Darth Vader photo by Steven Miller on Flickr CC BY-2.0

Sometimes we can get a bit fuzzy about what the Scriptures say, can’t we? We hear a commonly used phrase and think it sounds a bit “Bible-ish,” so we assume it’s in God’s Word. But we may be mistaken.

Let’s try a little quiz. Which of these sayings is in the Bible?

  1. “God helps those who help themselves.”
  2. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
  3. “Just follow your heart and believe, and you can do anything.”

Actually, NONE of them can be found in the Scriptures. The first was popularized by Ben Franklin, the second by John Wesley, and the third is from a Disney song!

Let’s try again. How about this one:

  1. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Who said that? It must have been Jesus, right? That totally sounds like something He would say, probably to His disciples.

Actually, that immortal phrase was uttered by Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movie!

We can really get thrown off track when we don’t know Scripture for ourselves. When we mistakenly think certain phrases are in the Bible, we can even believe things that are contrary to what God says.

For instance, in times of difficulty many people cling to the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” But is that actually in the Bible?

No, it isn’t. The correct verse is:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

The context here concerns temptations, not other challenges or difficulties in our lives. The truth is, sometimes we will be faced with situations that are more than we can handle. In those times, God intends us to acknowledge our helplessness and turn to Him for comfort and assistance. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. If we could handle everything ourselves, then we wouldn’t need to rely on God, would we?

Sometimes we get a Bible verse partly right, but even then we can fall into incorrect beliefs. Take this one, for instance:

“Money is the root of all evil.”

Close, but no cigar. The correct Bible verse is:

“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Money itself isn’t evil: it’s a neutral medium of exchange. In fact, money can do a great deal of good in alleviating poverty and advancing the Kingdom of God. It’s when we love money and put it above God in our lives that we run into trouble. The above verse goes on to say:

“And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”

Photo from pxfuel

It’s crucial to make sure we’re quoting the Bible accurately. How do we do that? By taking the time to read the Scriptures regularly. If you don’t have a copy of the Bible in your own home, there are numerous online resources through which you can begin to learn and study God’s Word.

Sites like BibleGateway and Bible Hub present the Bible in many formats and translations. Also popular is the YouVersion Bible App, available in over a thousand languages. All of these resources are easy-to-use ways to bring the Bible into your everyday life.

If you learn for yourself what God’s Word actually says, you won’t make mistakes like the following, which are statements about the Bible made by children:

“A Christian should only have one spouse.  This is called monotony.”

“Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.”

“Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark.”

You know what they say: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

Wait a minute: is that phrase from the Bible or not? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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