Your Take: Comments on misquoting the Bible
June 6th, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Your Take: Comments on misquoting the Bible

Our Sunday post about oft-quoted biblical lines that don't actually appear in the Bible struck a chord, with 5,000 comments so far.

Lots of atheists and critics of religion used the piece to ridicule believers, taking several different lines of attack. Here are a two:

Because most people would prefer to be ignorant rather than think for themselves. That is what the whole of organized religion is based on, especially Christianity and Catholicism. Organized religion has never done anything good for humanity in history.

Atheism is Great!
Actually, the bible is nothing more than a collection of stories and moralities written by human beings thousands of years ago who's max age was maybe 30, who thought the Earth was flat, and who did not have access to scientific or medical science/information. It's not from "god" people, god doesn't exist either. Whatever helps you get through your life I guess. I personally don't need that crutch. Have a nice day.

There was also more nuanced criticism of organized religion, with some commenters arguing that the prevalence of biblical misquotes suggested that religious folk have been overly dependent on religious authorities for a long time:

The point to remember here is that just up until very recently, the masses believed whatever their clergy told them. They either didn't have the skills to read (for whatever reason), or simply didn't believe they should read the bible themselves.

I once asked an elderly Catholic where her bible was ... (I love old books and thought her bible would be a real treat to look at ... ) She was horrified that I thought she'd even HAVE one ... Her thought, at the age of 90, was that Catholics are not supposed to read the bible on their own. It was their job to believe what the Father told them, and it was the Father's job to know the bible.

So many times it's either just plain ignorance, or the situation that they come from (IE: can't read, etc) that produces these types of situations. Thankfully we're coming out of those situations, if only little by little.

All the criticism of religion brought out plenty of faithful. One responded to Amanda, the religion critic whose comment is above:

Really, Amanda? I would encourage you to try to prove your statement about no good ever coming from organized religion. I can think of a few well-known and recent organized religionists who have done quite a bit of good – Mother Theresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandhi. I can also think of a few anti-religious people who have done a lot of bad – Stalin, Mao, Hitler. "Never" is a big word.

Others believers lobbed ad hominem  attacks on atheists:

Bottom line
Atheists/Agnostics have nothing of substance to do on weekends. Also since they are empty when it comes to faith or beliefs they have to make the attempt to urinate on ones who do so they can feel full and superior.

A fair number of commenters, meanwhile, criticized our piece, arguing that some misquoted scriptural lines have biblical roots:

Many of these phrases many not be in the bible verbatim, but their intent is very much contained in it, specifically "Spare the rod spoil the child". This phrase is a direct distillation of Prov 13:24 & 23:13-14 "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).

I find it disingenuously nit-picky to state that a faithful paraphrase of a verse is "not" in the bible.

I find it very disturbing that the "CHAIR" of a "SCHOOL OF RELIGION" would go record as say that the "the devil was not in eden". Kevin Dunn is right in saying that the word "devil or satan" was not mention in Genesis but if Mr. Dunn is "BIBLICAL SCHOLAR" then he should be familiar with the "BOOK OF REVELATIONS" which equates "THE SERPENT, DEVIL & SATAN" as one and the same: Revelations 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:". And you wonder where people get the wrong impression about things that are "IN" the Bible. Mr. Blake, apparently you did not know your Bible well enough to call Mr Dun on that one.

And, as always, there were plenty of attempts at humor, including this on Adam and Eve eating that apple:

If he didn't want man and woman to eat it, he should have made it broccoli or spinach.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Comments

soundoff (1,118 Responses)
  1. Dennis

    The Bible is the only Truth. Other religions are man made and are of little to no value.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • hahaha

      yes yes Justina/Frederica/fairgarden every one stinks

      June 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  2. Dennis

    People: without God there would be no morality. It would be War and survival of the fittest. The weak woul die and there would be no Peace.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Eric G

      Can you provide evidence that supports your claims?

