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. mark


    June 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • jiminycricket

      Oh actually, that's the English translation. In the Greek, it also means "big fish." There was another word entirely for "whale."

      June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Todd

      Even more interesting is the rest of the phrase: "so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Hmm...crucified on Friday afternoon, presumably buried that evening, supposedly resurrected on Sunday morning. That's not even three days, let alone three days AND three nights.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Kati

      Todd, you clearly do not know the Bible. Jesus spent three days in hell when he died – Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday. That's 3 days.

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

      You are quoting the kjv. It is HIGHLY inaccurate, but extremely beautiful. Some things are best read from the King James. Christmas would not be Christmas without the reading of the birth narrative. But it is crazy to say that ANYTHING from the bible in as inaccurate language as English would have any form of accuracy. Think about John 1 the word was with God and the word was God is commonly misquoted with word as a equivalent to Jesus which it isn't. Its a mistranslation of the Greek. There are 3 distinct tenses of the 'word' in the verse and none of them mean what Jesus. So please please please try to seek out some professional help or at least decent lexicon to translate it yourself.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Oso

      Kati, the passages referring to that day say that Jesus died around sunset – and thihgs like "a great darkness" are inserted to further some agenda here –
      That means, according to Jewish law, Saturday began right then at sunset on Friday evening.
      Saturday, Sunday, and Monday would be "three days and nights".
      Christians cannot even have the excuse of using Sunday, for even if he had died Friday afternoon, the remainder of the day is not a day, nor is it a day and a night of Friday.
      But even if we use Friday as one of the days, that would mean that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were the three days he spent "in hell" to be raised up on Monday morning.
      Tuesday morning if you go by the other way.

      And the Sabbath has always been Saturday for the Jews. It begins at sundown on Friday evening.
      That's why there is no Daily Show on Friday nights. lol
      Sunday can never be the Sabbath no matter how you count the days.
      The early Church moved the Sabbath to Sunday in order to be as separate as possible from the Jews, not because of anything ascribed to Jesus.
      The math simply does not work. Sunday is bullshlt day. Neither Sabbath nor "Risen" day.
      There are other things the early church did to remove themselves from conventional Judaism, but I won't list them here.
      Christianity is a Jewish cult and likes to pretend that it isn't Jewish at all.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Andréa

      Thank you for this post! I was about to "mis-quote" the bible tonight when I was finalizing tomorrow's blog!

      Fortunately, I'm a bit of a stickler for wanting supporting facts in my blogs, and after finding no mention of this "famous quote by Samson" of "This too shall pass!"

      I finally was persistent enough to find your site, and you answered my question (so now I can sleep in peace tonight) Thank you! 🙂

      *Oh, I decided to use the "quote" anyway, the words are well-suited and my husband says it often enough for me to quote him! 😉

      December 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  2. 2011

    Did you read JEREMIAH 8-8? If not, go and read it, it explains everything. How come Jesus, a messenger of God gets to be called God, or his son, or half-god-half-man? Do God need to eat or else prove to me that Jesus was faking eating, and what about the father killing or letting the son getting killed, wow, Can God die?, if not then why your priest says Jesus died for your sins? So much confusion, God is The All-Knowing, The All-Sufficient. It's everyone man's right to be told the truth for that there's only ONE TRUTH, and it's flawless.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  3. Denis

    The bible is fiction, science proved already that God is a particle, heaven is only the measurement of your satisfaction, the devil is fairy tales just like father christmas, and hell is the life of a junkie.

    Life is what you do waiting to die. create your heaven and live in it...it's right here on earth....after death...there is absolutely nothing. If you doubt me, tell God to write, disapprove, prove himself...of course he cannot. FICTION!

    June 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Hello There Man

      Go on, prove that God is a particle. If you're getting God confused with the higgs boson or the "God particle" then I don't know what to say. And the other chuck person, stop advertising your website, it makes all you're saying sound cheap.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Mr Marmite

      Chuck...are you trying to reply to every post with spam links ?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Walt

      Imagine if you're wrong – even if you're only partially wrong! My goodness!

