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. Luis

    Genesis may not say it but the Bible makes sure it ties up loose ends.

    Revelation 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.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jacob

      That was written 3000 years later, after the Christian cult had begun to merge the Jewish fables with their own.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Scott

      Could it be that the person who wrote the last book of the bible tried to tie up a few loose ends the other authors had left hanging?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Jacob

      You actually think he knew he was writing the last book of the Bible at the time?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  2. tina noelle

    The scriptures are very clear on who Jesus Christ is and the scripture William H posted is correct. "For God gave His only begotten son" son being the operational word. The Bible never says that Jesus is God but many, many places, including the Emmanuel Prophecy in the Old Testament, it is made clear that Jesus is the son of God, not God Himself. You cannot win souls unless you speak truth.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jacob

      That prophecy says no such thing and frankly isn't a very accurate description of Jesus.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Travis Arizona

      Johm 12:44-45

      June 5, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Kay

      It seems to me that, if someone is going to claim "the Bible doesn't say that"...or that it does...that it would make sense for them to actually check, rather than simply assuming they truly know their Bible verses. (Kinda proving the point of the article itself.)

      June 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  3. andrew

    proverbs 13:24 says He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (isn't it just a rephrase of 'spare the rod spoil the child'?)

    June 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      June 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      See my post above, dear. You are clueless.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Luis

      It seems like the people going gaga for this article are just anti-religious and believe people who read the Bible are stupid. They have stooped to personal insults and repeatedly proved themselves wrong, like Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • didyouread?

      @ Luis–

      actually, i think it's "anti-religious" (and dumb) to be offended when someone ask you to raise your standards and actually take time to read the Bible and understand its history, i.e. why they are different version, etc. Being intelligent about the Bible is not anti-religion.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  4. Shaili

    This fascination with religion and the bible.... “This, too, shall pass.” LOL

    June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  5. Chuck E.

    satan and his demons know the Holy Bible but they routinely twist the truth.

    You must, as family of Jesus Christ, read God's Holy Bible yourself.

    You must read the Word yourself.

    Otherwise, demons will twist the truth right before your eyes.

    demons love to fight. demons love to argue. demons love to cause trouble. demons cannot do anything else because they are mere slaves to evil.

    Ignore the slaves. Praise Jesus Christ right now and where you sit. Praise Jesus Christ.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Veritas

      It's sadly obvious who is a slave...

      June 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Scott

      Lit the bible speak for itself:
      "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:15-16)
      "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain." (Duteronomy 2:34)

      June 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • GodIsNot

      It's a shame there isn't a hell for your hateful soul to burn in.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Ronn

      My question is. What was the need for God to create Satan? Why did God have to introduce evil into the world. Was it because after he created the universe he was bored and wanted to see some action? Some strife and wars? Is God and Satan sitting up there some place with a great chess board in front of them, playing a game of who gets which soul. Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Why would God do such an evil diabolical thing to his children and then still have the gall to tell us he loves us?

      June 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Monica

    Well, the reason why people say that Satan tempted Eve was because he used the serpent as a mouthpiece to deceive Eve. That is why in the Bible Satan is called the original serpent. (Revelation 12:9) But I thought the author of the article was going to mention the fact that it wasn't an apple that Eve ate, the Bible says fruit. The bible doesn't specify what type of fruit was eaten. (Genesis 3:3-6) But people do seem to slaughter Bible accounts, especially when it comes to the birth of Jesus or the "Christmas Story". When the Magi ( Greek meaning is astrologers not kings, not even numbered as three) came to visit Jesus he was in a house. It was the shepherds who visited Jesus in the manger. (Luke 2:15-20; Matthew 2: 7-12) Notice verse 11 says the Magi went into the house. I think its just a matter of reading the Bible more carefully and paying attention to details.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • didyouread?

      Interesting point. I'm assuming that the apple falls in one of those things that came to be as the result of a painting. In ancient times, when people couldn't read, paintings were used as a mechanism to spread the gospel to the masses I guess someone decided to use an apple to demostrate the concept of a "fruit", and the story changed from "a fruit" to an apple. Proving, in my opinion, the author's point.

      July 28, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  7. Nash


    If ppl would just realize that the Bible isn't a religious book.......

    Narrow is the door that leads to life anyway......

