      [2:138] Such is GOD's sys-tem, and whose sys-tem is better than GOD's? "Him alone we worship."

      [2:139] Say, "Do you argue with us about GOD, when He is our Lord and your Lord? We are responsible for our deeds, and you are responsible for your deeds. To Him alone we are devoted."

      [2:140] Do you say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs were Jewish or Christian? Say, "Do you know better than GOD? Who is more evil than one who conceals a testimony he has learned from GOD? GOD is never unaware of anything you do."

      [2:141] That was a com-m-unity from the past. They are responsible for what they earned, and you are responsible for what you earned. You are not answerable for anything they did.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Muneef


      Thank you for the lead and will try to find a link for a digital copy of same in English or preferably for easier reading if it is in Arabic language,might I realize differences meanly in the stories of old about (Prophets&their own People)...
      You said "Catholics dont read the bible"...
      We as Muslims are supposed to read our Holy Book for the purpose of gaining knowledge/morals/wisdoms that comes more when read again and again....another thing why we read the Holy Book is because we are told while trying to (Read/Recite) it we gain points of mercy from God into our "Balance of Deeds" with every letter read and a mistake made we are supposed to gain such points in our favor for the other day.... But for the Catholic they might found that not necessary since they can go every Sunday to Church to admit their weekend sins and be forgiven becoming back as fresh and clean as a baby....!?

      Here it is we are informed that some truth was concealed from within the previous scriptures,then God assure us that words of the Quran was the truth and not to harbor doubt....in final verse we are to follow directions racing towards righteousness...as a Creed of Abraham but in the "Practices and or Directions" of Prophets & Messengers of God to us (Scriptures&Teachings).
      God here says we ought to choose (Make a Choice) for directions as groups,as individuals and to harbor no doubt,racing towards righteousness...so tell me how can make a choice of direction or know the rightfulness from the wrongfulness if we do not read,do not listen to the Holy Book (Read/Recite)....Trusting only on man to operate you as if he has your remote control in his hand with out how or why!?;
      [2:146] Those who received the scripture recognize the truth herein, as they recognize their own children. Yet, some of them conceal the truth, knowingly.

      [2:147] This is the truth from your Lord; do not harbor any doubt.

      [2:148] Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness. Wherever you may be, GOD will summon you all. GOD is Omnipotent.
      We understand from another verse that from reading/Reciting the Holy Books God speak,inspire,reveal to us all that he wants to;
      [20:113] We thus revealed it, an Arabic Quran, and we cited in it all kinds of prophecies, that they may be saved, or it may cause them to take heed.

      [20:114] Most Exalted is GOD, the only true King. Do not rush into uttering the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase my knowledge."

      June 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      Beyond Human Ego.
      Thank you friend but it is the truth because we as Peaceful Muslims are being oppressed in our native countries and abroad due to the acts of those ignorant ones who are acting as been hypnotized by Imams,Priests,Pastors,Rubies or some ideology leaders....

      The Purest parts in mankind are "the Heart&the Tongue" and Filthiest parts in mankind are as well "the Heart&theTongue"....so keep both clean with parents and with people....God will judge your intentions and the consequences of your actions... Be wise where or when to say what you believe to an individual or on public since many have lost their lives for a word of truth... (Do not throw you souls in dangers) since same can be considered as a suicidal act).

      It is only here on CNN Faith&Believe blogs that I had been able to express my though more than any place else...so maybe you can do the same to help people from both sides to come to their senses...might that count in your favor with God for the love of God only.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  2. PJ

    Like the Bible does say in 2 Peter 3:3 2Pe 3:3 ¶ Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, Maybe the Bible does not say those things, but the Bible is still the Divine Word of God,2 Timothy 3:16,17 ,16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
    What I see is that by these comments that most of them do not know the Bible and are spewing out vile things to try and degrade the Holy Word of God. Psalm 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. The Bible does not need man to defend it, its words will do that. Thank God He has mercy on us.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Collin

    Ever wonder why Luke's Gospel has the viewers of the crucifixion smoting their breasts when Jesus gives up the ghost (Luke 23:48) and Matthew's Gospel has an earthquake after Jesus gives up the ghost (Matthew 27:51)?