      June 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Punky

      Well said bro. Those who live their life for God and follow the bible as his word are a sad and pathetic lot. There is no one controlling our fate.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • eric

      God is eternal no beginning or end just existence itself, being itself. Your definition of God as that particle itself that starts all is actually a proof. It indicates that somewhere being itself order creation. This in no way contradicts God or the Bible, it actually proves just how eternal God is. Put your particle in but understand God is being itself. even that particle came from somewhere and is that which is beyond time itself.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • eric

      Satan and demons in the text actually acknowledge God and God's power. Jesus actually has to shut them up on several occasions to avoid being discovered as the messiah. Dude read the bible you profess to tell everyone else to read. In John Jesus says that to inherit eternal life, aeon zoe, you must follow his command to love. Loving people even those who you don't like or agree with even unto death is the hallmark of being in Christ. Are you posting in love? I have tasted eternal life and I'll tell ya, its not like how you are living it out. There is so much joy. Even as a theologian I can find eternity and find rest there.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Karen

      God has already written...the Bible has been around, unchanged, for thousands of years. Psalm 14:1 says, "Only the fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' Psalm 10:4 says "The wicked turns up his nose and says, 'God doesn't care.' His every thought concludes, There is no God."
      Contrary to what you wrote, science has not and cannot prove there is no God. In fact, many scientists believe the Scriptures. Google scientists and God, and see for yourself. And read Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
      I used to be just as angry as you seem to be...and every bit as unbelieving. Jesus changed me. Revelation 3:20 says Jesus is standing at the door (of our heart) and knocking... I know that can be hard to believe, but it's true! The Bible is not fiction. It answers every question that man nor science has never been able to answer, such as why are we here? Where did we come from? Why is this world so bad? Why is my life so bad? What happens after we die? Does God really love me? Our Creator knows your heart, and He will be happy to prove Himself, as you requested. He has already written His Word, now you must pick it up and let it transform you.
      If God has been on your mind, that is Jesus standing at your heart and knocking. Please let Him in, and don't delay. Hebrews 3:15 says "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts..." Best wishes and peace to you.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  4. Scootah

    Who cares.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • J K Mark

      3,970 and counting response care, that's who.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  5. mark


    June 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      The point is that that is a mistranslation, though I agree it is creepy to blame Christians for citing what was presented to them as an accurate translation.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • J K Mark

      You got that from the 400 year old King James translation didn't you. Did you realize that more modern translations from the original Greek do not use the term whale. Please read Bart Erhman and learn about biblical scholarship: the ministers being trained today (except for the right wing fundamentalist evangelicals) are learning this in seminary.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  6. Timmy

    Jesus was not born Jesus Christ!!!!

    Here is a technical point in the Bible that is interesting that makes logical sense but does not need to be harped on. When Jesus was born he simply was called Jesus, not Jesus Christ. Is there a difference, yes. Christ in Greek and Hebrew simply mean "Anointed One." Jesus was not anointed at his birth, but at his baptism with Holy Spirit being poured out. But this is a technical point if someone says Jesus Christ was born we know what they are talking about. The same is true with this article.

    Overall the article is good, however just because the Genesis account does not mention Satan specifically does not mean that it was not Satan. That's like reading an X-Men novel and someone saying that Logan was not wolverine in the first chapter because he had not been changed yet. If you know the whole story its not wrong to say that he is the wolverine because you have the overall story. The scriptures in Revelations bears this out by calling the Devil the Original Serpent. We all use terminology loosely at times, but most people get the gist of it. So to wrap this up the Serpent was the Devil and people are not wrong for saying so because they have the overall picture.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • James Quinn

      Well might not the serpent rather than being the actual Satan be Eve's human nature? The serpent representing we the people our duality and struggles with greed and power? Perhaps even a warning against a thirst for knowledge? A warning against human natures desire to become MORE than it is and by doing so loosing something of it's humility? To simply say that the Serpent is obviously Satan when it is not said that it is is well a bit odd for all those who insist the Bible is litterall and should be taken as such cause it's adding meaning.

      Pagan jim

      June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Kamala

      It's the book of Revelation not Revelations.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Timmy

      @ Kamala: You are right it is Revelation not Revelations.

      @ James Quinn: The Bible never said everything was to be take literal. Jesus mentions a camel going through a needles eye at Matthew 19:24. Job said at Job 1:20 that naked you came out of your mother and naked you will go back. Should these texts be taken literally? Revelation clears things up in Revelation 1:1 John says that the visions were presented in signs or signified as the King James says. So everything in the Bible is not meant to be taken literally. The context of the passage and other supporting scriptures determines whether or not a scripture is literal or symbolic.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  7. James Quinn

    I've read more than a few negative comments about his article. Yet the ONLY thing this article pointed out is that there are phrases, words, and descriptions attributed to the bible that are not actually in the book. Why the offense? Is it true or not? If not then point out what is written in the bible and reference where it is so I and others can verify. If it the article is true should you not be happy cause now you know and others as well? I would think that "IF" you are one that thinks the bible was written but God that you would be the very first tio insist that all references to the bible be accurate 100%.

