not-in-the-bible

Famous “Biblical” Terms and Verses NOT Found In the Bible

Here’s a very short list of popular “Biblical” terms and phrases which just so happen *not* to be in the Bible. I’ve attempted to attribute them to the proper sources:

“This, too, shall pass” ~ Attar of Nishapur (Sufi poet)
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” ~ Phineas ben Yair (Talmud)
“Money is the root of all evil.” ~ misquoted from 1 Timothy 6:10
“God will not give you more than you can handle.” ~ misquoted from 1 Corinthians 10:13
Adam’s “Apple” ~ Genesis only uses the generic term, “fruit”
“God helps those who help themselves.” ~ a paraphrased quote from Benjamin Franklin
“To thine own self be true.” ~ William Shakespeare
“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” ~ St. Augustine
“God works in mysterious ways.” ~ William Cowper
“The Trinity” ~ Theophilus of Antioch
“The Rapture” ~ Cotton Mather
“The Holy Grail” (cup or chalice) ~ Robert de Boron
“Spare the rod, spoil the child” ~ Samuel Butler
“All things work together for good” ~ contextually misquoted from Romans 8:28
“Pride comes before the fall” ~ misquoted from Proverbs 16:18
“Moderation in all things” ~ Aristotle
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” ~ paraphrased from Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31

These words actually appear in many translations of the Bible but have totally different meanings that what we understand today. I’ve attempted to pinpoint the origins of our modern definitions of the terms:

“The Antichrist” (singular) ~ Saint Irenaeus
“Heaven” (modern concept) ~ Papias (2nd century bishop)
“Hell” (modern concept) ~ Dante Alighieri
“Lucifer” (as Satan) ~ misinterpretation of Isaiah 14:12 (unknown origin)
“Homosexual” (mistranslated from various Greek and Hebrew words) ~ Karl-Maria Kertbeny

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Smiling_Christ_(Castel_of_Javier,_XVth)

Did Jesus Have a Sense of Humor?

I had something of an epiphany a little while back. I had been struggling with certain passages in the New Testament in which Jesus says things that seem totally bizarre or incongruous. Then, it finally hit me: duh! He was JOKING! Everything fell into place. How come nobody let me in on this. Perhaps we are all so familiar with these passages that we fail to see the humor but it’s inescapable once you realize it. I like Jesus better every day.
Try reading Matthew 15:24-28 where Jesus essentially calls a foreign woman a “dog” and imagine Jesus with a sort of teasing smirk. Now THAT’S the same guy who told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Another example is on the cross when Jesus cried “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I don’t believe for one instant Jesus ever thought that God had truly forsaken him. Instead, he was making a rather obvious reference to the prophetic Psalm 22 in a sort of a “Hey dimwits, check this out” sort of way. Even on the cross, his humor remained intact. Let’s not forget Luke 23:43, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. This really only makes sense in an ironic sort of way. Jesus would not actually be ascending to “paradise” for another 43 days.
Some more obvious examples are “Camel through the eye of a needle” (Matthew 19:24), “Straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel” (Matthew 23:24) and “Picking at a splinter in your neighbor’s eye with a log in your own” (Matthew 7:3-5). Imagine hearing that for the first time ever. You couldn’t help blowing cola (or wine) out your nose! I think the first person to say “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” got a few loud guffaws, don’t you? Assuming Jesus was the originator of these sayings, he *had* to anticipate the comedic effect he would have on common folk. Once phrases like that get into common usage, they tend to lose all humor, but just imagine the general reaction the first time they were ever uttered. I think that such hyperbolic phrases actually catch at first because they are so ridiculously funny. But after a while, they simply become figures of speech.
There are a few more things that don’t make a lot of sense to me unless I take it as Jesus joking around:
Appearing as gardener to Mary (John 20:11-18) and hiding his identity on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). I picture him at the table saying, in effect, “SURPRISE!” Poof! And then he’s gone. And let’s not forget that “Do you love me?” shtick which really only makes sense in Greek. (John 21:15-17) I suppose a lot of the humor may have been lost in translation.
I believe humor was created by God. Sure, the devil can use it for his purposes such as mean and degrading jokes. But for the most part, humor “lifts your spirits”. How can that not be from God? It only makes sense that Jesus would have ‘inherited’ that sense of humor as well. Also considering the best public speakers usually intersperse their message with humor, I can’t help but believe that Jesus did so as well.
Once last comment before I let this post rest: The part where Jesus told Peter “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23) right after giving him the responsibility of the church can either be taken as a mercurial temper or the ancient equivalent of “Get outta here!” as friends often tell each other. I prefer believing the latter.

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Are We Saved By Our Faith Alone?