    I'll give you a hint:

    Luke 13:6-9 has parable of a dresser who wants to work on a fig tree before the owner of the fig tree cuts it down.
    Mark 11:12-21 Jesus curses a fig tree but it doesn't die immediately.
    Matthew 21:1720Jesus curses a fig tree and it dies immediately and the disciples are amazed.

    Luke 21:29 says to behold the fig tree and all the trees.
    Matthew 24:32 just mentions the fig tree.

    The fig tree is known to represent Israel.

    As many know, Luke is considered the gospel for the gentiles and Matthew is considered the gospel for the Hebrews

    As many know, in the end times, the Heavenly Father is supposed to turn His efforts back towards the Hebrews: Luke 21:24 ...until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled. Romans 11:25...that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the gentiles be come in. Acts 15:14-16/Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen...

    There seem to be this direction going there, a progression, if you will.

    It can be seen also in the account of the dying to dead daughther:

    Luke 8:42 the daughter lays a dyinig
    Mark 5:23 the daughter is at the point of death
    Matthew 9:18 The father knows that his daughter is dead but believes Jesus can bring her back to life.

    I haven't fully learned how the Gospel of John fits into this seemingly order the Luke goes to Matthew in.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Ed Smith

      The Gospels are from four people and four points of view as well as emphasizing four different points in time in any one common story and also emphasizing different parts. In other words you and I watch and event and tell someone about the event. You tell about one thing that happened at the event and I you another thing that happened even though we both saw both things happen. You talk about the same thing I talk about but further along as the event unfolded. I talk about the first few minutes and you talk about the last few minutes. You were standing on a hill and I was at the bottom of the hill. I thought one part was more important to talk about than you did. We put the whole thing together and we get a fuller picture of the event and all of the parts of our individual stories fit perfectly without a single inconsistency. That is how the Gospels work. If they were all the exact same it would be likely they were fabricated. This shows they weren’t.

      Proverbs 13:24 NASB, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” KJV, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” So we see “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is a proper paraphrase in proper context of the original. And, as anyone knows or has been around the kid of a parent that doesn’t discipline them with the rod properly (without abusing the child), they generally grow up rude disrespectful spoiled brats. I see it all day every day.

      Genesis 3:1-6 NIV, “1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
      2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
      4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
      6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
      We see hear that it is also true that Satan tempted Eve to eat the fruit in the garden. The serpent represents Satan and no respectable theologian would ever argue against that. The fruit was not an apple though. So we see we can trust article written by news reporters or commentary on the Bible by non-theologians even if they are Jewish Rabiis or Christian pastors.

      Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” An accurate paraphrase of these verses is, “God works in mysterious ways.”

      “God help those that help themselves” is actually totally unscriptural in every way possible and could be called anti-biblical. The proper view comes from Proverbs 3:5 ESV, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” This is properly applied to mean the Lord is whom you must rely upon in all things, not yourself because He is the source of all things good including the food you eat, the cloths you have on your back, and the money you need to live. Not to say you should just lie around and do nothing, but that you should follow His precepts in everything you do and pray for His wisdom and guidance where it is not all that clear to you from His precepts.

      Some of the so-called biblical experts at all even if they do have Ph.D.’s on the subject because they are unable to spiritually discern what they have been presented with.

      What does the Bible teach about being able to understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit, it says this, 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” Of course this verse carries over to all things that have to do with the spirit of God including the scriptures.

