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. Chuck E.

    Ignore satan and his demons.

    As you ignore them, you will see them scream and insult you. Thats merely "persecution" as the Bible warns us about.

    No big deal. Just loser demons and a loser satan.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Sean

      Your impotent diatribes amuse me. Thanks.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  2. God help us...

    Those three quotes are acutally in the Bible and are Bible, just not worded exactly in that manner, why would CNN give credit and attention to this lame writers view is a joke. CNN stop letting these "I told you so", nuts write this garbage!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • no kidding...

      Oi. Do you think this article could be any more wrong? What is the deal with publications going bananas trying to discredit, disprove and blaspheme the Bible? A great fish or a whale... come on. The word (if there even is one) for whale in Aramaic or whatever is probably synonymous with great fish! They hadn't classified marine life into mammals and fish etc. yet. Oh and the Eve thing... Lucifer, the fallen angel who became know as Satan is called a serpent throughout the Bible and besides, the serpent talked and convinced her to disobey God. Talk to snakes much? Probably not. Rev. 12:9 says: So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. Actually read the Bible so you won't be deceived!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  3. Chuck E.

    Read God's Holy Word, the Holy Bible.

    Start with Psalms for a beautiful and calming read.

    Then read Proverbs for God's own instructions on how to live your life to its best and most enjoyable ways.

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

      No, instead read if from cover to cover and you'll really see what religion is all about. Man there is nasty stuff in those first 5 books. Evil, war, genocide, fratricide, ince$t, adultery, patricide, r_ape, child mole$tation, slaughter of the entire population (men, women, children and even animals) in city after city, the destruction of almost the entire world … and that’s the good guys.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • no kidding...

      Scott, learn a little bit about Nephilim and you will understand what that genocide was all about. God never sanctioned the murder of other humans. It would go against his commandment not to. Lucifer and his legion of fallen angels had children with women (Gen. 2). This is why the earth was flooded and only Noah and his family were spared because of their righteous (untainted) blood. The enemy was trying to disrupt a bloodline that would the Messiah would be born through. Read about the six-fingered giants and the other ancient genetically engineered humans. Check out renowned author and Bible scholar Chuck Missler out or even Tom Horn if you wanna understand what mainstream, fake Christianity doesn't explain. Gosh, over 2000 years and people still don't have the Bible totally figured out. The Living Word of God indeed.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  4. Derek

    I think it is HILARIOUSLY ironic that an article about getting biblical quotes correct has a GLARING error in it:

    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.

    The tree that Adam and Eve were told not to eat from was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! God intended that they eat from the Tree of Life!!!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Jack Splat

      And the Genesis account simply refers to "fruit". Who decided that it was an apple?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  5. vfl

    How about thousands of angles coming to earth.... having woopiee... with girls and women.... 9 months later they give birth to a race of giants...... God is like, "duh...I made a mistake...need to flood the whole world..... fun fact... after the flood, the giants are again seen in the bible..... God didn't do his job....

    June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  6. Nacho1

    I give up.......................you people are just too well informed...................I should have earned a PHD in religion following your comments and learning from them...................good to know we have so many brilliant theologians here to fence with and to learn from..............I am so gratified.................

    June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Marine

      ), is that we as aetsiths do not require those we help to sit through a lecture, prayer, or other religious ritual first. We do not hold those we help ransom to dogma. We do not threaten them nor tell them lies.Having said this, I cannot deny when people find themselves in difficulty, that a belief in an all powerful deity who loves you and who helps you through a time of difficulty can be of great comfort and can really help one to find solutions to the problems at hand. I myself underwent exactly such a process. My own belief in Jesus was likely the only thing that kept me sane enough to eventually realize it for what it was: A Placebo. Once I began to understand what was happening to me, I was able to view my situation with a much better grip on reality. It is clinging irrationally to those same beliefs that I object to. I now think that having such religious beliefs are not a necessary part of the healing process if one obtains proper counseling when faced with emotional or mental difficulties. At the time I went through this, I had no alternative so I deluded myself into believing it in order to survive long enough to get help. Indeed, I can confidentially say that my religious upbringing was in large part (but not completely) directly responsible for the mental difficulties I had experienced.Again, the community aspect you refer to is being achieved by many other organizations that are not based on submission to religious dogma. In fact, religion breeds intolerance and hatred. The world would indeed be a better place if everyone were to based their morality on themselves, and not on some external God figure. It would indeed be a better place if everyone would base their lives on reality, on real evidence and not on stories carefully crafted to keep us slaves to unquestionable authority.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  7. Roy