Some believe that we are saved by our faith alone. But “faith” does not just mean “belief” in God or that Jesus is the Son of God. If that were true, according to the Bible, then the devil himself would be automatically saved. He “believed” both things to be true. True faith, however, is a loving “trust” in God and His Son Jesus Christ. But even if we are saved by our faith alone, it is important to remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

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anger

Avoiding Anger

Anger. I do not recall a single time in my life that I am glad to have been angry. People talk about righteous anger. I don’t know about you but for me all anger feels ‘righteous’ at the time. In that state of mind, it is simply impossible to judge objectively. Only afterwards, when the anger subsides do I realize what an utter fool I’ve been. Then the anger turns inward in the form of remorse, regret, humiliation and self-hatred. So I find it best to avoid anger and situations where I might become angry. It never ends well for me. Some may see this as a form of weakness but believe me, sometimes it takes every ounce of strength that I have. The thrill of anger is so powerfully seductive at times.

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religion

Aren’t We All Just a Little Religious?

I hear people say all the time that they are not at all religious. I don’t believe a word of it. Religion is hardwired into our basic DNA. Some call it superstition. We all have it to some extent. What many persons do NOT have is *organized* religion. All belief systems are ultimately based on faith. If a person believes there exists an objective truth or an objective morality that is a ‘religious’ belief. If a person believes there is NO such thing as objective truth or morality, that too, is a specific religious belief. I am religious. For years my religion was uniquely my own. Now, it is very heavily influenced by the Christian faith. I therefore call myself a Christian, though many of my more strange or esoteric beliefs are not necessarily supported by that religion. But my *core* beliefs are pretty much in line with Christianity. So now I am a member of an *organized* religion. I always wanted to be more organized. ;-)

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Views_of_a_Foetus_in_the_Womb_detail

Is Abortion Really a Sin?

I can’t figure out what other Christians mean when they say they are against abortion on religious grounds. The Bible clearly does not afford a fetus the same legal status as human being (Exodus 21:22-23). God even gives Moses instructions on how to perform an abortion of sorts (Numbers 5:11-31). Finally, the Bible repeats the theme that God breathes life into us. Based on this, it seems that life is not Biblically considered to begin until birth. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not pro-abortion by any means. It still *seems* disgusting and wrong to me but I have nothing Biblical to base this gut feeling on. And by the way, thank God not all sins are illegal or I would be rotting in prison.

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Gustav_Jaeger_Bileam_Engel

Misinterpreting the Bible

The Bible doesn’t always mean what people think it means. Case in point, I thought I had found yet another glaring contradiction in the Bible: I was reading the Book of Numbers and it said that God does not lie. Aha! In the previous chapter, Balaam had clearly heard God talking out of his ass! {badabing!} But then I got to thinking about words and phrases changing over time. It makes perfect translations and interpretations pretty near impossible. But the weirdest thing thing about that Balaam story is that he argued with the animal. Why? Clearly he was dealing with no ‘dumb’ ass. Then it occurred to me: Then as now, nobody wants to listen to a ‘smart’ ass, even when they know what they’re talking about! Perhaps I should trust not in my own understanding. What say you all?

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Ephesus_IchthysCrop

Ichthys Vs. Cross

I wonder if Jesus would be a little creeped out by the *cross* being his symbol. It seems a bit like the thirty-ought-six being a symbol for Martin Luther King Jr.. I’d be willing to bet that Jesus would prefer a “fish”. I, on the other hand prefer the 4th century ichthys which we would all recognize today as a *pizza*. (Yum!) Now *that* seems much more likely to draw the young people (and perhaps stoners) to church! ;-) Interestingly enough, “Taking up crosses” can also be translated as “pulling up stakes”. The latter makes a lot more sense to me in the context in which Jesus said it (Matthew 16:24).

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Rembrandt_-_Young_Jew_as_Christ_-_WGA19204

What Was Jesus Christ’s Real Name?

It will probably come as little surprise that “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. But it may surprise some people to know that “Jesus” was not actually his first name either. So what was Jesus originally called? In Aramaic, his native tongue, he would have been known as, Yeshua bar Yosef. Jews of the first century had only one name, plus “son of (his father)”- bar. His father was presumed to be Yosef (Joseph).
So how did we manage to get “Jesus” out of “Yeshua”? It became corrupted after filtering through two languages – First Greek (Iesous), then Latin (Jesus).
The name, Yeshua, means “rescuer” or “deliverer”. The symbolic name or title, Immanuel as in Matthew 1:22–23 means “God with us”.
As for “Christ”, this is a title which simply means “anointed” or “covered in oil” in Greek. This corresponds to the Hebrew, “Messiah”. It is symbolic that his leadership was ordained or blessed by God. It does not necessarily mean “son of God” as seems to be the common misconception. The “Messiah” was expected by most Jews to be a strong military ruler, like David. Many were obviously disappointed.
An interesting sidenote: Yeshua/Jesus was a very common first century Jewish name. In fact some ancient manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17 have the full name of Barabbas as “Jesus Barabbas” and this was probably the name as originally written in the text. Barabbas translates as “son of the father”. Early church father, Origen was troubled by the fact that his copies of the gospels gave Barabbas’ name as “Jesus Barabbas” and declared that it was impossible he could have had such a holy name.

