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. fromArabia

    far more dangerous than these so-called verses are the way Augustine and subsequently Aquinas, Luther and Calvin completely distorted the notions of God's sovereignty, predestination and other doctrines that betrayed the original Apostolic faith. Calvinism is a diabolical distortion of the character of God.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Quezz

      Calvin as he originally recorded his ideas I don't think twisted the message of God. I think he and his followers politicized those ideas to create the confusion. The notion of predestination itself is not diabolical: it's the fact that Calvin and his followers (mostly his followers) then thought they could discern amongst the elect vs. reprobate was. This was largely done again for political reasons.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  2. bob

    How about Matthew 6,which basically forbids hypocritical religious activity of any kind?

    Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  3. FalseProphets

    ..Jesus is the one true God.

    The above is just a statement of BELIEF. According to the Great Prophet Muhammad and Two Billion followers, Allah is the proper name of the One True God, creator and sustainer of the universe.

    Unlike the word god, the word Allah does not have a plural or gender.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Trewth

      Read the history of muhamad and tell me how "divine" he really was

      June 5, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Mark Yelka

      More drivel. Yes, millions can be wrong. No flat earth. Tomatoes are not poison. Religion is a primitive response to fear and insecurity.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Jason

      Any why are you in the religion blog if you are an athiest? Lol athiest try way too hard

      June 5, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Quezz

      Actually, you're wrong about that. The original word for "God" in both Judaism and Christianity was also without gender. Many in the Catholic Church today do not refer to God as "He," any longer.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • ralph

      If you look at the first commandment, it makes the plural of God, Another ignorant scholar acheivement.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Two Witnesses

      According to the prophet Jesus, Allah's 2 billion followers are dead wrong

      June 5, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • peacelvr

      "Allah" would have been the Aramaic used by Jesus.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  4. Two Witnesses

    Typical anti-Christian drivel....defending Satan even...that right there tells you all you need to know about this mess

    June 5, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Sean

      Go away. The grown-ups are talking.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  5. Matt

    Jesus taught his followers to be neutral in world affairs, politics, wars, etc.
    John 17:16 "they are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world."

    Jesus' followers weapons are spiritual, not physical. Matthew 26:52 "For those who take the sword will perish by the sword." The apostle Paul added in 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 " The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly."

    Also Jesus instructed the two greatest commandment for Christians are for them to 'Love God, and Love neighbor'. – See Matthew 22:36-39.

    I hope these scriptures help to answer your question.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Frank

      I agree Matt! More people should read the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures then the beloved King James maybe then they will not be so confused.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  6. Mark Yelka

    A person who actually believes in magical beings is likely to believe in a lot of other nonsense. So-called "sacred" books from most religions are tools of social engineering designed to manage power. And, weak minds are easily lead.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Ray Metzler

      Mark,....wait until your life does not go so smooth and then your faith will be tested, and then the truth shall set you free.
      Have a wonderful day.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Hello

      Weak minds...takling out of your hemorrhoids I see. Some of the greatest minds that were and are believe in God. Take your atheist agenda to an online group that cares.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  7. Jimmy T

    The writer of this write up seems not to understand that there is a mark difference
    between what is not outrightly in the Bible and what is PARAPHRASE out of the Bible.
    The common saying 'spare the rod and spoil the child' is paraphrased from
    Pro 13:24 which says He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him
    seeks him with correction. If looking at this intently, then one will know that
    there is noting wrong in that forementioned saying.
    Although, there are some samples of misquoted verses but this should be viewed more
    in the spiritual realm than physical as the writer examplified. As far as the things
    of God and the Bible are concerned, use it the way you believe it and it shall work
    for you provided it is for good motive and mixed with faith.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • AthensGuy

      But... if it is "the word of God"... how dare one change it? Or is it an imperfect word (from an imperfect God - thus not a god) that needs to be improved?
      Lest we forget, the bible is a compilation of works written over thousands of years (NT took 300 years), and was heavily censored by Constantine. As of today, there are 70 – 100 different versions

      June 5, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  8. average christian

    How about these quote that are not in the bible.
    "God hates sin but loves the sinner"..... Sorry, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ you are an enemy of God. You will be held accountable for all sin against God. Only faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin will give you any hope on that day.
    Never let anyone mislead you to the divinity of Jesus Christ. The message of Salvation will never go away. No matter what CNN articles are posted online.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • AthensGuy

      is that in the Bible?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Yuri Pelham

      Nonsense. Belief is one thing. One's actions are what counts. Compare one who believes in Jesus but .. perhaps a pedophile and thief. The other an agnostic who behaves what Jesus preached. Who goes to heaven? "Action speaks louder than words" Let us not love in tongue but in word and deed. Google that.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  9. Simone