    June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  8. Deep North

    The very first thing man and woman learned to do on their own was to be disobedient. God had given them all the provisions they would ever need, but instead they chose to "do it their way" and we have gone stray ever since. God inspired men to place the relationship and commands they received into words and books and we were presented with the Bible. It contains the Beginning and the End, according to how God sees fit. To understand the entirety of the Word of God takes a lifetime plus, so we as human who chose to believe take time to study, that is what we are called to do if we believe. If you don't believe, this Word of God has absolutely no value to your life. It was not written for unbelievers. The first step is to believe . TO THE UNBELIEVER: IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR LIFE AFTER TRYING GOD, YOU CAN GO BACK, BUT TRY HIS WAS AND SEE IF IT FAILS YOU BEFORE YOU JUST WRITE IT OFF.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Scott

      God punished Adam and Eve for doing evil before they had knowledge of good and evil...... some kind of loving god eh?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Deep North

      No Scott, They had the Knowledge of Good and Evil when they took the bite of the fruit. Actually they had the knowledge when the disobeyed God. Get it right.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Chris

      How did they have the knowledge before they ate from the tree of knowledge..

      June 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Edlaine

      First off, be assured that it's not about nielefgs . Love is not a feeling we always possess or are actually aware of, but we know we love someone or something because of the relationship we have.You are assured that Jesus loves you very much. To me, the Holy Spirit is with me, not just in me. He guides and even provides answers to things that I've failed to acknowledge over time and when you discover that your conscience is really the Holy Spirit talking to you, you will follow His cue more and more and your life will fully reflect that righteous relationship. May the Lord, mighty God, bless you and keep you and may He guide you into all wisdom for His name's sake. Amen!

      April 1, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  9. Chuck E.

    Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me from being a slave to satan.

    Thank you.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      I don't know this guy.

      June 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  10. ML

    Two of the Bibles' most comforting stories:


    June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  11. Dale

    My understanding from my early Christian history (now 30 some odd years ago!) is that an early Christian theologian responded to Emperial policy by saying : "This too shall pass". Athenasius?

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

      Someone has explained the history of the phrase on Wikipedia. I don't know if it's accurate or not, but it does make sense

      June 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  12. Chuck E.

    Praise Jesus Christ.

    Then, look at the demons all around you in this world and laugh at their lame attempts to continue their lies.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • really?

      you are like the crazy guy from FRAILTY!!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Walter Weinzinger

      @Chuck E. – I don't remember Christ ever laughing at demons and sinners "in their lame attempts to continue their lives." It's exactly that kind of holier than thou animosity that turns people away from Christianity. And it's one of the most un-Christian things you can do. How many people won't believe the words of other Christians because of the poor example you're setting? You're supposed to be a light to the world!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  13. Luis

    So then who is the serpent? It's Satan. Sure it doesn't say his name but it's clear who it is.

    What's more dangerous is peoples' interpretations of the Bible to support eugenics, liberation theology, racism, and other "progressive" policies.

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

      How's it clear? The snake was the one telling the truth.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • didyouread?


      please shut up. You have no idea what you are talking. If you are indeed a Latino, as you name implies, you should know that progressives have been the one fighting to end racism and discrimination in this country. Please do not mix/confuse your narrow political views with your religion. It's clear that you are wrong in both!

      Althought at times i disagree with progresives, I thank them for having the courage to fight the good, jesus-like causes: protecting the poor, the elderly, the needy, and so on. When was the last time you did so?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  14. Preacher

    Don't talk about hell without tears in your eyes.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jacob

      When Jesus spoke of the fires of hell, the proper translation is the "fire of Gehenna". Gehenna was a place outside of Jerusalem where children were burned as sacrifices. It's nothing more than a metaphor.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • really?

      it is sad to think people are actually scared of these fairy tales.....

      June 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  15. L1

    Where do you come up with the idea that Satan didn't tempt Eve in the garden of Eden? Please get back to me. If you are posting something with such a following, you can no doubt explain your view.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Jacob

      From Genesis. No mention of satan, just s talking snake.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Rob

      Satan didn't appear in the bible until the new testement... you see the Jews wrote the old testement, and they don't believe in Satan, so why would they write about him?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  16. frank

    Maybe its a bad translation and they weren't really bears?
    Maybe the kids were only mauled by opossums (or maybe a trout?) and their injuries were relatively minor?
    That's what I think happened!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Scott

      NO, NO, NO! not bears, beers. god sent the 2 children 42 beers and the children were sorely grieved (the next morning)

      June 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  17. JD SMITH


    June 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      This earth will soon pass away along with all that is in it.

      Followers of our Lord Jesus Christ will spend the rest of eternity in joy and peace.

      The loser demons and those foolish enough to reject God will suffer for eternity.

      God is love and peace and trust and guidance and predictability and truth.

      Praise Jesus now. Praise Jesus where you sit. Praise Jesus Christ as your ONLY God and ask him into your life right now from your computer chair. God will instantly fill your with his spirit and you will then move forward in your life aware of the truth and authority and power of God while also seeing those loser demons all around you spewing their lies and their hate.
      But you will understand... demons are lost and cannot help themselves. They are slaves to evil.

