By Ryan Velez
Many people use Bible scripture not just during worship, but as a part of their daily lives. Whether it’s to find inspiration or a personal mantra to affirm both their faith and their actions, several of these quotes are commonplace now. However, The Preying Narcissist points out that several of these quotes not only don’t appear in the Bible, but can run contradictory to what is actually there. They have compiled a list of some of the most popular examples.
First is the expression that God helps those who help themselves. This actually goes against the Gospel, as while we are provided with gifts and talents, the attitude of self-reliance and self-righteousness interferes with God’s work. A more accurate view would be that Jesus saves those who die to themselves. This view is expressed in the quote “then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
Another misconception is the quote that cleanliness is next to godliness. While keeping a clean space certainly has its benefits, this expression never actually appeared in the Bible. For those trying to convince messy children to clean up, perhaps the quote “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12) may be a bit more apropos.
While the aforementioned expressions may be a bit lighthearted, there are also more serious examples of lines not in the Bible that are actually accepted as scriptural. Such an example is the expression that bad things happen to good people. While many may use this to take solace in hardships, it’s not a Bible quote. While a nice sentiment, The Preying Narcissist explains that it’s subjective who is good and bad. They cite the quote that “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). This isn’t to say that people are inherently bad either, rather that no one is without flaw.
In celebration or in sadness, many may reflect on the concept that God wants them to be happy. This is yet another misinterpretation that is not Biblical. In reality, rather than providing fleeting feelings and emotions of happiness, God’s aim is to work towards your good, even if it doesn’t provide happy feelings at the time. This is shown in the quote “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). These are only some of the full list of examples provided—so be careful the next time you quote scripture that you’re actually drawing from the real thing.