    Actually, the spare the rod quote is from the Bible, and is a shortened version of Proverbs 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

    or in the Kings James version: He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Izzisgirl

      Yeah . . . it says that.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • George

      it and bang it hnpeeapd! Even if it hnpeeapd your way InviQtus, the dust, rocks, gasses whatever had to come from somewhere. Even though, I believe all of creation screams out inteligent design..believe it so strongly and passionately that I have comitted my life to the foolishness of speaking, living and demonstrating this gospel and would gladly lay down my life for the sake of Christ, I wasn't there in the beginning of all things and neither was InviQtus. So faith is practiced by both of us InviQtus. I also understand as Neil does that nothing we say will change your mind. We can only speak of things that we have seen and heard. To be fully realized Christianity has to be experienced. I can have a long distance marriage with someone but for that relationship to be fully realized there has to be a connection. With God as my witness I can testify to you experiencially that my life was a -hole before Christ saved me. I can testify to you experiencially that I would be dead right now had it not been for His intervention. With God as my witness, I can say that I have not only seen people healed but I myself have received immediate physical healing, intantanteously by the name of Jesus. I have seen men so drunk that they couldn't hardly walk become instantly sober. And suddenly, I am overwhelmed with a urge to pray for you InviQtus. It must be God because let's face it you're kind of a hard pill to swallow. I'm going do something that you will care nothing about and will most likely fall on deaf ears and I'm ok with that. There is One who listens and hears me because I am his son and he is my Father. I'm going to pray for you InviQtus. I and my family are going to pray. We're going to pray with passion, fervency, and kindness and love. It sure couldn't hurt right? We're going to pray that God reveals Himself to you somehow, and by whatever means necessary. We're going to pray that within one week's time, God sends someone across your path that demonstrates to you the love of Christ. Not just words but a living demonstration. Your blog name will be on the lips of my loving wife, my 17 year old son and my 15 year old daughter. I make this promise before God, that I will storm heaven on your behalf. It's all I can do I pray that Neal and others join me. We're going to pray that He relentlessly pursues you like He did me. God loves you and so I must also.I'm going to leave you with one last thought that I believe God brought to me before I head off to bed.Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Thanks so much Neil!Blessings,Clark

      March 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  8. GeIJo

    They got their biblical knowledge the same place Sarah Palin got her Amerian History. From FAUX NOISE.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Colin

      GelJo – it is absoultely astonishing to me most Christians are. I do not mean that as an insult – I am truly astounded at the childish krap they believe. Look at this very discussion for instance. A day long debate betwee (presumably) grown adults about whether satan (some evil ground fairy) took the form of a talking snake in a non -existent garden.

      I swear, I have never seen anything like it. Where were these people during high school. Did they not go?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Chrisp909

      It's kind of amazing to me how people on the right and the left take every opportunity to bring political hack arguments into any forum no matter how completely irrelevant to the discussion.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  9. Roelof

    Nuance.. the Bible as a whole, I don't think so. Search the Bible code. Next to this the explenation of the Bible or new Testament isn't that fiction either. The poll should be more.. do you agree or disagree with God. Most people who disagree, same for them that there isn't a God. God should be liked.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  10. Chuck E.

    Read the Bible.


    June 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Veritas

      ...or do something useful instead

      June 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Wile

      It's true, there are more cuhechrs in Otis Orchards . . . (there's also the Cowboy church in the other SDA church on the corner of ID road near Carver's . . . but I think I should hold a few close ones for when the weather turns. Hmmm . . . not much on Paul in the Bible Trivia, and shush now about two creation stories . . . you'll frighten the children. Jen

      March 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  11. vfl

    Jesus also smelled the burning flesh of a virgin girl.... read Judges.... Her dad slit her throat.... and burnt her body for an "aroma pleasing to the Lord"..... That's why they did sacrifice.......

    Jesus is bull ..... smelling the flesh of a burning virgin..... RIGHT..... Bible is myth

    June 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      demons are satan are losers.