    As for I... I do not believe. I've had a very hard life and not once did I need god to handle my cares. In fact I would bet good money that to all whom might read my words I've had a MUCH harder life than you or anyone you've personally known. Still and without god in my life I'm good and happy. I still have many a struggle but I'm confident in my ability to handle them and to deal. Experience has shown me this it's not over confidence it's experience. Even though in my personal life god was never needed I've still given it a lot of thought and here is a simple version of what I've come up with. I live by the concept that Everything is possible, but not nearly as many are probable. god is possible but in my mind not probable.

    Pagan jim

    June 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • vess

      Couldn't agree more with you

      June 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Heh, you need to read Bart Erhman, he knows the original bible from a historical perspective, yet he is agnostic. Why? Because he doesn't understand how a "god" could make a world with suffering. To that I suggest you read Job, or even better, watch the video called whirlwind that Rob Bell produced for nooma.com. I think you may find your answer there. Best of luck. Besides, something can't come from nothing, and so something had to begin it all. The trouble for you is not God, but rather his misguided fan club. Suggest you read Love Wins by Rob Bell and all of Bart Erhman's books.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      JK Mark – thank you for that line, I have needed it my whole life. I don't have a problem with God I just have a problem with his fan club.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Good for you, James Quinn. It's always great to see someone pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get things done without waiting for a hand up, be it financial or spiritual.

      As for those who say that something can't come from nothing, where did god come from? Don't try the "god is eternal" thing, because if that is the case, then the universe can be eternal as well. Truth is we don't know where the universe came from (yet), but people have been crediting one god or another for everything inexplicable since the dawn of humanity. It's strange how these gods die off as we learn the real reasons for natural phenomena.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  8. RobertFTL

    Religion killed the USA. When religion dominates every topic, how do you progress as a society? That is why most of the Islamic world is so far behind...they follow the Koran to closely. The percentage of people who call themselves religious in China has been the lowest in the world and that is why they are succeeding in life. When you put religion before education you are asking for failure. That is why our founding fathers believed in separation of church and state. That was the basis of the new world. But I guess every great society has an end...unfortunately it had to be in our life time.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Ryan

      America was founded on the basis of religion. The pilgrims and the puritans had religious views that were shunned in Europe, so they fled to America. And if church and state are separate why have Americans only elected one non-protestant (John F. Kennedy- Roman Catholic)?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Ryan: The people who originally came from Europe to North America (not counting the vikings) were of christian sects, yes, but the men who founded the United States were, for the most part deists, not christians.This country was founded on freedom, not religion. If you would like a comprehensive collection of quotes about religion from the our founding fathers, here is a good site.


      June 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • wendy

      China succeeds by paying practically slave wages, separating families for the better part of the year,forcing abortions on those with a child already, and all in the name of progress. This while jailing ,torturing and executing anyone who dares criticize the status quo. Is this the America you want?That's what happens when religious morality and influence are totally removed from society.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Apepi

      speaking of Founding Fathers...... i really liked Common Sense and The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. what you're saying of the islamists/muslims (whatever) qur'an/koran (whatever) is so true on how backwards they are! religion just stops mankind from progressing! period!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      Tallulah – Thank you for your comment, I have been trying to explain that fact to American Christians for years. Deist would not be recognized by American Christianity as Christians. They really had no problem with Christ it was the Trinity and God incarnate on earth that they couldn't square with reason.

      Ryan – the reason that the churches in America, at the founding, insisted on the separation of church and state was because they had come from countries that could make your religion illegal and confiscate all their property for no reason at all. They also remembered the abuses of the Puritans and the Quakers in early America. William Penn loved to hang Baptist because he thought they were perverting the word of God. He would torture and hang them in the public square trying to get them to recant their faith.

