John Blake recently posted an article at CNN.com entitled Actually That’s Not in the Bible. It begins like this:
NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.
“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season. “This, too, shall pass.”
Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.
Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches – all types of people – quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.
The article goes on to give examples of quotes like Ditka’s that he calls, phantom Bible passages. Things like, “God Helps those who help themselves” and “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Quoting phantom Bible passages or even misunderstanding a Bible passage leads to a gross misunderstanding of the God of those Bible passages. For example, “God helps those who helps themselves” is nothing short of heresy. The story of scripture is that we can do nothing to help ourselves. That’s why Jesus went to the cross- to pay a debt we could not pay.
In a day where we’re faced with so many uncertainties- from international conflict to the disintegration of the institution of marriage to the need for a spiritual renewal in our country. There has never been a time where understanding what God has to say is more critical. To understand If we want to understand God, we must understand the Bible. That’s what Explore the Bible is all about. We help Bible study groups study the Word in its context so the people in those groups learn to live the Word in their context. Why? Because we don’t want people formulating God’s direction for their lives from a football coach’s phantom Bible verse.
© Image 2011. Chineka. Creative Commons