      But, God does expect his family to understand his written word.

      This article has a point that many people do not know God's Holy Bible as they should. Just the same, Praise Jesus Christ as Lord and God and you will be okay....

      June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Your a loser

      P.H.D don't mean anything you noob, grow up! I know people that would smoke you in a debate that know more Bible then you.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • vfl

      what a dumb god... doesn't expect his believers to understand his written word.... geez..... MYTH.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Sounds more like the Koran to me..............

      June 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Chrisp909

      Jesus didn't do what you are saying.

      Judges is an old testament book and though Jesus is purported to doing many miracles time travel was not one of them.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • vfl

      "jesus is God.... 3 n 1?
      The Alpha an Omega....
      In the beginning was The Word and the Word was......God.

      Cracks me up Christians only think Jesus was in the New Testament..... Father son spirit are one in the same.... Jesus kills.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  12. vfl

    jesus killed 42 children with 2 bears..... killed children.... with bears.... really, jesus?
    2nd Kings....
    Why would jesus kill children....CHILDREN.... with BEARS...... ? christ the killer.... 2nd kings, chapter 2. They were 13 and under..... what a bunch of crap the Bible is..

    June 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Colin

      The only way to believe anything in that ook is to totally ignore the passages yo udont like and reinterperate those you do to suit your views.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and God.

      Praise Jesus Christ.

      Reject satan and his loser demons. They rebelled against God and were thrown out of Heaven. Losers.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • vfl

      Anyone, anyone? Beuler?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Cara-Lynn

      Why do you keep mentioning Jesus? He's not in either account you brought up??? Those accounts deal with Elisha and Jephthah's daughter, who wasn't sacrificed LITERALLY by the way.The Bible says nothing about her throat being slit. Is that perhaps your interpretation? Read it again. You'll see by Judges 11: 40 that she was visited by the daughters of Israel for years after her "sacrifice". What she sacrificed was her right to get married and have children. Instead she served God as a single woman for the remainder of her life. She didn't sacrifice her literal life.....

      June 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Chrisp909

      Your question is moot because, that story happens about a thousand years before Jesus was born. Interesting citation though.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Chrisp909

      Your question is moot because, that story happens about a thousand years before Jesus was born.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom

      As I presume you are not a Christian, it will not do you much good to cherry pick versus that you can rest on to declare God a meany and continue in your sinful ways. Upon further study of the text, the 'youths' in 2 Kings 2 were not little children, but were comparable to older teens or young men, tantamount to "gang bangers' in our day and age. They received justice, which is what everyone not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ will ultimately receive. Those covered, "believers" will receive grace or mercy- God is Creator, you are creation....who is the clay to say to the potter, why have you made me thus? You want your life on your terms and refuse to yield to the One who has given you everything and is the source of life. Repent and trust the Savior- I will pray for you!

      June 5, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Sean

      I have to admit I'd never put "bears" on a list of "good smiting tools."

      June 6, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  13. Chuck E.

    satan and demons were and will be losers for eternity !

    he he he.

    Praise Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and God.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Veritas

      Praise Santa Claus and Tinkerbell!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Scott

      I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints

      June 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  14. Kevin

    The writer makes the same mistake he is writing about, perhaps deliberately, s the teacher did, to see if anyone wll object. I could not read all he comments to see if anyone besides myself obected... so here is mine. The writer wrote:

    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.

    The writer points out that Genesis does not say 'Satan', but the 'serpent'. It also does not refer to an 'apple'. However, and more importantly, the forbiddin fruit was the fruit from The Tree of Knoweldge of Good and Evil, not theTree of Life. The Tree of Life represents God as Life to man. God's desire was that man, exercising his choice in choosing God, would eat God that God may be man's life.

    Also, it is significant that the serpent used and twisted God's words to deceive Eve. Everyone should read the Bible. Everyone should study the Bible, using the Bible as the definition for itself. But most of all, the Bible is the revelation of who God is and when the Bible is handled properly, it is the source of light, life and the enjoyment and realization of God Himself.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Jonette C. Wiles

      Thanks for the good comment, Kevin...I wondered about this article, also...

