14 Things You Think Are In The Bible but Really Aren’t

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The Bible is a massive tome that is the foundation of Christianity. It’s a guide to how to live, but there are a few things we take for granted that the Bible mentions that don’t show up in it. What things do you think are in the Bible that aren’t there? Let’s take a closer look.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

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This particular line comes up quite often, especially in casual conversations with churchgoers. Some see it as an appeal to celebrate their wins, while others see it as a statement that underlines the importance of self-care and reward. Regardless of your position, this line is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

As religious as this sounds, it actually comes from Poor Richards Almanack, written by Benjamin Franklin, as a collection of things for the ordinary person to think about. It’s also phrased differently – the most unbiblical thing leads to self-righteousness. A bit of it was clearly lost to time.

Satan Running Hell

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If you delve through the pages of the Bible, the mention of hell shows up a few times. The mention of Satan as the ultimate evil shows up a bit more. Yet nowhere in all of the words from start to finish does the Good Book say that Satan runs hell. It’s just something we came up with ourselves.

The reason we think Satan runs hell doesn’t come from the Bible at all but from Dante Alighieri. Dante’s Inferno is an epic poem describing his imagined trip through the levels of hell. In it, he sets Satan as the one who runs the place, and it’s something we’ve run with ever since.

Hell Itself Isn’t Described The Way We Think it Is

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On the topic of hell, much of our modern depictions of it outline a world that’s flooded with flame and the smell of brimstone and sulfur. Yet the Bible doesn’t ever go into detail about how hell is. Most of its mentions of hell reference sinners’ final reward, not a physical place.

Once again, Dante’s Inferno gives us our contemporary view of hell and the imps and other creatures that populate the final destination of sinners’ souls. It’s clear that Dante was quite influential in the twenty-first century’s understanding of hell.

The Noah’s Ark Numbers

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If you grew up watching Christian children’s television, you probably saw the Noah’s Ark story. In it, two individuals of each animal entered the Ark, and we usually take that as what the Bible says. The actual numbers the Bible mentions are pretty different from the cartoon specials.

The Bible splits animals up into “clean” and “unclean,” and for the clean animals, as many as seven of them are brought onto the Ark. The unclean animals are only allowed two individuals. This change was likely made for simplicity’s sake, but the Bible never says “only two animals of each type were saved.”

The Apple in the Garden Of Eden

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We all know the story – Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden to bear suffering for eating an apple. But was it an apple? Every retelling of the story in modern media has an apple, but there’s no direct mention of the apple anywhere in the Bible.

So how did we get an apple as the temptation fruit? In the days of the medieval church, illustrations were how stories were told since most people couldn’t read. Illustrators drew from what they knew, and since they saw so many apples on trees, they just made the temptation fruit an apple. The generalization stuck.

Angels as Winged Men and Women

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When we think about angels these days, we think about winged men, women, and children, sometimes with weapons or harps. Yet nowhere in the Bible are angels described as winged people. The Bible’s angel descriptions are a bit more terrifying.

Ezekiel, the prophet, describes angels, but not in the way we know them. They had four faces and four wings, and only one of the faces was human. Googling “Biblically Accurate Angels” will get you many weird pictures, like the wheel with eyes. That’s not an exaggeration; this description appears in the Bible.

Sunday Is a Holy Day

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Why do you go to church on a Sunday? Well, that’s because it’s the holiest day of the week, right? The Bible doesn’t actually specify which day they consider the holiest day of the week. Judaism, for example, counts the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

So, how did we end up with Sunday? As Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday, the early church shifted its observances and sermons to Sunday, declaring it the holiest day of the week. You’d be mistaken if you think the Bible says Sunday is the most sacred of days.

Jesus Was Born on the 25th of December

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If you listen to the carolers, they’ll tell you that Jesus was born of Mary on Christmas Day. And since the entire world celebrates Christmas on the 25th of December, that’s when He was born, right? Well, not exactly. The date that was chosen as Christmas was strategic.

When the early church was trying to legitimize itself, it would regularly “borrow” existing religious holidays to make it easier for citizens to celebrate. Christmas Day was borrowed from an existing festival known as Sol Invictus. Scholars believe Jesus was actually born sometime in April.

“Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be

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Bankers would be relieved to find out that this quote doesn’t actually exist in the Bible. When it’s used in sermons, it usually refers to people being self-sufficient and caring for their needs. Yet it’s not at all a Biblical quote, as much as it sounds as though it came from there.

The quote actually comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The words were given to Hamlet to remind him that lending money to friends usually leads to him losing those friends along with the money loaned. It’s usually also used with another quote misattributed to the Bible, “To thine own self be true.”

Mary Magdalene is a Prostitute

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It’s surprising how many Christians are quick to point out that Mary Magdalene is a prostitute. The Bible never explicitly states she is one, but it’s something most Christians simply believe. The Bible says that Jesus went around with prostitutes, however. How did we link the two?

We can once again thank the Medieval church for this fabrication. To show Jesus’ righteousness, they “reinvented” Mary Magdalene as a prostitute because it suited their goals. That invention has carried forward to today, as most clergymen refer to Mary Magdalene as “the prostitute.”

“Money is the Root of All Evil

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The New Testament is very uncharitable to rich people. Aside from a rich man being impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven, it’s on-theme for the Bible to tell people that money is the root of all evil. Except it doesn’t actually tell people that.

The actual quote is that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” meaning that having money isn’t necessarily a sin. However, putting the love of money over the love of one’s fellow man is a definite sin, according to the Bible.

The Seven Deadly Sins

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This particular piece of Christian teaching makes its way into popular culture as well, but the Bible doesn’t actually outline these seven sins. These sins were presented initially by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century as a shorthand for things you shouldn’t do.

Since then, they have appeared in several works of ecclesiastical and popular culture. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Dante’s Inferno both reference the sins, and they have also appeared in modern books such as Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. Despite this, the Bible doesn’t mention these seven deadly sins.

Three Wise Men

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When we celebrate Christmas, the story of the Three Wise Men features as part of our lore. Yet the Bible is not clear on how many wise men there were, just that there were three gifts presented by the Magi. We just assumed that a different wise man offered each one, hence the number three.

What’s even more astonishing is that we have names for these three fictional Wise Men. Church tradition and Christian writing have given these Three Wise Men their own individuality. The names we’re familiar with, Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, were most likely made up.

“Suffer The Little Children to Come Unto Me

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If there were a ranking for the most misunderstood Bible quotes, this one would be close to the top. Many people think this statement means that Jesus sees suffering as the path to redemption. However, this is a frankly strange way to interpret this line.

When this line was originally translated into the King James Version of the Bible, the term “suffer” was used differently from how we use it today. It was more along the lines of “please allow,” as opposed to “make them feel pain and anguish.” The context changes the entire line.

The Bible Has Its Good Spots

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The Bible can be a valuable tool to help people navigate life, but its usefulness depends on interpretation. Many Christians claim that they read the Bible, but in truth, they listen to other people who have claimed to read the Bible instead of doing it themselves.

These are only a handful of the things that people think are explicitly in the Bible but which really aren’t. While some of the Bible is historical, other parts of it are mythological. It’s important to know which is which if we intend to use it to guide our lives.

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

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