When Your “Biblical Advice” Isn’t Biblical


Do you ever get – or give – “biblical advice” that isn’t actually from the Bible?

My guess is that it happens more times than you realize because there are so many secular sayings that sound like they’re from the Bible when they, in fact, are not.

To help you be able to discern the real stuff from the imposter, here are three “verses” that are often quoted as if they’re from Scripture when in fact, they are actually contrary to the truth found in God’s Word:

  1. God helps those who help themselves.  I’m sure you’ve heard it and possibly even said it to encourage someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get it done. But this verse is not in the Bible. And its premise is not true. To the contrary, God helps those who admit they can’t help themselves. Scripture is loaded with examples of God calling weak, humble people who not only believed they were inadequate for a task, but actually were, without God’s enabling strength. Scripture says that Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV). Furthermore, James 4:10 tells us “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” If God helped those who helped themselves, that verse would read: “Show yourself capable and God will come along and help.” Many times those of us who believe we can help ourselves don’t feel we need God and therefore, we don’t rely on Him. God wants us to admit we’re helpless so we can start depending on His strength to get us through situations. That is faith.
  2. God won’t give you more than you can handle. I think we’ve all said this at one time or another, primarily to comfort another believer or even an unbeliever who is struggling with something or fearful that something bad might happen. But this verse does not exist. And this statement doesn’t hold true. God will often give us more than we can handle so that we will depend on Him to carry the burden for us. In Matthew 11:28-30. Christ tells us to come to Him when we are weary and take His yoke upon us so we can bear a load that is too heavy to lift ourselves. I believe we get the idea that God won’t give us more than we can bear from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which tells us “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” That verse tells us God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to resist. But He will allow us to struggle beyond our capacity in other aspects of life so we understand what it means to surrender and allow Him to carry the burden for us.
  3. We are all God’s children. Here’s another one that sounds true. And although God is the creator of all, He is not the father of all.  Romans 8:9 clearly tells us “if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Jesus said those who are apart from Him are children of Satan, the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and Romans 8:15 tells us when we receive God’s spirit we have received “a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” God adopts us through our surrender to Christ Jesus. Therefore, a more accurate saying is: We are all God’s creation, but we are not all God’s children.

Can you think of some more sayings that people quote as if they’re Scripture? Or are you wondering if a certain verse actually does come from the Bible and if so, where? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

11 Comments

kana
Reply August 9, 2016

wanted to hear more from you,

thanks.

    Cindi
    Reply August 9, 2016

    Thank you, Kana, for wanting to hear more from me. If you were referring to this week's post, you need to click on the "Read more" button which then takes you to my site to read the blog in its entirety. If you're referring to hearing from me, in general, I had some website problems last week and my regular weekly blog didn't get out but I hope to be back weekly now. :) Weekly is all I can handle, especially in light of a couple of book deadlines.

Mom
Reply August 9, 2016

I sure did appreciate your column today, especially in the light of the article I just sent to you for possible use in the book you are writing now. :-)

    Cindi
    Reply August 9, 2016

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Mom. And your story is in the book. :)

Marty Russell
Reply August 9, 2016

What a GREAT exposure of these shallow Christian cliché's that distort the truth. Sadly, I fear that they may also reveal a simplistic one-dimensional Christian life that has yet to reach full spiritual maturity. That's a lose- lose for all of us in the body of Christ. .

    Cindi
    Reply August 9, 2016

    I agree, Marty. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Becky McAnally
Reply August 9, 2016

I think of the misuse of Romans 8:28 that" all things work together for good" as if we do nothing and it just happens. All things do work together for good for those who allow the Holy Spirit to help our weaknesses and to pray thru us the perfect will of God

    Cindi
    Reply August 9, 2016

    That's a great point, Becky. That verse is often half-quoted, too, as if "all things work together for good" is a blanket statement for any person, but the clarifying statement is "to those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Thanks for being a student of the Word. :)

Gail Hollingsworth
Reply August 9, 2016

Our pastor, Billy Joy, uses the God DOES give us more than we can handle lots. So true. He wants us to ask for His help.
And I do believe there is a scripture in the Bible although I can't recall where at the moment, that says something like He who works shall eat. I know there are those that aren't able to work and need help but I really get upset at those that could work but depend on welfare instead.

Clint Huckleberry
Reply August 26, 2016

As you move into the stage of life in which you begin to seriously consider marriage generally or a particular relationship, your first step should be to soberly reflect, before God, on your own spiritual walk and maturity in Christ. If you aspire to be a godly husband or wife someday, what have you done and what are you doing to prepare for that ministry? Needless to say, that is not the biblical picture of the responder. So what does this picture look like? Does this mean that a woman should never ask a man out on a first date? I think it does. Does this mean that a woman shouldn't give the guy the assurance he needs by "leaking" news of her interest to him by way of his friends? Again, I think so.

    Cindi
    Reply August 30, 2016

    Thank you for your comments, Clint. I'm sure if every man waited upon God for direction and then pursued a woman at God's leading then it would be much more simple, at least where a woman is concerned. I'll admit I was one who took the initiative when it came to showing interest in my husband. (We met through my youth pastor and he was away at Bible school, studying for the ministry and I took the initiative to write the first letter to him.) He did tell me, later, that if I had not made the first move -- through writing that letter -- he wouldn't have believed he had a chance with me. Shy guys (and men who tend to fear rejection) is a reality today. I'm not saying that a woman pursuing a man is the answer. But I know how God worked within what I called "God-given persistence." I would be interested, though, in hearing what my readers think in response to your comment. God bless.

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