      June 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Mason

      So if Satan twisted God's words to deceive Eve, then technically it's God's fault for not making Eve very intelligent. What a jerk God can be.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Kay

      That still doesn't change the fact that the Bible does *not* say that the serpent was Satan.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      Love your reply Kevin.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Scott

      I think the interesting part is that god punished Adam and Eve for doing evil BEFORE they had knowledge of good and evil... some loving god eh?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Kevin

      Scott, what are you referring to when you say 'God punished Adam and Eve before they had knowledge of good and evil'?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tom

      Scott, once Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they were aware that they were naked and tried to cover themselves. They hid from God, they knew they did wrong, and when gently confronted by God, Adam blamed Eve (the woman that You gave me), when it was really his fault for not being the covering of protection for his wife that a man is supposed to be. God would have been completely just to clean the slate and start from scratch, but He had a plan of redemption for man that He is working out to this day through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. read the Scripture for true understanding, not to justify yourself so you can continue in your sinful ways- if you can wish away the One you are accountable to, you can sin with abandon...not good! Be blessed-

      June 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Kevin


      Eve's error, and Adam's, was not a question strictly of the mind or intellect. Many highly intelligent people do not make good choices. We read about this all the time in the news. Probably some honest reflection on our own lives will tell us the same thing.

      God gave man a will and therefore a choice. The greatest satisfaction to God is when a man or woman seeks to know Him and in doing so discovers His richness and spontaneously begins to love Him. A living constrained by such a loving relationship far exceeds the "duty" of trying to live by good and evil; right and wrong.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  15. Mr Mark

    Considering that many of the best Bible quotes aren't from the Bible at all, what need is there for that racist, misogynistic, anti-human piece-of-crap "holy" book in the first place?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      You know demons are persecuting you as they chant that you are a "bigot" and a "fool" and all the other demonic insults they hurl at you.

      Like little children who are jealous that Christians are saved, demons know that they made a mistake and rebelled against the one God that cannot be beaten. demons hate you because you worship God. demons want you to suffer with them for eternity because, like little children, they want don't want to suffer for their behaviors without making you suffer too.

      Praise Jesus Christ & you will be saved. Just tolerate the little demons and eventually you will be reigning in heaven with God and the demons will be forever lost in a miserable, never ending world of sorrow.

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

      Hello Mark,

      I'm curious if you can back up these claims w/ specific examples. Personally I believe quite the opposite, but if you could back these up w/ scripture I and I'm sure everyone else would appreciate it. I think what you just said is kind of the point of this story – people quote and misquote and misunderstand the Bible because they've never read it – in this case – you just proved the point.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chuck E.

      You said: "Like little children who are jealous that Christians are saved, demons know that they made a mistake and rebelled against the one God that cannot be beaten."

      Are you simple? Who, more than Satan and his gang, would understand that god was Omniscient and Omnipotent?

      God would have been aware of the rebellion, because He is all knowing. By definition, an Omnipotent being, cannot be defeated. The rebellion would never have happened. I don't care how prideful Satan was / is.

      God, His offspring, and Satan do not exist.


      June 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Bryan

      David – God was not defeated when Satan fell. If you know anything about the Bible – we all probably know the story of revelation and what will become of all of us if we're not saved. It's already written that Jesus comes back and 'wins' as you say.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  16. Chuck E.

    Ditka and American football were a great example of how to focus on the absolutely worthless things of this world.

    If people read the Holy Bible as much as they wasted their lives watching TV, this article would not even be written.

    Worship Jesus Christ. Reject satan and his demons. When you think about it, how stupid were the demons to rebel against God and get themselves rejected for an eternity? demons / satan... stupid !

    June 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I tend to agree with you re Ditka, but not about American football. 😀

      June 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Scott

      that stained glass curtain your hiding behind never lets in the sun

      June 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Sean

      Right now you should focus on taking your medication. Just the blue ones, though. The red ones might be demons.

      June 6, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  17. Craig

    Mr. Blake, You stated in your article that many scholars say that there is no citation in the New Testament stating that the three wise men visited the baby Jesus. Have you not read Matthew, Chapter 2:10-11 ?

    "They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

    June 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, if you have an auxiliary doctrine that there has to be a one to one correspondence between wise men and gifts, you are spot on! Otherwise, ...

      June 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Mark F.