      Monergism.com has many Bible Commentaries from the greatest theologians of all time including the best we have today and it’s all free. Go ahead and explore to you hearts content. I promise you will be surprised at how much you didn’t know, who much your pastor doesn’t know in many cases, and how much many so-called experts don’t know. I don’t have time to respond to everything in the article. If you want some direct scholarly advice, go to a Westminster Seminary website and contact a professor directly via email. Their email addresses takes some exploring to find, but they can be found and most professors will answer your questions. They are a top notch biblical seminary unlike many you will see. The Harvard amongst trade schools.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  4. Sophie

    "Be the change you want to see in the world" ~ Gandhi

    June 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Are these verses in the bible?

    [7:85] To Midyan we sent their brother Shu`aib. He said, "O my people, worship GOD; you have no other god beside Him. Proof has come to you from your Lord. You shall give full weight and full measure when you trade. Do not cheat the people out of their rights. Do not corrupt the earth after it has been set straight. This is better for you, if you are believers.

    [7:86] "Refrain from blocking every path, seeking to repel those who believe from the path of GOD, and do not make it crooked. Remember that you used to be few and He multiplied your number. Recall the consequences for the wicked.

    [11:84] To Midyan we sent their brother Shu`aib. He said, "O my people, worship GOD; you have no other god beside Him. Do not cheat when you measure or weigh. I see that you are prosperous, and I fear for you the retribution of an overwhelming day.

    [11:85] "O my people, you shall give full measure and full weight, equitably. Do not cheat the people out of their rights, and do not roam the earth corruptingly.

    [11:86] "Whatever GOD provides for you, no matter how small, is far better for you, if you are really believers. I am not a guardian over you."

    [26:181] "You shall give full measure when you trade; do not cheat.

    [26:182] "You shall weigh with an equitable scale.

    [26:183] "Do not cheat the people out of their rights, and do not roam the earth corruptingly. 

    [55:07] And the sky, God has elevated it and set the balance.

    [55:08] That you may not transgress in the balance.

    [55:09]  And keep up the weight with justice, and shorten not the weight.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Hi Muneef. These verses would appear to be from the Koran and while they are probably not in the Old or New Testament word for word, the ideas probably exist in most religious texts in one form or another. Unfortunately, as we know, they often are not followed in any of our societies. Perhaps one day we will learn that it is good to profit from hard work, but not to the point of destroying others in the process, especially while profiting from the hard work of others instead of our own work. The same applies to religious understanding. We all start from different levels and require different roads to get to the goals.

      Hope all is well with the continued disturbances in your part of the world and that you and your family and freinds are safe. Lets hope we learn something useful from these experiences before more have to suffer.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  6. kiwilogic

    I wonder how the people who were around for the 100,000 or so years before christ came lived their lives i mean they didnt have the bible to tell them how to live so they must've screwed up a lot i dont see why people follow christianity or islam or anything like that norse gods are much more fascinating to read about

    June 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Muneef


      Find a link that would take you to list of Prophets that you may read about their stories with their people from Adam to Muhammed as per stories of the Quran;


      June 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Mitchell Moore

    The Bible, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Mother Goose... It's all the same.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  8. kiwilogic

    the bibles a super condensed version of all the books and scriptures that were written. there were libraries of scriptures and they decided to make 1 book that had the 'best of' if you would of all the scriptures to make it easier and control what was said. Religion had a huge roll in controlling the masses back in the day its a shame in todays world where we dont need religion to control the masses anymore we cant just take the good points like thou shall not kill or steal and just forget all the extra crap thats insignificant. who cares what it says in the bible you cant learn everything from a book

    June 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  9. Reality

    And then there are things that should not be in the bible:

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Myth:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Gah!!! More Copy/Paste!!

      Gah!!!! More Copy/Paste!!

      June 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Yes and they accuse others of being mindless sheep. Mirror please!

      June 7, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  10. Pastor J

    Re: whale versus great fish:

    Jonah 1:17 = "great fish."
    The translation error in KJV - Matthew 12:40 ("whale" instead of "great fish") was corrected in the New KJV -> "great fish."
    NIV has "great fish,"
    NRSV, NNAS, NASB all have "sea monster."