      June 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Dennis

    People that believe in the theory of Evolution. First its creator said before he died that he was wrong and that God created man. Second use common sense their is no science to support this theory, quite the contrary science disproves evolution in countless ways. First the only thing man has up on many Animals is that God made us smarter upright and thumbs physically and gave us a soul. How do you explain that most Anamils are physicallly superior to humans with so called evolution. Animals, even dogs , cats, etc have better hearing than humans, better sight, they are faster and stronger than humans, even small monkeys are much stronger than humans. animals typically have less disease as well, so where is mans so called evolution? Man should be faster, stronger, have better sight, and hearing than Animals if evolution existed, Better health, etc. We don't even out live several animals. For Example: a Sea Turtle lives for over a hundred years plus.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • i wonder


      1. You do not understand evolution - not that anyone really knows *all* about it (yet) - but you are way off.

      2. Evolution is not finished. Do you have any concept of MILLIONS of years?

      June 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Ummmm, get your facts straight and read it again, it, The Holy Bible says Eve said theSerpent told (Beguiled) Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. So when you find and show me a talking snake then I will believe it was not Satan in the Garden or one of his Demons. Just a talking snake that lost its legs and feet, LOL at Ummmm

    June 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • hahaha

      yes because talking snakes, woman created from a rib and man from clay makes so much sense,

      June 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Islam is NOT of God.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • hahaha

      because there god is called Allah not Islam man your stupid

      June 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Sean

      Dennis = troll

      June 13, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  6. Dennis

    The Koran is Satans Bible. Get a Clue.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • hahaha

      Satan never wrote a bible, why would an all knowing god reward someone who tried to overthrow him with his own domain to write bibles and mess with us? some people are just idiots

      June 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  7. Dennis

    Amanda and others I feel sorry for you and your closed minds. With out God you would not exist. Without Christ there would be no hope for sinners like yourselves. Without followers of Christ there would be no America as we know it. No God given rights and no blogs from idiots like you. Without Christ Europe would still be constant fighting with no Peace anywhere. Without Christ salvation may be lost. Science has never disproved the Bible, However, science does show the Bible to be acurate as time and knowledge progress.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • hahaha


      With out God you would not exist? God knows all yet were condemn before were born he already knows who accepts and who doesn't and who goes to hell and who doesn't yet still creates us to go to hell that's not something an all good god does you troll get your facts strait science can't disprove something that doesn't exist

      June 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  8. Dennis

    The fool Steve on CNN is clearly ignorant of the Bible and its words and teaching from God. He said the bible does not say jonas/Jonah was in a Whales belly but this is also incorrect. True that in the Old Testament the book of jonah says Great Fish or Fish but read further into Matthew in the new Testament and WOW reading does help education, low and behold Gods only Son Jesus said himself that Jonas was in the Whale's belly for three days and three nights. Matthew 12 Verse 40. (King James )
    People, especially so called Bible professors need to read on and study more. This is why Pastors usually know more about the Bible.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • hahaha

      whales can't swallow anything larger then a gr-ape fruit even if they could the throat muscles would crush a person then there is digestive acids if you didn't drown first there is no air in the stomach and any fish that would swallow a person would die from digestive acids if they didn't drown again no air in there, yup literal story what a troll

      June 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  9. Elizabeth Forsyth

    In matthew 12:40 Jesus named the creature that swallowed Jonah a WHALE. Can anyone dispute Jesus!!!!??

    June 12, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Dennis

      Correct Elizabeth, I am glad I am not the only one here that reads the Bible.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Muneef

      In Arabic Quran as well it is mentioned as whale but to my surprise that English translation says Fish or Big fish...!!

      June 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Equality of Human beings ;

    Just wonder if the wicked corruptors to life on Earth and Universe are as Equal to those Good ones who work towards a Clearner/Greener environment and improving human lives?

    Could those who are as of Hitler in barbarism are Equal to say "Mother Tereza" or any one similar to her good doings to humanity ?? Or can we say Osama was as good in handling issues as was Ghandi ?? Obvious that people are not equal since they are equal only according their deeds if "Negative or Positive"....