      Accept Jesus Christ right now & you will understand the difference between God and the loser demons.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Scott

      Chuck E.: if there is a god, Christians will get to spend all of eternity in one long, boring church service.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Chris

      Chuck, I am sorry but peaceful god do not kill kids.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  18. Cara-Lynn

    Chris, I appreciate your viewpoint. But could the "contradictions" you see just be a matter of not understanding a passage clearly? For example, what you call a contradiction is really not a contradiction at all. Yes, Jesus teaches us to love. The expression "hate" in the Bible can at times refer to loving less. Not a hatred in the sense as you may be thinking. Would it make sense for the one telling us to love our enemies to also tell us to hate our families? No, he was simply saying that those following him would need to love him above all others. By loving and following him, we will naturally show love and affection for our families.

    Again, there are no contradictions. It just takes humility to acknowledge that at times there are things we may not understand. Rather than assuming there is no answer, just because we haven't found it, why not ask someone who may be able to help? Or do some research? Comparing other Bible texts can often clear up any confusion.

    As far as nothing linking Satan to the Genesis account, as I stated before, a study of the Bible makes it clear who that serpent was. I'm not talking about a theory or speculation. I could link together many texts to explain it, but if you really want to find the truth, you'll have to search for yourself. Why not start with Genesis 3:15? Understanding that prophecy may clear up the matter.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Jacob

      These aren't contradictions?

      2 Samuel 24:1
      Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."

      Same event described again:
      1 Chronicles 21:1
      Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

      If this isn't a contradiction then Satan and God must be one in the same.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey CL, try these.

      Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?
      (a) God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)
      (b) Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)
      In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?
      (a) Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
      (b) One million, one hundred thousand (IChronicles 21:5)
      How many fighting men were found in Judah?
      (a) Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
      (b) Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)
      God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?
      (a) Seven (2 Samuel 24:13)
      (b) Three (I Chronicles 21:12)
      How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
      (a) Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26)
      (b) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)
      How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?
      (a) Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)
      (b) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)
      How long did he rule over Jerusalem?
      (a) Three months (2 Kings 24:8)
      (b) Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)
      The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?
      (a) Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8)
      (b) Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)
      When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?
      (a) After (2 Samuel 5 and 6)
      (b) Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)
      How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?
      (a) Two (Genesis 6:19, 20)
      (b) Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)
      When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?
      (a) One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4)
      (b) Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)
      How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?
      (a) Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26)
      (b) Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)
      In what year of King Asa's reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?
      (a) Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 – 16:8)
      (b) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)
      How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?
      (a) Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2)
      (b) Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)
      Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?
      (a) Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26)
      (b) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)
      Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of Pahrath-Moab?
      (a) Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6)
      (b) Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)
      How many were the children of Zattu?
      (a) Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8)
      (b) Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)
      How many were the children of Azgad?
      (a) One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12)
      (b) Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)
      How many were the children of Adin?
      (a) Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15)
      (b) Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)
      How many were the children of Hashum?
      (a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19)
      (b) Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)
      How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?
      (a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28)
      (b) One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)
      Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:
      (a) 29,818 (Ezra)
      (b) 31,089 (Nehemiah)
      How many singers accompanied the assembly?
      (a) Two hundred (Ezra 2:65)
      (b) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)

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

      There are no contradictions in the bible!
      If you read it like you want it to be instead of like it is written and you spend endless time wrestling your way out of the tight corners

      June 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Kris Lounsbury

      Jacob–God is in control of every event and every movement of even every sub-atomic particle (even though we can't plot the location/movement of these particles–God knows where they're at). God uses even Satan and other wicked people and nations (Babylon is just one example) to do His bidding, which sometimes is judgment and destruction. Even a cursory reading of the scriptures would convince you of this. This is no contradiction.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  19. jenna catao

    People claim to be experts in religion when religion is all bull and false and made-up. mind boggling. They are claiming to authenticate something which is all made up and has been twisted for the convenience and purpose of few powerful people over the centuries.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      I am soooooooooooooooooo glad that I am saved in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ for all the blessings you have gifted me today.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      SInce when is "gifted" a verb?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  20. Chuck E.

    Hateful messages regarding Christians are always a delight to see because demons can't do anything but spew hate and lies.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Oso

      I love you Chuck for the graceful way you drool onto your keyboard.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • drossmaster2

      Amazing...you have no facts to back up your ideas...typical religious belief....God does not reward the blind faith her rewards those who question everything to find truth...blind faith is easy, work isnt.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Scott

      Hi Chuck. I don't send hateful messages, I just quote the bible back to you
      "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:15-16)
      "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain." (Duteronomy 2:34)

      June 5, 2011 at 9:03 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.