    June 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Does anyone know whether there were scales on the thing in the ocean or if it had to rise to the surface to breathe or had gills......or maybe are we arguing over meaningless details and missing the bigger more important points of the story? Its kind of like arguing over how the deck chairs of the Ti-tanic should be arranged just before it slid under the waves.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  11. Zach

    The Bible may be the most revered book in America
    This is what 's wrong with America.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  12. Russell

    Look at Matthew 12:40 KJV Jonas - in the whales belly. When translated from the Greek a little different in the spellings. In reality Jonah (Jonas) was swallowed by the whale. One thing that cannot be found: Sunday( or the first day of the week) should be used as a day to rest or not to any work.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Asil

      You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. Exodus 31:15 (NLT)

      It is actually stated a few times in Exodus. Guess that book was left out of your Bible?

      June 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Asil: Russel was right. Sunday is the 1st not the 7th day of the week. Constantine, the Roman Emperor worshipped Sol Invictus, the Sun God until just before he died. That's why Sun Day is the Christain day of rest and not the 7th day Saturday. Constantine was baptised just before he died in bed cause he figured he didn't need to kill or put out the eyes of any more of his relatives to keep the throne by then.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  13. Stephen Raj

    Can't believe this made its way to here.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  14. Dee

    The comment thread reiterates the point made by the author; most of you idiots don't/can't read and those that do can not comprehend or interpret correctly. Nearly 6000 dumb comments that don't address the theme of the article....gotta love Christians.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Agree. If they could come up with a filter to get rid of ad hominem arguments, and most of the other garden varieties of logical fallacies, and Adelina, or anything about her/it, and things which don't relate, even remotely to the article, the time wasted here would be vastly reduced.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And much more fun.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Sean

      No! All the best comments have had nothing to do with the article.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  15. John Salt


    June 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  16. mike

    Matthew 12:40 Jesus says jonah was in the whales belly three days... Wouldn't hurt you to read the book you say others don't. That's the problem with anything like this: You're taking someones word about what's in/not in the bible. You should read it just so YOU know.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • d-patt

      it says fish, which, as we know, is not a whale.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Asil

      In the King James Version it says whale. In most other versions it says great fish. And in some it says sea serpent. The article pointed this out for you.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Beyond Human Ego

      Okay. I finally get it. Now where do I go to do the 3 days in the belly of a fish or whale ritual? Do you wear a wet suit, swin trunks or what? Or was that just a practice run for the 3 days of Easter/Ishtar?

      June 7, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  17. Wicket

    It seems like an almost Calvinist-type work ethic trying to be preached with the "god helps those who help themselves", in that common belief that the rich are rich because god likes them better, and that the poor deserve what they get and don't deserve help...a pseudo-biblical reason to castigate the poor. A very anti-Christian thing to do.

    It would be better to use the pseudo-biblical John Bradford phrase, "but for the grace of god"...there go I.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Squeezebox

      Actually, that whole nonsense about those who are holier are more successful comes from the "divine right of kings" where people were told that the king is the king because God made him so and you should not quesiton your place in life. It was how the aristocracy justified their behavior, their wealth, their lifestyle, etc.... and we now hear chilling echoes coming from the likes of Glenn Beck & co.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  18. aruntabear

    "This too shall pass" is actually a Sufi parable.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  19. Popeye

    "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." – Spinach 1:14

    June 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Burning Bush

      I Am (the way, the truth and the light).

      June 7, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Sean

      "Et tu, Bluto?"

      June 7, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Popeye

      Time to annoint myself with Holy Olive Oil.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Jeep

      Like God, now you see me, now you don't, but I'm stil hereeeeeeeeee.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Detective History

      I Am (also known as....the way.... the truth.... and..... the light). All of which were used to describe other religious views present in the Middle East thanks to the many trade routes passing through there between China/India on one end and Africa/Egypt and Europe on the other for hundreds of years bfore Jesus.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  20. Marie Kidman


    June 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
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About this blog

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.