      Your Question about Kennedy is out of place, Catholics are Christians also.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  9. abby

    The problem is that most people who talk about the Bible probably haven't read it cover to cover. Try doing that. I've done it three times and every time I read it I find that I misread, misunderstood something. However, one of my favorites is Matt. 25:35-46.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  10. Notperfect

    Share this on:Facebook Twitter Digg del.icio.us reddit MySpace StumbleUpon

    Comments (3,569 comments)
    Actually, that's not in the Bible
    By John Blake, CNN


    June 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Notperfect: the author has read the Bible. I suggest you do likewise. Please go to youversion.com and use something other than your faulty King James version. It is full of errors. If you seriously don't understand that, then you seriously do not understand biblical scholarship.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  11. Jon

    Its true, people do "infect" the bible with their own preheld beliefs. And thank God for that. If we truly blindly accepted all in the bible, we would still have slaves, and would think that genocide is justified as long as it is "God's will" (e.g., the taking of the "promised land"). The fact that people "infect" the bible with their own beliefs obtained from their own experience, reason, and culture around them is what differentiates them from fundamentalists. You might then wonder: if we really get our values from experience and reason and the surrounding culture, why do we need the bible? Indeed.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  12. jesse

    The sayings are not direct qoutes from the bible, but the sayings are biblical.. Yes the bible uses great fish and not whale, but what animal in the ocean is big enough to swallow a man.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Oso

      Whale Sharks are big enough, but they spit out anything much bigger than the krill they eat.
      God would have had to shove Jonah down a whale-shark's gullet.
      How ironic.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Not a whale. No oxygen, not enough room. Stop making things up.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • wendy

      Jonah was in the sea not the ocean and so I think it could also have been the catfish with 9 foot wide mouths or any one of the large fish found in the deepest parts of the nile,Amazon,and even smaller river systems in Southeast Asia.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      A whale may be big enough but they couldn't swallow anything as big as a human. So, it is another case of some hillbilly deciding what the Bible means instead of scholars.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  13. Notperfect

    Showing results from: -Amuzgo de Guerrero (AMU)- Amuzgo de Guerrero -العربية (AR)- Arabic Life Application Bible -Български (BG)- 1940 Bulgarian Bible Bulgarian Bible -Chinanteco de Comaltepec (CCO)- Chinanteco de Comaltepec -Cakchiquel Occidental (CKW)- Cakchiquel Occidental -Kreyol (CPF)- Haitian Creole Version -Čeština (CS)- Slovo na cestu -Dansk (DA)- Dette er Biblen på dansk -Deutsch (DE)- Hoffnung für Alle Luther Bibel 1545 -English (EN)- 21st Century King James Version American Standard Version Amplified Bible Common English Bible Contemporary English Version Darby Translation Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition English Standard Version GOD’S WORD Translation Good News Translation Holman Christian Standard Bible King James Version The Message New American Standard Bible New Century Version New International Reader's Version New International Version New International Version 1984 New International Version – UK New King James Version New Living Translation Today's New International Version Worldwide English (New Testament) Wycliffe New Testament Young's Literal Translation -Español (ES)- La Biblia de las Américas Castilian Dios Habla Hoy Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana de Hoy Nueva Traducción Viviente Nueva Versión Internacional Reina Valera Contemporánea Reina-Valera 1960 Reina-Valera 1995 Reina-Valera Antigua Traducción en lenguaje actual -Français (FR)- La Bible du Semeur Louis Segond -Κοινη (GRC)- 1550 Stephanus New Testament 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament 1894 Scrivener New Testament SBL Greek New Testament -תירביע (HE)- The Westminster Leningrad Codex -Ilonggo (HIL)- Hiligaynon Bible -Hrvatski (HR)- Croatian Bible -Magyar (HU)- Hungarian Károli -Íslenska (IS)- Icelandic Bible -Italiano (IT)- Conferenza Episcopale Italiana La Nuova Diodati La Parola è Vita -Jacalteco, Oriental (JAC)- Jacalteco, Oriental -Kekchi (KEK)- Kekchi -Latina (LA)- Biblia Sacra Vulgata -Māori (MI)- Maori Bible -Macedonian (MK)- Macedonian New Testament -Mam, Central (MVC)- Mam, Central -Mam, Todos Santos (MVJ)- Mam de Todos Santos Chuchumatán -Plautdietsch (NDS)- Reimer 2001 -Náhuatl de Guerrero (NGU)- Náhuatl de Guerrero -Nederlands (NL)- Het Boek -Norsk (NO)- Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930 Levande Bibeln -Português (PT)- João Ferreira de Almeida Atualizada O Livro -Quiché, Centro Occidenta (QUT)- Quiché, Centro Occidental -Română (RO)- Romanian Romanian -Русский (RU)- Russian Synodal Version Slovo Zhizny -Slovenčina (SK)- Nádej pre kazdého -Shqip (SQ)- Albanian Bible -Svenska (SV)- Levande Bibeln Svenska 1917 -Kiswahili (SW)- Swahili New Testament -Tagalog (TL)- Ang Salita ng Diyos -Українська (UK)- Ukrainian Bible -Uspanteco (USP)- Uspanteco -Tiêng Viêt (VI)- 1934 Vietnamese Bible -汉语 (ZH)- Chinese Union Version (Simplified) Chinese Union Version (Traditional)

