There are a lot of things people say are in the Bible that actually aren’t. Starting from Adam and Eve eating an apple when the type of fruit was never mentioned, to the story of the "three" wise men when the number of men hadn’t been given, and so on. Read below for a list of a few sayings that are either misquoted or simply not there.
"The root of all evil is money."
The correct version of this quote is from 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
The love of money has a much different meaning than money alone being the root of all evil. With the love of money, there are the sins of coveting, envying, jealousy, pride, etc. – while money itself is just paper. Sin doesn’t enter in until something is or isn’t done with it.
"God only helps those who help themselves."
For this one, there isn’t even a different version of the quote in the Bible. In fact, it teaches the opposite. God helps those who can’t help themselves. Consider salvation. The Bible teaches it is a gift of God and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9), showing there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. He saves us in spite of our own lack of ability to "help."
Beyond salvation, there is our everyday lives. Ask any true Christian you know, "When have you witnessed the power of God the most – when you tried to help things along, or when you were on your knees crying that you didn’t know what else to do?"
You could say God helps those who take it all to Him and leave it there. Or you could say God helps those who completely let go in faith and trust in Him. But to say He only helps those who help themselves? If this was Snopes, a red False would go here.
"Pride goes before the fall."
This comes from Proverbs 16:18, where it says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." As you can see, it’s not the same, but, overall, it’s not that different either. A haughty spirit could be seen as prideful, but as a direct quote, it is still a miss.
"Cleanliness is next to godliness."
In reference to cleanliness, BlueLetterBible.org writes, "The book of Leviticus frequently deals with the issue of cleanliness and impurity, so that the Children of Israel would be clean as a sign of separation from the surrounding nations. Yet in the New Testament, cleanliness finds mention in relation to the cleansing of the believer’s life."
Cleanliness, as a general rule, is always a good thing to strive for. Biblically so. However, the quote itself is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
"The eye is the window to the soul."
The Bible doesn’t speak of the eye being the window to the soul, but it does speak of the eye being the light of the body (Matthew 6:22, Luke 11:34). If the eye is single (good, sound) or evil, the whole body is as well. The quote with the eye being the window to the soul, though, is without Scriptural reference.
"God works in mysterious ways."
Although many things have been revealed to God’s children over the years, God Himself is the only one who knows all of the mysteries of this world and beyond. As it says in Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
So it’s doubtful many Christians would dispute the claim, but the origin of the phrase is mysteriously missing from God’s Word. Some believe it came from an old hymnal "God Moves in a Mysterious Way," but, still, it isn’t a quote from the Bible.
"This too shall pass."
Like the one above, there’s a lot of truth to this statement. And, in its way, it can be comforting to hear when one is going through a difficult time. It’s just a simple reminder that things will get better, something we all need to hear at times.
Someone once referred to "this too shall pass" as a proverb. Maybe it is somewhere, but it isn’t one from the Bible. The phrase was made popular after Abraham Lincoln used it during the Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society. It’s not a bad saying; it’s just not a Bible one.
And on that note, this post, too, shall pass. There are many sayings people believe came from the Bible, but didn’t. Just as there are some things people say without realizing actually did come from God’s Word. Whether we’re saying it did or didn’t, we should take more care with the things we claim the Bible says.