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. grk006

    Who actually believes that "cleanliness is next to godliness" is actually in the Bible?!

    June 6, 2011 at 5:35 am |
  2. aselfishpoet

    ha ha ha. all kinds of abuses are allowed by the moderators yet a brief discourse on a more logical interpretation of genesis is not! so be it

    June 6, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  3. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    It's not just commonplace for the religious to be ignorant of their scripture. They generally are ignorant, period.

    See a recent study that showed that in a questionnaire about the world's major religions, the group that scored the highest on religious trivia were non-believers.

    Religion is an intellectual disease, and is a major impediment to human progress.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:29 am |
  4. Matt

    Don't listen to the talking snake. If hear a snake talk, go see a shrink.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:28 am |
  5. Lebrun

    The U.S. of America realy is a country where bigotry reigns and rules.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:21 am |
    • Fitty Stim

      Is it any wonder that the Northeast has the most educated – and least religious – inhabitants of the US?

      By definition, religion promotes ignorance since it only "answers" unanswerable questions and is built on blind faith...

      June 6, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  6. Daniel M.

    The whole world is not meant to be "saved". If you want to continue to do good, then continue to do good. If you want to continue to do bad, then continue to do bad, either way your actions will be accounted for in this world or the next.
    Don't get angry at people that don't believe in God, it's supposed to be that way. that's their option, that's what is the point of God not obligating humanity to love Him. If you heard about God and you choose not to believe in God, it doesn't matter, God has plans for you either way

    June 6, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  7. MyTrueView

    This should have never appeared on a News site like CNN
    It looks ridiculous the way some loser’s quoting on a scripture (obviously a person who has never read the Holy Bible) is connected to a story and brought out in this.... It is pretty shameful I must say and if someone does not believe in God it is their right but should never try to hide behind a joke like this and use a respected global news Team like yourselves to publish such an idiotic story with further stupid explanation.... If you do not know about God and the scriptures, Please do NOT mock…. Learn to respect the people who do and their beliefs

    June 6, 2011 at 5:12 am |
  8. Justin

    The original bible was written in a language that, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists. Many translations have been made over the years, and from culture to culture, a lot of the text has changed for lack of any close resemblence for certain words to translate to, which can change their meaning rather drastically.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • Keith

      Unfortunately this is an uninformed statement that many people actually believe. It's funny to me how each of us is just one person in billions of people to walk this earth yet we think we have it figured out. Only God has it all figured out, Let God be true and every man a liar.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Joe

      You're quite wrong. The bible has been preserved to around 98% of its original form over the last 2000 years. It is the best preserved book in the world. There are over 5000 papyri, inscriptions, and scrolls written of the Bible. The Old Testament written in Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament written in Koine Greek. Although the original copy has been lost, these 5000 + papyri, inscriptions, and scrolls, all reflect the same meaning with only a small percentage (2%) discrepancy. Most of these discrepancies does not have to do with the meaning of the text, but rather where the comma is placed, and mispelling a word.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • Joe

      Also, you say the cultures have changed the text as it is passed on from culture to culture, but I do not know where you get your information from. If you look at the text, scribes who copy down the Biblical Texts, are trained professionals. They do not have millions of cheep sheets of paper or spell check to correct their errors. They have expensive papyri, and clay tablets to copy down the texts. Thus these scribes use their trained precision to copy down the biblical text words for word with no changes. After they write the tablets and papyri are looked over by another scribe to see if the inscription is correct. There have been no changes in the bible as it is passed on from culture to culture, because there has been only one culture who has possessed the Old Testament (The Jews, which has been the same culture) and the Christians ( which too have been the same culture).

      June 6, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • Matt

      Bible was written in Hebrew, Arameic, Greek (all in the tongue of the time). You may be imagining some "magical language", sorry, that language never existed, it's a fable.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • Fitty Stim

      What about the so-called missing chapters of the bible? Why do some versions of the bible (Catholic) have books that others (King James) do not? Why do the Jews only use half of the bible?

      Just about everyone knows that Mary wasn't a "virgin" but instead was a "maiden". This was poorly translated and then an entire ridiculous story about Immaculate Conception had to be created in order to justify the poorly translated text.