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prayer

Are You a Person of Faith?

Anyone who persists with any of the illogically unscientific notions that:

The universe is more than just a spontaneous accident;
Anything is greater than the sum of its parts;
There is true meaning or purpose to anything;
Guilt is more than just a neurosis;
Love is more than just a chemical reaction;
Life is more than just a physical condition;
There is good in the world;
Absolutes such as eternity, infinity and perfection actually exist;
Or
There is anything in the universe more important than themselves;

Is what I consider to be a person of faith and believes in what I choose to call God.

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Alchemy

Science Is Usually Wrong

Yes, science is usually wrong. Maybe not by very much but wrong nevertheless. Consider that few scientific theories have a shelf-life of more than a couple of centuries before becoming functionally obsolete. It stands to reason that most of our best scientific theories of today will have become equally obsolete within another few hundred years. Certainly science is useful. We would not have modern medicines or complex modern marvels without the materials and technology science provides. But mere usefulness is no proof of the absolute veracity of our current scientific theories. Even in the times of Romans and Egyptians, many seemingly miraculous structures and cures were being implemented with the most archaic and inaccurate scientific theories. Because they seemed to work well enough for the times did not mean they were necessarily correct. No legitimate scientist today would base his work on any of the scientific principles accepted as absolute fact millennia ago. Accuracy is one of the basic cornerstones of the scientific method and since we can assume from experience that no modern scientific theory is completely accurate, all conclusions based on our modern theories must be inherently inaccurate as well.

What does this mean for people of faith? Any scientific “proof” that God does not exist, if found, will eventually become obsolete – perhaps to be supplanted by another equally transient proof and so on. Science is a merely a useful albeit imperfect human tool. Why should we replace our faith in a perfect and eternal God with faith in an imperfect one of our own creation? Whenever new scientific evidence is presented which seemingly contradicts our faith, we must try to remember that faith has a much longer shelf-life than science. On the other hand, we must never attempt to base or even bolster our faith on any scientific evidence or theories. Any faith based on scientific evidence or theories puts science foremost and will constantly be undermined by new discoveries. Attempting scientific proof of God’s existence is foolhardy. Even if temporarily successful to some degree, it’s success will never survive the inevitable proofs to the contrary. Any new believers the original proof may have won will be lost and forever jaded. Any true believers which have in some way incorporated the proof into their belief system will then have a shadow of doubt cast upon their faith. But most importantly, the attempt itself gives credit to the bizarre notion that faith in a scientific proof of God is somehow superior to faith in God directly.

Some suggest science leads them to a better understanding of the mind of God. To me, scientifically analyzing the universe to understand the mind of God seems a bit more akin to analyzing the pigment on a canvas to understand the mind of the painter. Usually, it is better just to step back and appreciate the whole painting with an uncritical mind.

Faith is not scientific nor is it logical. Faith based on logic will be out-reasoned. Faith based on science will become obsolete. Faith is truly only faith when it is based on that which is far greater than any human mind can hope to comprehend but which the human “heart” is intimately familiar.

The truly faithful need no justification for their beliefs. But for the faithless, no justification is sufficient.

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emc2

Rules of the Universe

One of the definitions of “God” in my dictionary is “ruler of the universe”. Some may deny that the universe has a ruler but it certainly has rules. The rules of the universe cannot be broken. The rules of the universe are not necessarily the same as the “laws of physics”. As the so-called laws of physics are inventions of man reflecting his limited observation of how the universe seems to work. The laws of physics evolve with man’s understanding while the rules of the universe remain constant. Our scientific understanding has exploded exponentially over the last 1000 years so it is safe to say that 1000 years from now our current “laws of physics” will seem at least as archaic and laughable as those a thousand years before. But in all this time, the true rules of the universe will not have changed.

Did the rules of the universe exist before the universe itself? Why are the rules the way that are and not something else? Does “something” keep the rules of the universe constant? Perhaps a better question than, “Who created the universe?” is “Who created the rules of the universe”. Perhaps this “thing” we call God is that which both created and maintains the rules of the universe. Just a thought.

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religion

Is Religion Good For You?

I think good religion is good for good people. It has been my frequent observation that religion tends to make good people better, bad people worse and the rest of us more neurotic. I believe the good use religion to validate their love, the bad to justify their hate, while the rest are thoroughly bewildered by the incomprehensible dichotomy of it all.
No, your religion does not necessarily make you a good person (some of the most evil people in history were devoutly religious souls). How well you privately treat people, especially those who can do nothing for you, makes you a good person. It’s as simple as that. If your religion keeps you on the right track and encourages some personal accountability, then yes, I’d say your religion is good for you.

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