    Few example verses about Good & Bad being unequal...surely same you will find written in all Heavenly and even in non Heavenly Books Of World Religions, surely you will even see it in the "Satanic Faith of Atheists" that Good & Bad Deeds or Persons are not Equal in rights...! 
    Could it be right that the Hands who Build and Pat With Mercy to those who's hands destruct and Kills the innocence of mankind....?! 
    I do not believe how some people think or talk? How will peace find a way , how will love replace hatred if the viruses were given rights on this planet ?? Does that sound Logical to you that "Good & Bad" have equal rights ? If it does then guess terrorists have rights that protects them and therefore they have to be listened to rather than flaming wars on them,blowing them up with the human shields they had them selves surrounded with ??

    [4:95] Not equal are the sedentary among the believers who are not handicapped, and those who strive in the cause of GOD with their money and their lives. GOD exalts the strivers with their money and their lives above the sedentary. For both, GOD promises salvation, but GOD exalts the strivers over the sedentary with a great recompense.

    [5:100] Proclaim: "The bad and the good are not the same, even if the abundance of the bad may impress you. You shall reverence GOD, (even if you are in the minority) O you who possess intelligence, that you may succeed."

    [57:10] Why do you not spend in the cause of GOD, when GOD possesses all wealth in the heavens and the earth?
    Distinguished from the rest are those among you who spend before the victory and strive. They attain a greater rank than those who spend after the victory and strive. For each, GOD promises salvation. GOD is Cognizant of everything you do.

    [59:18] O you who believe, you shall reverence GOD, and let every soul examine what it has sent ahead for tomorrow. You shall reverence GOD; GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

    [59:19] Do not be like those who forgot GOD, so He made them forget themselves. These are the wicked.

    [59:20] Not equal are the dwellers of the Hellfire and the dwellers of Paradise; the dwellers of Paradise are the winners.

    June 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  11. Muneef

    Today 10 June 2011 heard over the news about the little baby cow that had been genetically modified to produce milk similar to Human Female milk...! Again they said that this experiment is already effective in China with large number of cows and already ready for export as dried powder milk...!

    Now let us see;
    Old cows used to produce cows milk.
    New cows is to produce Human Female milk..

    This in religion is not justified since interfering and the changing of nature is considered as corruption on earth....! Some will say this is backward and give credit to science for such experiment to go on wide scale...but on the day they find how wrong they were when they experience that such thing had made some genetic interference with the generation that will consume such milks then only when too late they admit to mistake but still remain disbelievers..

    Feeding cows which God created to feed on grass and forage, that man has made it to become to feed on feeds prepared from animals/birds wastes and blood meals has created what became to be known as "Cows Madness Disease". Such nature breaking moves unapproved religiously or logically has created losses for effected farmers herds besides having effected all those consumed it's products for long to have similar effects....no wonder that even politicians and holy men got effected and do mad things to the innocence of mankind....

    Now by adopting this genetical mutilation today to a Cow to produce Human Female Milk....beside already read about introducing female pigs for the same purpose... Soon seems will see human complexions maybe changing to look differently or God knows what could happen...!

    Still the Old and the New issues goes around forging even Animal genetics to become some thing else than it's natural creation was for....!
    Just isn't that have some how similarity to "Old Testament & New Testament" ? Do you think it had as well faced in the past some genetic mutilations that has caused it to produce extreme ignorance among it's followers to follow their Popes or Pastors or Rubies blindly with out second thought considering them as next to God on earth ?!!

    Sorry you are not alone in that since maybe as well Islamic religion had the same through a big bunch of Hadith's that might never could the Quran have mentioned nor the Prophet did say...but made up and inserted by the Israelites and the pagans of Mecca for a purpose God knows what but surely it did produce extreme ignorance among those who follow Hadith imams blindly with out second thought considering them as next to God on earth ?!!

    Hope am not disturbing any one with my comment since they were just a passing thoughts that I thought to sure with you. Peace2All.

