The Bible continues to be best-selling, and one of the most often quoted, books in the world. However, there are many people who love and believe the Bible, that also believe some very unbiblical statements. Here are the top 10:
1. God wants you to be happy.
This is probably the most pervasive. Many think of God as a cosmic vending machine, grandfather in the sky, or a personal genie. If you put in the right amount of spiritual currency, give Him the “I won’t do that again” speech, or say the magic words, He will just do your personal bidding. Behind all of this type of thinking is the idea that God just wants you to be happy. Generally speaking, God wants good things for our lives:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Even so, that does not mean that He will make our lives all chocolate cake and roses:
In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
Happiness isn’t really a good measure to take anyway. Happiness is often connected with the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If things are going well, we are happy. When things are not, our happiness plummets. Instead, God wants us to find our joy (which does not change with our circumstances) in Him. When we do, we can be content even in the difficult moments that we face, because;
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
While it may not seem like it at the time, God’s good purpose is being fulfilled.
2. We are all God’s children.
When people say this, they are trying to convey the idea that God made us all and thus we should treat one another with respect. I totally agree with that! However, it can also mean, for some, that they believe that everyone is part of God’s family. While we are all created in the image of God, we are not all part of God’s family.
Baptist, along with other mainline Christian denominations, believe that only those who have repented of their sin and placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone can claim to be a part of the family of God.
But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
Believers are also sealed with the Holy Spirit so that they know that they are part of God’s family.
The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.
While all people are created by God, not all people are God’s children.
3. God helps those who help themselves.
I hear this one early and often. In reality, this statement is the most perverse of all the statements. Behind it is the idea of “Christian Karma,” that if you do the right kinds of things, God will bless you–which is anti-biblical. Of course, we are to work hard and do the right things, but we shouldn’t expect an earthly reward for our efforts.
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We should be doing the right things, simply because they are the right things. Self-reliance, self-righteousness, self-effort, and trying harder are not what puts you into a right relationship with God. The Bible teaches us that it is those who are willing to sacrifice their will to follow Jesus are the ones whom God helps (Mark 8:34-38).
4. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
While your co-workers and family will appreciate this one, it is not found anywhere in the Bible. I imagine that this came from the idea that we should present our best self before the Lord. Or mothers who needed an argument for why their children needed to bath on Saturday nights. However, God said this about appearance in 1 Samuel 16:7,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
For the benefit of those around you, it is suggested that you stay relatively clean. We wouldn’t want to run anyone off from the gospel because of smell, but staying clean will not help you become any closer to God. Though it might help you stay away from illness!
5. God will not give you more than you can handle.
Until we come to grips with the idea that there is nothing in this life that we can “handle” apart from our relationship with God, our spiritual growth will be stunted. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament does the Bible teach that the Christian is to try and do anything in, or on, their own power. We are supposed to “live” and “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Faith in Jesus is all about recognizing that we CANNOT do it (life, remove sin, etc.) apart from Him. Jesus tells us in John 15:5 that,
“. . . apart from me you can do nothing.”
When we realize that we are in need of Christ in every situation, life becomes much more manageable. Even Paul recognized that he faced situations that were more than he could bear on his own:
We were under a burden far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we felt we were under the sentence of death, in order that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:8b-9
God will often put us in situations that are beyond our control to remind us to “not trust in ourselves, but in God.” The reason that this idea persists, is because of the oft-misinterpreted text 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says,
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
However, this passage still points to the fact that we need Jesus to overcome our temptations. If it were not for God intervening, we would have no way of escape. God’s faithfulness to His children means that He will be there to help us escape our temptations. Without Him, we would certainly fail.
6. We all worship the same God.
7. Bad things happen to good people.
8. When you die, God gains another angel.
9. We’re all going to the same place.
10. The Devil made me do it.
Bonus: Think before you speak.