House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regularly uses a quote that she insists is in the Bible, but it’s not. Last week, at the annual Council for Christian Colleges and Universities conference in Washington, D.C., she stated that her favorite bit of biblical wisdom is, “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.”
As she introduced the quote, she admitted, “I can’t find it in the Bible, but I quote it all the time…I keep reading and reading the Bible—I know it’s there someplace. It’s supposed to be in Isaiah.
Nancy needs to read it a bit more. The saying she uses is NOT in the Bible. The closest might be from Proverbs 14:31, which states, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Nancy’s favorite fake Bible verse is a bit different than the authentic one noted here.
This got me to thinking, how many popular sayings that many think are in the Bible, are actually not?
Here are a few (perhaps you are able to add to this list):
God helps those who help themselves. This is actually from the Aesop’s Fable, Hercules and the Waggoner.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. This one became popular during the Victorian era after being revived by Sir Francis Bacon and John Wesley.
Everything happens for a reason. That one is not in the Bible, but it’s based on a biblical truism. Everything does happen for a reason because God is sovereign and there are no random, out-of-control happenings. Several factors help us know that everything happens for a reason: the law of cause and effect, the doctrine of original sin, and the providence of God. Here’s a real Bible verse confirming this: “…and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.
Money is the root of all evil. The real verse states, “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 Timothy 6:10.
Hate the sin and love the sinner. This one is built on a biblical principle, but the phrase is actually loose quote of something Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1929, “Hate the sin and not the sinner.” The closest Bible verse is in the rarely noted New Testament book of Jude 1:22-23, “Be merciful to those who doubt, save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
God won’t give you more than you can handle. Oh, really? That one’s not in the Bible either. Here’s what Paul (the Jewish Rabbi who wrote most of the of the New Testament) says: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead,” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9.
The Devil made me do it. Nice try. When Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil, she told God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” As for us, while Satan is the driving force behind the evil in our world today, we have our own sinful nature to blame for most of our sins. James 1:14 says,”but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”