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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.