      Give me a break... there's no tooth fairy, no santa claus and no god. Get over it.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:38 am |
    • Edan

      Uh...actually Hebrew still exists, although not quite the same Hebrew that the bible was written in (I don't consider the "New Testament" as the bible). It may have been modernized, but todays Hebrew is still very similar to the biblical hebrew.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:38 am |
    • Edan

      Fitty Slim-
      No we jews don't use "half of the bible" – we only use the relevant part that was written in hebrew and has no mention of "Jesus" or "Mary" (who if they existed, their names were probably closer to Joshua and Miriam). The original Hebrew Bible was probably compiled about 700 – 500 BCE, and finalized with the Babylonian exile of the jews( read Prof. Israel Finkelstein's – "The Bible Unearthed"). So it was already established as THE bible (as opposed to the "old testament") by the time that the new testament authors came along and gave it their own "twist". They actually did a great job of misinterpreting and purposefully mistranslating the original hebrew in order for it to fit into the new narrative that they were building.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Samantha

      The bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. These languages have been translated into english. In any situation it is difficult to translate that much text with the correct connotations. Why do you think it's so much more moving to read Pablo Nerudo in the actual spanish instead of the translated english? Because different words have different connotations in other cultures and laguages. You can take it as a good or bad thing that our culture is so drasticlly different from the time that the bible was written. So even though the bible was translated pretty accurately at the time, some of the language doesn't have the same annotation or connotation as it used to. I think what Justin was trying to say is that it would be better if people could read it in the original language such as Hebrew or Greek and that few people choose to learn such an old laguage.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  9. Keith

    Matt. 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Rev 20:22 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    Looks like he proved his own point.

    June 6, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • jaime

      I read the the same texts u wrote down, but my bible does not mentioned what you wrote down, it actually mentions a big fish not a whale so my question is which bible are you reading?

      June 6, 2011 at 5:47 am |
  10. Walter Weinzinger

    Wow, over 4500 comments, and the bad feelings and frustration just continue to grow. Did any good come out of all this banter? Were any bridges built, any bad feelings laid aside? Was any faith strengthened, any understanding for others increased? How many total hours were spent in reading and writing 4500 comments and what has come of it all? I wonder who's laughing now? Was there perhaps anything more worthwhile all that time could have been put toward? I'm sure the author doesn't care to hear that, but sometimes I wonder if things might be a bit different if we directed our time and energy in more worthwhile directions, like spending time with the family, calling up an old friend and just talking, just taking a walk and enjoying the outdoors, for some of us, spending time with the scriptures, or simply doing something that makes us and/or others a better person? I really don't think this blog, with all the bad feelings that have accompanied it, has made any of us a better person. And, no, when you're really honest with yourself, we can't call it witnessing. Get out there and talk with your friends and neighbors face to face if you want to do that. Christians, remember, we will also be held accountable at the Last Day for how we behave ourselves while blogging.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:52 am |
    • Nate Rooman

      Nah, Christians are basing their beliefs on the idea that they WON'T be held accountable for anything they've done.
      That's why so many of them break the law. They can consider themselves martyrs to their own beliefs even when they go to prison for committing those crimes based upon their distorted beliefs about consequences, accountability, and decision-making.
      Even the Pope doesn't mind hiding child-molesters from justice. No one wants to be held accountable. That's part of the problem.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Keith

      Easy to point out the flaws in other people, problem is that all of us must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling according to the bible. Ultimately it's up to each person individually to make sure their heart is right before God.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  11. K hundt

    To be more accurate Ditka should have said that all things will pass away except God's Word. Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33 it state that Heaven and Earth will pass away but God's Word will never pass away.Your article is nitpicking in my opinion. You article is correct in stating that the Bible does not say "God helps those who help themselves" or "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". Although the Bible does not directly state "God works in mysterious ways" if you read the Bible you will certainly come to the conclusion that God does work in mysterious way. Also in the New Testament Jesus refers to Satan as "that ancient serpent." Read the Bible and then tell me that wasn't Satan in the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The Holy Trinity isn't mentioned per se in Scripture either but it's an obvious conclusion from reading about the relationship in Scripture that exists among the 3 persons in one God. There is truth by implication. It's like reading a murder mystery in which the butler is the culprit, yet finishing the book and saying that you still don't know who committed the crime because the book never came out and stated THE BUTLER DID IT. Your article is playing a game of semantics and is biased and misleading. I would urge everyone to read the Bible for themselves and not rely on biased, misleading articles like this one to discern the Word of God.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  12. vikram

    who is writing this article and who allows it to come on the website of CNN. Do you know what you are doing. You cannot do this you dont know the consequences, repent,repent now .Dont try to mess with the creator and his word,you will regret and suffer for eternity. I dont know how do you get the courage to confuse people on the word of God.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Sean