    " God helps those who helps themselves" does not "contradict the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast". It means that you can't sit idly and just pray to God for the things you want and expect them to magically manifest without actively participating in taking whatever path he might have for you. eg.
    Jane- "I'm really praying for that job"
    John- "Get of the couch and pound the pavement . God helps those who help themselves"
    It is not a phrase interchangeable for "look out for number one". Also I feel that just because people use these phrases doesn't mean they think they are in the Bible. Give us some credit man.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  10. Alientech

    I've heard these sayings many times before but this is the first time I hear that most people think they come from the Bible. I always knew they were more of folk proverbs than Bible based. The whole idea that the serpent tempting Eve is something other than Satan, even though Satan isn't mentioned by name is childish.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • ficheye

      No, what's childish is the fact that you, yourself, haven't read the passage.

      It goes on to say that god then cursed the snake to live the rest of it's days traveling on it's stomach. So, if it was supposed to be Satan, as you suggest, why does god curse the snake? It doesn't make sense and neither do you. Try actually reading the book instead of being childish and just imagining what you think it says.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  11. Help!

    Religion doesn't cause any problems – people use whatever pretext available to justify their actions or beliefs – When someone says “because my bible says so” they are just using it to reinforce what he or she already believes and to justify whatever action they already want to take. If the bible didn't say so then they would use another pretext.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Trewth

      again, people saying that there is christian scripture promoting violence. They keep forgetting to like the verse though... maybe there isnt a verse to link... maybe they are just saying what they hear others saying and not doing their own research >.<

      June 5, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  12. Hanbackd

    26.Proverbs 13:24
    Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
    Proverbs 13:23-25 (in Context) Proverbs 13 (Whole Chapter)

    Proverbs 22:7-9 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
    28.Proverbs 22:15
    Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
    Proverbs 22:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
    29.Proverbs 23:13
    Saying 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
    Proverbs 23:12-14 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)
    30.Proverbs 23:14
    Punish them with the rod and save them from death.
    Proverbs 23:13-15 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)
    31.Proverbs 26:3
    A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!
    Proverbs 26:2-4 (in Context) Proverbs 26 (Whole Chapter)
    32.Proverbs 29:15
    A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
    Proverbs 29:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 29 (Whole Chapter)

    This is an inaccurate journal article, which the editor and author have failed to sense check, and it is surprising to see on CNN. What the author of this article fails to point out is that even though a specific exact verse is not in the bible (on this count), that this "saying' is a short hand version of multiple verses in the Bible. To John Blake of CNN, I say...do you have a Bible? Did you open yours?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Hanbackd

      Some of those should be deleted because they are not applicable, but I don't have the option of editing my remarks.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Sean

      Clearly you did not understand the point here. The exact phrase does not appear. Some believe in exact interpretation, and when one professes to quote, that is what should occur. Not a paraphrase.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • carol

      Nice that the bible actively recommends beating your children, as well as your horse. Beating your children is against the law, and beating a horse is at best pointless. Many of us have moved on beyond this primitive level of behavior. Are we still Christians, or do we need to find another faith?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • flakky


      June 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  13. Joe

    Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."
    Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
    Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
    Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
    Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
    Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

    maybe not verbatim but the intent is pretty clear.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • bob

      I'm pretty sure there's a good chance that beating a kid with a rod could kill them, so this is completely bad advice.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • queenbee

      In other words, "spare the rod, spoil the child" the short , condensed version of all of the above. LOL

      June 5, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Ray Metzler

      Joe,...agreed 110%!
      John Blake has no right blasting the "intent" & "righteousness" of the bible. He is out of line and should try reading scriptures before writing about them. My Bible says the same as yours, ...in context.....
      26.Proverbs 13:24
      Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
      Proverbs 13:23-25 (in Context) Proverbs 13 (Whole Chapter)

      Proverbs 22:7-9 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
      28.Proverbs 22:15
      Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
      Proverbs 22:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
      29.Proverbs 23:13
      Saying 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
      Proverbs 23:12-14 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)
      30.Proverbs 23:14
      Punish them with the rod and save them from death.
      Proverbs 23:13-15 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)
      31.Proverbs 26:3
      A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!
      Proverbs 26:2-4 (in Context) Proverbs 26 (Whole Chapter)
      32.Proverbs 29:15
      A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
      Proverbs 29:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 29 (Whole Chapter)

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • AthensGuy

      @Joe: who are you to take away anyone's rights to an opinion?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • AthensGuy

      @Ray Meltzer, actually. Sorry Joe.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  14. Da Judge

    put this in your pipe and smoke it Dunn: from the King James Version

    Rev 12:9
    And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    Gen 3:13
    And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  15. George Hambrick

    the book of Jonah doesn't state it was a whale, but Jesus does state that it was a whale, so it was a whale.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Sean

      Maybe Jesus misquoted, too.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  16. Jim

    "Spare the rod, spoil the child" comes from "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." -Proverbs 13:24 (NIV). While not in the Bible, there is an Old Testament basis for the saying.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Yuri Pelham

      Proverbs not in the Bible??