    "the" is a very common word, and was not included in your search.
    1.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)
    Results from Gospel.com

    June 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Thales

      I agree that sometimes people misquote the Bible, and obviously we should try to get the verses accurate since we are quoting God's word, for every word that God has to say matters. However, there are cases when a verse is misquoted, but still does not contradict the Bible.

      For instance: Though Genesis does not specifically say that Satan tempted Adam and Eve but rather a serpent, the Bible clearly says that the serpent is actually Satan. One verse that shows this is found in Revelation 20 verse 2:

      "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."

      So, the Genesis story about Satan tempting Adam and Eve is absolutely accurate and trustworthy.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Thales, you are wrong. You are doing a Harold Camping and tying two separate verses of the Bible together to prove your incorrect understanding of the original text.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      Thales – since the Jews don't use your books I doubt that they would interrupt it the way you have. It is like adding "Gone with the Wind" to the bible for a back up on Slavery. If you want to know what the Old Testament means as a Jew not your Fundamentalist preacher. They have been studying it for about 2000 years longer than you Christians.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  14. Axel

    it was fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of, not of the Tree of Life! Ironic, this wasn't corrected within an article about the knowledge of correct and phantom biblical verses!

    June 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • JustJosh

      I wonder why no one's ever questioned how Satan – the supposed 'source of evil' – ever managed to sneak into "God's perfect kingdom" in the first place. I mean, if the Garden of Eden was pure, how was 'Snaketan' ever allowed in to begin with?

      I think I'll start tearing apart the inaccuracies of Jack and the Beanstalk after I'm finished with this one.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  15. Robert Hagedorn

    Adam and Eve? Do a search: First Scandal.

    June 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  16. Brian

    Wait, why do Adam and Eve need belly buttons?

    June 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • jesse


      June 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Nacho1

      So they can play with them?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Sean

      It's the transfer point for the 13th rib.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  17. Believer

    Yet another thinly veiled attack on the faithful, only Christians mind you. You don't think 2,000 years ago people would call a whale a big fish? I'm pretty sure they didn't have the "benefit" of Darwin yet in order distinguish an animal that looks very much like a fish from a mammal. In Genesis, it's clear that the serpent represents Satan.

    How about you grow a religious pair and write an article "Actually that's not in the Koran." No, that would be offensive, and might put you in peril to boot.

    June 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Matt

      Given that about a third of Americans believe every word to be LITERALLY TRUE, it's a bit of a big deal to swap "big fish" and "whale". Yes, rational grown-ups can point out that semi-literate nomads 3000 years ago probably wouldn't have known any better – but the literalists aren't rational, and quite frankly aren't grownups either. Not a big deal? It is when they start claiming that climate change can't possibly be real (despite the evidence) since GAWD promised not to flood the Earth...

      June 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Veritas

      Look, the bible, torah, and quran is all the same nonsense. It doesn't really matter, except for their delusional naive followers.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Andrew

      But god wouldn't? Hell, even describing it as a "sea cow" would be far more appropriate, but I guess the book was only supposed to be relevant at the time. Strange how little real world knowledge is included in a book by a supposed creator of the world.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • JustJosh

      Wait, shouldn't "God" have known the difference between a whale and 'big fish'? I mean, if the Bible truly was 'written by God', then the limited knowledge of civilization at the time would be negligible when it came to words from 'God' himself... it just would've been written without question. Your point only proves others' points about how the Bible was clearly written by man. Oh, and people understood the differences between fish and whales long before Darwin came around. He wasn't born until 1809, just f.y.i.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Jr

      Truth! You are so right! I would like to see that myself!

