That’s Not in the Bible!


Common quotes, legends and sayings that are wrong attributed to the Bible.


Apple – The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Come folklore describes the fruit Eve ate as being an apple. However, the Bible makes no mention of the word apple. Some scholars believes this myth could have propagated from a misunderstanding of a Latin pun when translated from the hebrew. The latin word “malum” means both evil and apple. The Bible says:
“The woman ate of the fruit” Genesis 3: The fruit in itself was not evil, the deliberate act of disobedience by Adam and Eve against a direct command of God was where the problem lay.
A fool and his money are soon parted
Thomas Tusser (1573) in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie. While this is a wise saying indeed, it is not in the Bible. The Bible says much about the curses that befall a deliberate fool and the blessings that are in store for those who seek God’s wisdom. The book of Proverbs has hundreds of warnings to those who stubbornly refuse to seek wisdom or heed the advise of the wise.
Beggars can’t be choosers
English proverb, circa mid 1500 The Bible says
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money,come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isa 55:1-2
Charity begins at home
Sometimes attributed to Terence, an ancient Roman writer or Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) The Bible says
“…. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” Matthew 21:31-46
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
” Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.” Advancement of Learning

John Wesley (1703-1791)
“Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness.” Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife

While Levitical law places an emphasis on cleanliness in diet and lifestyle, there is no direct biblical reference to cleanliness being a trait that will make you more godly.
Everything that glitters is not gold
Cited by George Turberville, Shakespeare, Thomas Bacon and a multitude of others. The Bible says:
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Rev 3:17-18
God helps those who help themselves
Algernon Sidney (1623-1683)
“God helps those who help themselves” Discourses On Government

Ben Franklin (1706-1790)
“God helps those who help themselves” Poor Richard’s Almanac

The Bible says:
The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Ps 20:6-8

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall. Isa 25:4

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Rom 5:6

Love conquers All
Vigil – Ancient Roman Latin Poet and Author (70 BC-19 BC)
” omnia vincit amor” Eclogue X, line 69
The Bible says:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

Yes, God is love but God is also many other things: just, righteous, impartial, provider, judge, advocate, father, saviour, etc. Jesus’ death is the ultimate display of God’s awesome love for his creation, taking the penalty that justice demanded.

Money is the root of all evils
Misquoted often by various writers over the ages. The Bible does not proclaim money as evil. However, it does proclaim that the love and lust toward money is where the problem lies. The Bible says:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matt 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:10

The eye is a window to the soul
Most attribute the quote to an old English proverb, some feel the quote could have come from a poet in the Elizabethan age. The Bible says:
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matt 6:22-23
The lion lies down with the lamb
Common misquote of the Bible. The Bible says:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isa 11:6-9

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isa 65:25

The Lord works in mysterious ways
William Cowper (1731-1800)
God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform; he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Hymn:Light Shining out of Darkness
The Bible says:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Eph 1:7-10

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. Isaiah 55:8-9

The Seven Deadly Sins
Gregory the Great (6th Century)
Most modern scholars agree that Gregory modified an earlier list of ‘eight’ deadly sins written by a monk 2 centuries earlier. Throughout the centuries, the wording has changed slightly as our language has changed. Gluttony (over-indulgence of any kind), Lust (fornication), Avarice (greed), Sorrow (despair), Wrath, Acedia (Sloth, laziness, inertia), Envy (jealousy) Vainglory (pride)
The Bible says:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes,feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Prov 6:16-19

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21

The three wise men
A modern nativity scene would not be complete without the three wise men, yet the Bible never refers to their numbers, nor does the Bible comment on the wisdom of the traveling magi who made their way to Bethlehem. The reference to three could have been drawn from the 3 gifts that were presented to Jesus. There is also no reference in scripture that the magi actually arrived on the day of Jesus’ birth. Given Matthew’s account, they probably arrived at Jesus’ side days, if not weeks, after his birth. Their arrival was delayed by a royal summons by King Herod. The Bible says:
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matt 2:9-11
To thine own self be true
A Shakespearean quote, taken out of context from “Hamlet”. This quote was spoken by Polonius to his son Laertes. Polonius, a underhanded, backstabbing, self-serving villain, was schooling his son in the ways of trickery when he speaks this line. He was encouraging his son to put himself first and to make sure his needs and desires were served first, no matter what the consequences were in the lives of those around him. The Bible says:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:3-8



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