      Medicate, medicate now.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  13. Eurologist

    This is really no news. Only a vanishingly small portion of US Americans have actually read the (entire) bible. The vast majority of US American Christians have very little grasp of the spirit of the Second Testament. Finally, the pseudo-religious dogmas of so-called Christianity in the US are still dominated and tainted by an absurdly narrow frontier mentality and the "spiritual leadership" that went along with by people who otherwise (or in real life) would sell snake oil.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  14. Fox Mulder

    "Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money!"

    – George Carlin

    June 6, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Tim

      I guess some people need hard fact evidance/experience like St Thomas. Happy are those who believe without seeing. I hope life gives you wisdom. The church and God are two different things although they are connected, don't judge God based on the bad things the church does.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:06 am |
  15. Michael

    I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism." ~ Albert Einstein

    June 6, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Tim

      I guess some people need hard fact evidance/experience like St Thomas. Happy are those who believe without seeing. I hope life gives you wisdom.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • I_get _it

      So, it seems as if even a skeptic like Thomas can get to be a Saint when given proper evidence, eh?

      We're w-a-i-t-i-n-g .....

      June 6, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • Tim

      Just "Waiting" does not resolve anything. Seek it yourself and you will find, look it yourself and you will see, think about it yourself and you will learn. No one can force anyone to believe anything.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:23 am |
  16. plnsfrd

    When the Bible says to not spare the rod it’s not telling us to literally beat our children. Such an interpretation reflects a serious lack of understanding toward the Scriptures. Parents who beat their children need to be reported to family protection agencies. Any reasonable person knows that Christians don’t beat their children or that they teach such things. The Old Testament is a shadow of things to come, namely, salvation through Jesus Christ. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

    The Old Testament is full of figures, types, and shadows that point to Christ. Anyone who genuinely desires to know God is being called by Him and those who are called by God will begin to search for the truth about Him. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:27-30)

    June 6, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • anon

      Heh, your bible specifically states that a child will not die from a beating from a rod. Sure there are other scriptures that contradict this but proverbs does state it is ok to beat a child with a rod for the childs own sake, which is supposedly salvation. Funny how christians want to take some scriptures word for word and others they do not want to... which is a form of picking and choosing. I wonder if the authors of the bible or at least the awful translators are thrown into the lpit of hell fire when the time comes... hahahah.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:38 am |
  17. Halleluljah

    400 years....Huh.....heard they went old school and put God's name back in it......Ex 6:3, Ps 83:18....After all most prior to 1900's had it.....some since then......Why does it matter? Kinda hard to have a relationship with someone if you don't even know their name.......Try it with someone sometime. Call them by a wrong name see what happens. Most of us know the scenario they get upset or correct us gently lest it continues to be a problem. The Jews had a God and He made Himself distinct from all of the useless gods of gold and silver that were carved by man. And Jesus showed how important the name of his Father was in his model prayer Mt 6:9 Our Father in heaven Hallowed be Your Name. NKJV.

    First thing Jesus prayed about. Why? Because going back to Adam and Eve, Satan was calling God a liar. That he was witholding someting good from them. His Name and reputation was from then to this day slandered. Jesus did all things because of his intense love for his Father, and he was especially concerned with the sanctification His name.
    John 17:26" And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with wich You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." NKJV

    June 6, 2011 at 4:26 am |
  18. Philip D.

