Things the Bible Doesn’t Say

bibleI started listing well known sayings that people tend to think are in the Bible but actually aren’t.  As the list got longer I began to realize they could all basically be grouped in three categories.  This also helps to understand some of the confusion.

Misquotes - In this case the often quoted statement is similar to actual Bible verses, perhaps abbreviated.

The best example is “Money is the root of all evil.”  What 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says is “The love (or lust) of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”  While the wording is similar, the meaning is quite different.  Money is neutral and the evil comes from our attitudes concerning it.

“Pride goes before the fall.”  How many times have you heard that?  Proverbs 16:18 actually says “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Sayings by others confused with the Bible - The statements could be Shakespeare, proverbial sounding, or quoted by others as scripture.

“God helps those who help themselves.”  It’s about God, so it must be in the Bible right?  From what I can tell, this was Benjamin Franklin.  It’s sounds wise (and he was) and many people think it’s in there.

The seven deadly sins; pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, avarice and sloth.  Solomon lists seven things God hates (Prov 6:16-19) but the lists are hardly similar.  The “traditional” seven sins date back to the fourth century, and are not quite as old as the Bible.

“This too shall pass.”  While folklore attributes the saying to Solomon, it’s more likely Persian Sufi.  Often quoted, seldom cited correctly, definitely not in the Bible.

People applying their interpretations to scripture - There are some people so adamant about their theology, doctrines or prejudices they teach their interpretation of scripture as scripture.  I could get in trouble here, but I’m talking strictly about what is and is not in the biblical text.

“Jesus drank wine.”  This argument is used to justify drinking alcohol.  Does the Bible say that Jesus drank?  No.  Did he turn water to wine?  Yes.  Did his disciples drink wine?  Yes.  If Jesus never drank wine, that would have been noteworthy.  The Bible simply does not say verbatim he did or didn’t. 

“Satan tempted Eve with an apple.”  There are two issues here.  Eve was tempted with forbidden fruit, and we owe the apple tradition to medieval art.  The Genesis account does not say Satan was in the garden either.  Was it Satan?  That’s a matter of interpretation.  I wrote a whole post on this subject earlier this year.

The Trinity.  God manifests himself in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The word trinity is not found in scripture.  The teaching of the trinity is a matter of doctrine, and not every church holds to it.  The word rapture is not in the Bible either; discuss amongst yourselves.

These are just a few examples I compiled, perhaps you are aware of others.  If nothing else, perhaps this is good material for the water cooler discussion.

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7 thoughts on “Things the Bible Doesn’t Say

  1. Clark- I have a question about Jesus/disciples drinking wine. Where does it SAY the disciles drank wine? If they did why would Jesus not partake? (NOT fighting just asking where does it say that?) I would think that Jesus had wine at the passover sedar every year. Wine is the drink of the “cup”. NO? Also why would Jesus not drink wine in the first place?

    As far as the rest…I just think that most people have never read the Bible for themselves! Even real believers they go to church and don’t take the time to read the word. Letting the Holy Sprit speak to the heart.

  2. At the last supper, Jesus told his disciples to drink from the cup but that he would not until they came into the Kingdom. “For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:18 ESV) In the first century it would have been remarkable if Jesus never drank wine, and one would think the Bible would say so if that were the case. The Bible does not, however, say he did or didn’t. For t-totalers (Southern Baptists) it’s a big deal. Drinking a beer is right up there with divorce; practically unpardonable sin.

    I once heard a pastor say that although Jesus turned water into wine, it didn’t have time to ferment and they were basically drinking grape juice. In order to have Jesus abstain from alcohol he took the miraculous right out of the miracle.

  3. Clark- I see what you are saying about the Last supper. Sometimes christians act as if this time was the ONLY time Jesus had a sedar not the last. (here on earth)

    WOW! I never hear anyone say that Jesus would have to abstain from alcohol. Do they think that he took a vow? A nazir?

  4. Matthew 11:19 seems to indicate that Jesus did drink wine. The previous verse would indicate that John the Baptist didn’t (also Luke 1:15).

    Don’t forget that other quote right out of the Bible, Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

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