    June 11, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  12. bushgirl

    This is a tale as old as man kind, Yes I think that many people intepret the bible for their own means, be it for political gain or just to take your money, but..... is a man not a man why do we put them on a pedastal??????? why do we look upto the weido's in this world, I will tell you why, cause it is easier for someone to make a desicion for you instead of using your own initiative and easiet to blame someone when it goes wrong, There is a God and he is almighy, did he not give satan the earth to run as he sees fit??? well we live in sin everyday, and as long as your own live and that of your loved ones are in the will that God has for us nothing else should matter. Praise him, and thank him for his mercy and grace...............Amen

    June 11, 2011 at 5:23 am |
  13. Patrick

    To whomever wrote the Atheism is Great comment quoted in this article as well as CNN for there total lack of proper editorial skills.

    The Hebrew people did not believe the world was flat the Old Testament clearly states that the world is round (Isaiah 40:22) for someone so critical of Christians not knowing what is in the Bible you yourself are quite ignorant of it's message as well. Kind of hypocritical to do that, IMHO.

    Also many of the writers of the Old and New Testament were highly educated and scientific men, in many cases they were the most intelligent men of there day (an in my opinion still more intelligent than the majority of the so called "scientists" today) for example the Apostle Luke was a physician, the Apostle Paul was a Philosopher and Theologian, King Solomon was known around the world for his wisdom and knowledge, Kings, Queens, governors, and ordinary people would travel thousands of miles by foot or horse to seek his wisdom on complicated issues.

    Your ignorance isn't surprising though, only a very ignorant person can attack another persons faith with no problems at all. I may disagree with your philosophy but I am smart enough and humble enough to know that my beliefs are no better than anyone else. A lesson you could profit greatly from learning.

    God Bless

    June 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Sean

      Not everyone is fooled by your phony piety.

      June 10, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  14. YANKO


    June 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  15. Shandooga

    How ironic that an article about misquoting the Bible should misquote the Bible. The Bible never said that the forbidden fruit was an "apple", just a "fruit". Furthermore, what translation was used for this? It's quite poor. The word "hell" should not have been used in the proverbs scripture. Hell, as we know it, is not a Bible concept. The Jews didn't believe in it (and still don't) and Proverbs was one of the Hebrew books. Good start but reversing the damage from 2 millenniums of disinformation, is going to be a major project.

    June 9, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  16. Thawts

    Jesus said, "Give to the poor" and "Let them that have an ear, hear"
    But, no doubt, many posters hear, "I am poor and THEY should give (more) to ME!"
    They may hear, "I tolerate no one lying to me!" when Jesus/God says, "Do not lie".
    They may hear, "I tolerate no one stealing from me!" when Jesus/God says, "Do not steal".
    They may hear, "If I have no coat (lost it, sold it for dope, etc.)I should steal one from one who has two or more coats or have a big bully, like the govt steal it for me and give it to me" when John the Baptist says, "If you have two coats and you see one who has none, give them one".
    They may hear, "Help immoral women with children born out of wedlock" when James says, "Help older widows and orphans".

    June 9, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  17. John

    The person who wrote Atheism is Great! It so happens that in the Bible the book of Isaiah chapter 40 we are told the earth is round. This also how Christopher Columbus kinew the earth was not flat. Columbus loved the Book of Isaiah.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Shandooga

      “. . .There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell,” (Isaiah 40:22)

      Also, "stretching out the heavens" is pretty interesting–considering that the redshift hadn't been observed until 1920 and even when Einstein's math suggested that the stars shoud, in fact, be moving, he was unable to believe it and invented the "cosmological constant" to counter the effect. So revealing, this, because it shows that even science sees what it wants to see. Then there's the matter of this:

      “. . .By faith we perceive that the systems of things were put in order by God’s word, so that what is beheld has come to be out of things that do not appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

      Seems like the stone-age writer is referring to atoms, doesn't it?

      June 9, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • FS

      1. People in Columbus' time believed the world to be round. They just didn't believe that their ships were sufficiently well constructed to travel out to sea. Up till that time, mariners kept relatively close to land for just that reason.

