5 Things You Think are in the Bible That Really Aren’t

Part of me really hates doing blogs about the Bible.  I have friends who are not Christians and I know I’m leaving them on the side of the road on these. I am somewhat comforted by the Old Testament being a sacred text for folks of the Jewish and Muslim faiths as well as the Christians do.  Also, I don’t do these all too often, so hopefully those are don’t find anything here can find love in other posts of mine.  I love everyone who reads my wild musings, regardless of your belief systems.

I will be using the NIV version of the Bible today.  I like this translation because it was a complete rewriting from ancient sources and NOT just an update of an existing translation.  It is also simple to understand while still maintaining the dignity of writing styles we find familiar from older translations.

That being said………..

#1 “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.  The first recorded instance of this phrase was in a sermon by John Welsey in 1778. But the idea has been around since ancient times.  It’s just not in the Bible.

#2 “God helps those who help themselves”.  This one was first published in 1698 in a British newspaper and then again by Ben Franklin in 1757. Not only is this NOT in the Bible, it is a contradiction of the Beatitudes, several places in the Old Testament calling for the leaving of a portion of the harvest behind for the needy, and is hardly compatible with “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

#3 Suicide is an automatic ticket to hell and an unforgivable sin.  While there are certainly many passages that make it clear that murder is a sin, there are some noble examples of suicide in the Bible, most notably Sampson. Even the gory account of the suicide of Judas Iscariot makes no mention of that act in and of itself being a sin.  And there is no passage in either the Old or New Testament that calls it unforgivable.

#4 Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.  Nowhere in the Bible does it give an occupation – or lack thereof- for her. Many people believe that Mary Magdalene is the “sinful woman” referenced in Luke Chapter 7, but that is not in the text.  It is believed this narrative was the creation of certain early Church leaders who were not comfortable with her high place of reverence by some early believers because of her close friendship with Jesus.

#5 Abortion is murder.  Yes, I know this is the one that’s going to get me some flack, but hear me out first.

There is exactly ONE reference to harm to a fetus in the Bible and it’s in Exodus 21.  Verses 22 and 23 read:  “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life.”   “Gives birth prematurely” is a euphemism for miscarriage/ losing the baby.  Simply put, we read here that if the punishment for causing a miscarriage is NOT the same as the punishment for murder.  This is is also the case when reading these verses in other translations-  lest you think I’ve chosen this translation for this reason alone.  Again, yes there are many verses dealing with murder, but this passage makes a clear differentiation between murder and loss of an embryo.  

So, tell me what you think.  What do you think I got wrong?  Let’s talk.


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