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  17. Sal1943

    I think it's a great mystery that most westerners have nothing but hate for middle easterners/Arabs, yet they worship a guy who was just that, lived in the Gaza neighborhood, spoke Aramaic, wore clothes that would have him led away by law enforcement at an airport. Christians believe in the Bible, but not in the Old Testament. Is that true? Just as an example the Old Testament forbids eating pork, which Christians love eating.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Trewth

      You are very misled. First of all you generalize that "most" of westerners hate (very strong word) muslims and at the same time you assume that "most" westerners believe in God. Again, you assume that "most" christians dont believe the old testament.
      You should do a little bit of research

      June 5, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Yuri Pelham

      It's about the link to terrorism. Jesus wardrobe is of less importance.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Ooorahhh

      Sal1943 Evangelical Christians do believe in the Old Testament including all of the Laws of Moses. However, a Christian believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior knows that he is the fulfillment of those laws and that dietary things, for example, don't apply to them. Therefore, this Christian can eat all of the pork they want because they understand that it is not what goes into the man that makes him evil, but what comes out of his heart is continually evil – therefore he/she needs a savior.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • flbrnt

      I disagree that westerners have nothing but hate for middle easterners. Middle eastern culture has been misunderstood, yes, but has been romanticized. Look at the popularity of Arabian Nights stories and movies. I don't think middle easterners are hated even now. The perception is that they hate US.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Cajun Herb

      The Old Testament ban on pork is contradicted by Jesus' own words in Matthew (I think). When asked why his disciples eat things that are forbidden, Jesus states that it is what comes out of a man's mouth that is important, not what he puts in it. Most evangelicals I know play down the Old Testament. I have seen Baptist groups handing out copies of the New Testament on college campuses on Jewish holidays. On the other hand, the real fanatics who deny science usually cling to Genesis. We have to remember that the content of the Bible we see today is the result of centuries of selective editing and creative translation.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:51 am |
  18. Catherine LeMand

    The Bible and verses should NEVER been taken out of context. You must read the entire context to understand what is being said. Also, although I may NOT have the entire Bible memorized, I do know the overall theme. I trust only my pastor and others who I know are studied in the Bible when they are quoting or giving instruction from it. If someone (other than a person I am confident of their credentials) – is trying to tell me something is in the Bible – I look it up for myself. So Mr. Blake, what is your point of this article. Is it to try and cast a bad light on the truth of the Bible. Maybe – most people, after reading your article – will go away thinking "See, I knew it (Bible) was contradictory or as someone said "A bunch of made up stories." I do believe that IS the purpose of your article – and for that I am sad.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Becca

      I think that Mr. Blake is shedding light on one of the issues that have caused religion (not belief in God) to fall out of favor. Bravo for his courage to write about this problem. Another that comes to mind is our reference to Adam's apple on a man-now who said it was an apple??

      June 5, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  19. Grumm

    This article has a lot of problems. Chiefly, who ever said any of these things were from the bible?? Particularly the direct quotes. I've heard them all several times, and they may sound religious in nature, but I've never heard anyone say that they come from the bible. Also- the Ditka quote at the beginning. He simply said "Scripture tells us that all things shall pass". Only that one sentence. After that, he can say whatever he wants to. Once he FINISHES the bible quote, he can start talking about Ronald McDonald for all it matters! Not a good way to kick off your article. This is a fluffer article not really suitable for CNN's front page.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Mary

      I have actually heard MANY people assert that these - and similar - quotes have come directly from the bible, and to use such as a means to rationalize their own questionable behavior, such as beating their children. There are a lot of ignorant people in the world whose lack of education and blind embrace of religion results in an abandonment of rational thought.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  20. dreucalypt

    There's no mention of the Trinity in the Bible either.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • Trewth

      Gen. 1:26
      26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

      God is referring to himself as us.

      Book of John 1:1-15 Tells us how Jesus was with God during the creation of the world.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Timmy

      You are absolutely right. There is no mention of Trinity in the Bible. Gen 1:26 does not refer to three people but two. Trinity means 3 from the root Tri. That bible text does not support the trinity. If a husband and wife says lets make a cake does not mean that they are fused together, no, it means they are working together to achieve a purpose. People tend to forget that God had many angels before he created the earth or man. Job 38:7.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:41 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.