When I was a young man, my grandfather would tell me a story from when he was a youth worker and my parents were teenagers. My grandfather has always been active in the church, so when my parents were teens, he saw a need to step in to facilitate classes and activities for the teens.
One Sunday morning he saw two young men walking down the aisle, and he decided to have some fun with them. Bear in mind that this was probably the early 1970’s. Both of these teen boys had mustaches, so my grandfather asked them,
“Do you boys read your bible?”
“Oh yes sir,” was their reply.
“Well, then you can quote Hezekiah 14:26.” My grandpa was trying to hold back his grin.
“Um, can you remind us how it goes?” The boys were back pedaling quickly.
“Thou shalt not grow tame upon thine upper lip what groweth wild upon thine leg.”
The two hairy-lipped boys thanked him and went their merry way. The next time Grandpa saw them they had shaved their lips. Obviously they hadn’t bothered to look up the verse, because if they had they wouldn’t have found it. Hezekiah was a king, it isn’t a book in the bible. There is no verse that says men shouldn’t grow mustaches. I cracked up every time I heard that story.
Do you know your bible? Let’s take a test today. I’m going to list some common phrases, and see if you can figure out which ones came from the bible and which ones didn’t.
Is this from the bible or not?
1. Cleanliness is next to godliness
2. The apple of my eye
3. The golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”
4. Once saved, always saved
5. Spare the rod, spoil the child
6. God helps those who helps themselves
7. The sinner’s prayer
8. The lion will lay down with the lamb
9. Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned
10. The writing on the wall
11. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
12. You reap what you sow
13. This too shall pass
14. A fool and his money are soon parted
Well, how did you do? The only ones that are actually in the bible are numbers 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
We believe a lot of things that just aren’t true. Not being willing to check out the facts through any form of research is a high form of self-deception. We are given a brain to use, but many of us just accept everything at face value.
When Luke wrote the book of Acts, he said that the Bereans were of “more noble character” than those around them because they heard Paul’s message and went home and searched the scriptures to see if it was true.
This practice should apply to every area of our lives. There is an election coming up. Do you believe the hype, or have you done the research so that you have an educated opinion upon which you will cast your vote? Do you accept what the preacher says just because he is the preacher? Do you accept what your school says because the teacher proclaims a message that sounds good?
“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Please don’t be a person who hears something and accepts it without verifying the facts. There are plenty of people who will lie to you with lies that sound too much like truth. Even some religions will expect you to take what they say at face value without verification. One very popular religion has even made it their rule that what they say is more important than what the bible says. Thus there is no way to be a Berean in that system of religion.
The bible is full of wonderful information that feeds your need for truth. Preachers, pastors, and teachers are flawed, erring human beings, so it is important that you verify what they say. Don’t do it because you’re just a skeptic. Don’t do it because you think they’re bad people. They aren’t, I’m sure! In fact, I try very hard to tell the truth all the time, but sometimes I get my facts confused. It is important, then, that you have the ability to discern truth on your own.
You can be noble like a Berean as well.
If you know any other common phrases thought to be in the bible but aren’t, then I’d love to hear them. Many of these are truths that can be verified in scripture, but the wording isn’t there. Shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this article at my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you as you seek His truth every day.