    OK, I really don't care for the Bible, but did this person who wrote this article check? Really, Satan did not deceive Eve according to the Bible? Of course we know it's not true – but in the fairy tale in Gen, it does say that. Look at Gen 3:1-8 and 1 Tim. 2:13-15. Both passages say Eve was deceived in the garden and in Gen. it says it was by the snake who was Satan. Of course we know these are all fictional characters as is most of the bible. You should really check before writing an article.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Luis

      I know the Bible's not fiction. Fact check your post.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    • Edan

      More ignorance...Perfect example of what the article is saying. NOWHERE does it mention "Satan" in the story of Adam and Eve. In fact, the entire Christian concept of Satan does not come from the bible. In the original bible (the one written in Hebrew) the role of "the Satan" is markedly different from the ones Christians percieve.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  19. Michael

    I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time." ~ Nietzche

    June 6, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Lawrence

      You cannot praise Him, if u dont know Him. If u really knew Him u will want to praise Him for his goodness. Just imagine how your body works in a mysterious complicated way; the brain, curculatory systems, lympohatic systems.....etc...the Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Secondly He sent His Son Jesus for free salvation and free eternal life. @ Micheal when u discover the LORD and know Him.. the creator of the cosmos... praise will spring forth from your innermost being...... He does not seek your praise...... praise is a natural phenomenon when we stand in awe of somebody who does or did might and good things which we cannot do.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:03 am |
  20. Living4Him

    One of the phantom phrases/verses you mention is “God works in mysterious ways.”

    Isaiah 55v8-9 says...

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the LORD.
    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    I would say that He work through "mysterious" ways considering what the definition of mysterious is..

    mys·te·ri·ous [ mi stree əss ]
    unknown: about whom or which little is known, but who or which excites considerable curiosity
    strange: difficult to understand or explain
    full of mystery: full of or suggesting mystery

    Some people paraphrase when they don't know the specific wording.

    You also state "But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden." But if you would do some research you will find that in Revelation satan and the snake are the same.

    The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
    Revelation 12v9

    He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years
    Revelation 20v2

    Maybe you should learn how to do better research John Blake because this artice is filled with errors & that is not fair or proper journalism.

    God Bless

    June 6, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Yah

      "God bless"
      You don't mean that, obviously. Not after castigating the man.
      Christians love to curse ppl to hell and damn everybody and everything every chance they get.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Dee

      Well explained fact from the bible. I wonder why people won't leave the Bible along and stop criticizing what was written. If anyone got a question or doubt about it, i suggest you study the Bible more and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding to comprehend his words. I aver with you on this, you really proved him for typical wrong journalism.

      God bless.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • FMR

      Sounds mysterious to me too!

      Proverbs 13:24 (New International Version)

      24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
      but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

      Paraphrased to mean, if you don't discipline your children, you spoil them.....cause them to be disobedient.
      Genesis 3
      1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
      2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

      4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

      Sounds like Satan tempting Eve to me. Granted it says serpant and fruit not apple, but what kind of believer would even suggest Satan played no part in the tempting of Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree and who cares what kind of fruit it was. The point is disobedience leads to seperation from God.

      The Bible NEVER says Jonah was swallowed by a whale
      Jonah 1:17 NIV
      17 Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
      Again splitting hairs....what other fish is there (and by fish we mean creature of the sea) that would be large enough to swallow a man?

      And although I can't remember the exact verse, there is a verse that says something like God helps those who helps themselves. I am trying like mad to remember the verse, something about how if you have need of something to work for it. Basically God saying, I don't reward people who sit around lazily waiting for everything to be handed to them on a platter. Work for it, do something. Same type of thing as God helps those who helps themselves.

      Just because something is quoted and is not stated word for word it doesn't mean the message is wrong. Hence our different translations, some literal, word for word translation and others thought for thought.

      The caution here should not be on messing up the quote but on messing with the context. As long you understand what God is communicating that is better then quoting scripture word for word and distorting the meaning.

      The bible does say to test all teaching, to be wary of false teachers and to look to the scripture for truth.
      1st Thessalonians 5:21-22 and 2 Peter.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • Osama

      God bless you all brothers and sesitrs in Christ and non-believers for wanting to read God's Word. However, I can't see how this NIV is available for a free download. Please let us know how this is possible. I can't read the Bible with a guilty conscience. It's impossible. Thanks and God bless.

      September 9, 2012 at 2:56 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.