      The point is that the number of Wise Men is never mentioned; apparently three was chosen because of the three gifts.
      As a former Lay Ministry student and having read the Bible all I can say is that MANY Christians have no real idea what is in the Bible or what is expected of them as Christians.

      Nothing necessarily wrong with this, not all of us – including me – can be a Biblical scholar

      This isn't a slam against Christians because the distortions Muslims take from the Koran is far worse.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Kay

      How do you know there weren't a number of wise men and, among themselves, they brought 3 gifts? I don't know about you, but I buy my grandkids more than one present each at Christmas. Does that mean I'm more than one person?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  18. John Richardson

    I don't know ancient Hebrew. So I don't really know. But browsing around various sites suggests that the 'rod' cited in 'spare the rod' is the staff that shepherds use to GUIDE but not to BEAT sheep. Need to look into this further.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      "He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

      June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  19. Chuck E.

    Never praise satan nor his demons by preceeding their name with captial letters. Always use lower case "s" and "d" when writing about satan or demons.

    Always ignore demonic hate chants. They are merely the "persecution" that God's Holy Bible warns us about.

    Worship Jesus Christ.


    June 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Satan! Demon!

      June 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Red Delta

      Satan. Demons.

      Oh yes, I just did that.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • frank

      Hail Lord Satan!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • el_presidente

      I refer to my them as "ah, Mr. Satan, Good Day, Sir!" or "a fine fellow, that Mr.Demon"

      June 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mark F.

      You people are petty azzhats.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Veritas

      Oh Satan, you all powerful Demon, take Chuck E with you to Hell now!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Mark F Hey, if you can't laugh at some credulous idiot who thinks he has taken a meaningful stand by not capitalizing 'Satan' (which is a proper noun, after all) or 'demon', ... Do I REALLY need to explain this?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Kay

      Uh...since you believe capitalizing someone's name is a form of praise, shouldn't you really refer to yourself as chuck e?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • Scott

      You can’t prove God doesn’t exist. You just have to take it on faith

      June 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  20. Chuck E.

    Always ignore demonic hate chants. They are merely the "persecution" that God's Holy Bible warns us about.

    Worship Jesus Christ.


    June 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      The 1st century christians would laugh in your face about your claim of being "persecuted". That is, if they would if they weren't all dead and never coming back. But you disrespect people who put a lot more on the line than you ever have or ever will with your bloated estimation of what you are "enduring". Shame on you.

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

      #1: nibbling and reidang, or whatever analogy I think, but don't know, that you are a practicing atheist. By practicing, I mean you are looking for breaks in the Bible, rather than fixes. I could be wrong, you might be an atheist just because you have no better option for the moment.About nibbling: The atrocities of communism never keep an atheist from being and atheist, because they are philosophically committed to atheism. Just like the Crusades never keep a Christian from being a Christian, because they are philosophically committed to Christianity. Both groups just say, the worst does not define us, judge us by our best .Not understanding how parts of the Bible coalesce into unity, should not keep a person from being a Christian, just like there being no objective basis for morality or meaning shouldn't keep an atheist from having good friendships. Studying the Bible to look at the seeming holes is not nibbling. Yes Christians believe it is historical, yes Christians believe it is actual, but none of us were driven to worship Henry the VIII just because he could be proven from history. Within the history, within the events, there is a metaphysical tug towards admiration for Christ. In that admiration springs up a growing sense of need for a mediator between God and yourself. That's why Scripture is always painting God as wrathful, it's like a cancer diagnosis that looks really bad so that you'll take what seems to be poison to cure it. Christ talks about dying to oneself. Christ talks about giving up personal rights in conflict in order to make peace. Is that really what we want? Only if we realize cancerous sin runs our lives, do we agree to such harsh medicines. But the person of Jesus Christ, his attributes and God-ness make it palatable. That is how one becomes a Christian, and though the philosophical approach might lead one there, the metaphysical aspects of sin, guilty, and the attraction of glory in Christ lead a person to eat from the table.This is highly subjective, prone to controversy, and not the way it happens to everyone, but it is the root of most experience in the faith. And is why I made a distinction between nibbling and examination. You are dealing with the Bible on reality..good. Is it real? But are you dealing with the Bible on a different level too Do I need this? Both are necessary, but one is vital.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158
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.