      June 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Believer, you are entirely wrong. Are you reading the King James. It is full of errors. I suggest you read Bart Erhman and discover how all the 100,000+ errors got into the bible. It is not heresy to discover what Jesus really said, and what really happened in the Old Testament. You must understand that you are defending a bible full of errors and mistakes. Wouldn't you want to know what God really wanted us to know, and not some changed version of events that you wrongly claim to be accurate. You speak from a position of tremendous disinformation.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Believer, you are entirely wrong. Are you reading the King James. It is full of errors. I suggest you read Bart Erhman and discover how all the 100,000+ errors got into the bible. It is not heresy to discover what Jesus really said, and what really happened in the Old Testament. You must understand that you are defending a bible full of errors and mistakes. Wouldn't you want to know what God really wanted us to know, and not some changed version of events that you wrongly claim to be accurate. You speak from a position of tremendous disinformation and lack of understanding.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  18. Samson

    This article is idiotic. I did love the holier than thou approach by these "experts"

    June 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • James Quinn

      How so? This is simple is the writer wrong? Are there quotes and sayings said to be from the bible that are indeed NOT from the bible? Why the attack on your part anyway?

      Pagan jim

      June 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • J K Mark

      Samson, nothing is "holier than thou" when seeking the truth in the Bible. I suggest you read Bart Erhamn and discover how what you thought was right isn't, that is if you really want to know what being a Christian is all about, and not something that was made up over time. Don't you want to know what Jesus really said?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  19. MB00

    I find it funny how people perceive religion and science. I do not mean to offend anybody but the idea that you believe in something that can only be seen through your sight is by far foolish. I've grown up around people who are atheists and science-gurus who only believe in Aliens and the Big Bang Theory...I have heard my share of these arguments. Look, I use to not believe in God and I once considered myself a Wiccan but that did absolutely nothing to drive me out of my own hell. So before you go blowing your air about how much more you know than God...You better check yourself and dig deeper than your flesh. I don't mean to cause a stir but frankly I get sick and tired of the same arguments and these excuses. I believe in God and while you continue to call others "delusional" because of that, it is YOU that I am scared for. If anyone is a loon in this, it is those who continue and will believe that "science is God" and while science can have its good attributes, it can also have deadly ones too. Normally, I do not respond or comment on such stories like this since I know what I say can come out negatively and though I may sound "radical" all I am doing is trying to get passed all of the nonsense and get to the Truth because we are so good at covering up what Really lies beneathe the Lies!

    June 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @MB00 You don't sound radical. You sound drearily traditional. Really stuck in the mud and muck of ancient supersti=tion.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Oso

      I have yet to see ANYONE say that "science is GOD".
      You are a pathetic little liar and a troll.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Andrew

      I don't just believe what I can see, I use other sources of information. Smell, touch, taste, hearing, I use multiple senses to try to construct as accurately a model of the universe as I can reasonably support. I may not see air, but I can feel air, I can weigh air, I can capture air, I can even see it in different wavelengths of light, I require multiple senses to construct a picture of what exists. God doesn't qualify for any, at all. I have nothing tangible to go by. I can't "do" anything to show the existence of god, I cannot "see", "measure", "test" in any way... forget just seeing, I'd like SOMETHING before I go believing.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Logic

      What does that have to do with this article? There is no mention of science, or of a challenge to one's belief in God – merely that people often misquote the Bible to support their own beliefs. It's true: the vast majority of Christians think they know so much about the Bible, but a vanishingly small number have actually read it. If you believe in God, well, good for you. It's a personal decision we all must make. But scientific models such as the Big Bang have absolutely nothing to do with belief. Unlike faith, they require EVIDENCE. And since when do "Aliens" have anything to do with the Big Bang Theory? One is science, one most definitely is not. Get your facts straight and stick to the topic at hand.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  20. Mike

    God told Adam he would die if he ate the fruit. The serpent contradicted, saying that eating would make the eater become like God - suggesting immortality. Somebody was lying. Which version are most religions, Christian and non-Christian alike, teaching these days? The condition of the dead is clearly stated in Ecclesiastes 3:20,21. Me? I believe in Game Over. God was right. And you?

    June 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • David Johnson


      No, the serpent did not suggest immortality. The serpent suggested KNOWLEDGE.

      Genesis 3:
      3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

      4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
      5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

      6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

      The serpent did not say THAT tree would give immortality. The serpent only said that eating of the fruit would not kill her.

      "22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

      Eve chose the wrong tree to eat of first.


      June 5, 2011 at 7:17 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.