Would you believe there are multiple sayings that sound so biblical many of us think they’re in the Bible? But in reality, they’re not. Yes, you’ve heard them, and like me, you have probably said them.
Here are five of them:
1. Money Is The Root Of All Evil
I’m pretty confident you know this one, but it is also the easiest to correct.
It is a misquote of I Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
Paul tells Timothy that the “love” of money is the problem. Money is neither good or bad in and of itself. We can use it for great good or great evil.
However, when “love of money”, in other words, a fixation on obtaining it (and this can happen to both the wealthy and the poor) we make it more important than God.
When we trust in money for our security rather than God it can lead us to do all kinds of foolish and evil things. But none worse than keeping us from having the deep, intimate relationship with God that He wants to have with us.
2. God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
I’m sure you have heard this one too. Maybe someone said it to you to try and encourage you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get it done. In other words, suck it up.
Believe it or not, the earliest record of this saying is from Aesop’s fable “Hercules and the Waggoner.”
In this fable, a man prays to Hercules for help when his wagon gets stuck in the mud. Hercules appears and tells him to get up and put his shoulder to the wheel. The moral given is, “The gods help them that help themselves”
This is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches. Scriptures are full of examples of God calling people who are weak and inadequate and empowering them to do His work.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul says, “Each time he said,’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weakness, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The danger of believing we can help ourselves is that we will come to feel that we don’t need God and for that reason, we don’t rely on Him.
God wants us to acknowledge our helplessness, so we will depend on His strength to get us through situations. We have a word for that; it’s called faith.
3. God Works In Mysterious Ways
This one may be one of the most quoted sayings of all time when it comes to God. The only problem is that it is not a verse in the Bible.
It’s true that God does work in ways we don’t understand, but this saying is more than likely a simplified paraphrase of two verses.
Ecclesiastes 11:5, “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”
Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
So, the bottom line for this saying is that it is not wrong, it’s just not in the Bible.
4. When God Closes A Door He Opens A Window
We often hear this when things don’t go as we plan or hope they will. The only problem is this saying has no biblical basis whatsoever.
This phrase comes from…are you ready… The Sound of Music. It implies that whatever hopes or dreams we pursue with “all our heart” God will make come true one way or another.
But the truth is God does say no sometimes. That is because He is looking at things from an eternal perspective and our ultimate good. Not necessarily what we think we want or need.
Romans 8:28(AMP), “ And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
5. God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle
We have all probably said this one at one time or another to comfort someone who is going through something difficult or afraid of what the future holds.
The only problem is that this verse does not exist.
This saying more than likely comes from taking 1 Corinthians 10:13 out of context. This verse states that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can resist. It is only addressing temptation.
While the Bible does not say that He will not give us more than we can handle it does promise that He will be with us in everything we face. And the strength to handle it will come from him, not us.
“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [ to fulfill His purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 (AMP)
Why It Matters
As believers, we know it’s important to read, study, and memorize the Bible. I wrote about that here.
God has given us His Word as a way of understanding Him and drawing close to Him.
David says it like this in Plasm 119:16, “I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.”
No matter how well-intentioned these and other sayings are, without the firm foundation of knowing His Word, it is easy to be misled by others or ourselves.
When you are grounded in His word instead of pulling out a well-known phrase you can speak from your heart. Then back it up with scripture.
Can you think of other sayings people quote as if they’re Scripture?