      2. Circles are flat. Spheres are round.

      3. The Israelites thought of the heavens as having the same structure as the Tent of Meeting used in Moses' time. When they looked on heaven, they saw the roof of the Heavenly Tabernacle.

      June 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  18. Marie Kidman


    June 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  19. Muneef

    [wp] Hadith on obedience to the parents & intention.

    'Abdullah ibn 'Umar related that Rasulullah (SAW) said:
    Obey your parents and treat them kindly, for if you do so then your own children will be obedient and kind to you.

    It is narrated by Anas that Rasulullah (SAW) said:
    If anyone intends to seek blessings of the Hereafter, Allah gives contentment to his heart, takes care of his affairs and the world comes to him submissively. But if someone intends to seek the pleasures of this world, Allah puts poverty before him and disorders his affairs, yet only so much of worldly things as have already been ordained for him come to him.
    (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi)

    A relevant Ayat related to the above hadith is worthy to mention in this regard: 

    Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire, and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do. [Surah Al-Hud, Ayat: 15-16]

    June 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Gabriel never existed!!!!!! No Gabriel, no communiques from heaven and therefore Islam has no foundation and no validity as a religion!!!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      Muneef, Asalaamu aleikum.

      Bismilllah, ir rahman, ir rahim!!!

      I hate to say this too you, but in my opinion the Hadith is the same human hijacking of the Holy Quran that is rampant throughout the Bible. Historically, Constantine and the Nicea Council are pretty much responsible for the "Bible" revision that is in circulation today. He, along with others felt it needed some "help" since God must have forgotten something along the way. I don't see where 300 years after Mohammed (SAW) it was necessary to say that not only Allah, but that Mohammend got it wrong and it needed to be added to with the most rediculous of trivialties? Islam is meant to be a "simple" religion, free of sectionalism (yeah, didn't seem to follow that rule very well?) even states this in the Holy Quran but I guess we (humanity) need the Hadith and it's 50,000+ rules and regulations in which to follow the word of Allah? With so much man made intervention that has riddled all of the three major organized religions, who knows what the truth really is? In my opinion, just like with the Bible and Christianity, Islam has just become another case of too many hands in the pot ruining the kabsa my friend.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      Hey Reality,

      Not sure whether you are stating that Gabriel doesn't exist, or if you are trying to mock reference that Jibril does not exist in Islam? One think I know for sure, "Reality Bites!" ;-P

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

      Free T.
      Wa allikum Alsalam.
      Am not sure what you were trying to say which I hope not to misunderstand....but as Hadith there are firm Hadiths which no doubt in them but others are not obligatory but told to pick out of them what suites each com-m-unity....
      Kabssa is a rice&meat dish prepared by Saudis and not Yemenis...we have a different name for such dish we call it (Zurbian).... Any way brother am not much in Hadith but read the same and sounded nice far from wrong so have quoted it here so hope was that not wrong if you meant by your comment?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Free T.
      Are you saying that you are lost and do not know which is the real religion ?? Guess you are not Arabic or can not read Arabic and therefore can not read or understand the Quran in Arabic? Well if am right then am not surprised why you are lost in between...
      Hold on toreading and understanding Quran only leave Hadith behind because if you became to know Quran well then only you can tell which Hadith is correct and which is not, otherwise if you don't then you will become a tool in the hands of Imams like many had fallen... Not sure but am hearing that most Kabssa is prepared now a days in Pakistan and not in Saudi or maybe exported to them by Saudis but Pakistanis added more hot stuff and S-p-ices?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  20. Ashley

    I don't understand why this article says the bible does not say Eve tempted Adam? The Bible doesn't use the exact word " tempted" but it states she gave him the fruit in Genesis 3:6 "[...] She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."

    June 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Ummmm

      The article doesn't say anything about Eve tempting Adam. It says that it is not correct to quote Genesis that Satan tempted Eve, since Genesis does not talk about Satan, just a snake. The interpretation of the snake as Satan is in books written many hundreds of years later.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
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.