Common Bible Misquotes and Misconceptions

Did you know these frequently used sayings are not quite from God's Word?

Open Bible to Reveal Misconceptions and Misunderstandings of God's Word

These 7 sayings and concepts are misquotes or misunderstandings of God's word and His likeness.

They are often used as a figure of speech, cliche, or general phrase, and people have been repeating them for decades without a second thought. Of course people use them with the best of intentions; to give comfort to a friend, even to give thanks to God. But perhaps it's time to see their true source.

  1. Eat, drink, and be merry

  2. God helps those who help themselves

  3. God doesn't give us more than we can handle

  4. I'll get to heaven if my good outweighs my bad

  5. Money is the root of all evil

  6. Praying to angels, saints, or anyone other than God or Jesus

  7. You're always saved as long as you were baptized or gave your heart to Jesus

Do you know the actual Bible verses which inspired them? Let's find out!

(All scripture quotes are from the NLT unless otherwise noted, and quotes of Jesus are red.)

1. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

This is a common saying, which is often misused with good intentions, especially during times when we feel quite blessed. It's often embroidered onto pillows, but perhaps it's better to simply thank the Lord for all he's given us. The saying actually comes from Luke 12:16-21:

"Then [Jesus] told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.' Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!"' But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”"

2. God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

While Ben Franklin popularized this saying, a similar saying is actually found in the Koran: "Allah will not change the condition of a person until they change what is in themselves.”, and such a concept will not be found anywhere in the Bible. In fact, Jesus says the opposite in Matthew 5:3: “God blesses those who are poor in spirit and realize their need for him," and in Luke 5:32: "I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”. Romans 8:1-3 says: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.". We don't have the power to change ourselves, or save ourselves; it's by His power!

It's good to ask God for help, but we must not neglect first asking His will in all things, go make our own plans, and then expect Him to go along with our self-appointed "blessings" (see previous point about "Eat, drink, and be merry"!). In other words, the phrase "God helps those who help themselves" makes us put hope in our own strength, turns us into our own god, and promotes total self-reliance instead of obedience and total surrender to God. Yes, stop relying on your own power, and rely on God instead. It seems backwards, but that's how faith works! Here's Jeremiah 17:5-8 AMP:

"Cursed is the man who trusts in and relies on mankind,

Making [weak, faulty human] flesh his strength,

And whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord.

For he will be like a shrub in the [parched] desert;

And shall not see prosperity when it comes,

But shall live in the rocky places of the wilderness,

In an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord

And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.

For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,

That spreads out its roots by the river;

And will not fear the heat when it comes;

But its leaves will be green and moist.

And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought

Nor stop bearing fruit."

See also Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13: "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

3. God Doesn't Give Us More Than We Can Handle

If we weren't given more than we can handle, then how would we grow in faith? This quote is from 1 Corinthians 10:13 and is actually referring to temptation:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can handle. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

God does, in fact, allow suffering. In the story of Job, Satan argues to God that Job is only good because God blessed him so abundantly. So Satan asks God for permission take everything good away. God allows Satan to kill Job's family and destroy pretty much everything he has, even his health. The only thing off limits was Job's life.

Job 1:20-22: "Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, 'I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!' In all of this, Job did not sin or blame God." In verse 2:3, God says to Satan: "He (Job) fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” Job's friends thought he was being punished for having some secret sin, but in truth, God was showing He's in total control, and Job rightfully and accurately acknowledged it.

Job 2:9-10: "His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.". This book teaches us the proper attitude, and the wrong attitude. It's unclear whether Job's wife was resentful or trying to be helpful by basically encouraging him to commit suicide. That actually would have aligned with what Satan wanted, which was to take his life, but God said no. Even Job's wife probably thought he did something to deserve this. Now we see why we should be careful to never blame the victim!

God is not the one who enacts evil; He has all the power to hold it back or to allow it. Job ultimately decides to persist in seeking wisdom and continue avoiding evil. He says to God in 42:1-3: "Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I - and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me." God then restored everything that was lost, and gave Job even more than he had in the beginning. God loves a humble heart.

Isaiah 55:8-9: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

James 1:2-8: "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."

4. I'll Get to Heaven if My Good Outweighs My Bad

Of all the misquotes and misunderstandings, this one is perhaps the most dangerous.

Romans 3:28: "Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith (in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, taking the punishment we deserved, onto Himself). So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law."

Galatians 2: 16, 21: "Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die."

However, this doesn't give us a "free pass" to go on sinning.

Matthew 5:17-19: “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill it. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Romans 3:31: "Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law."

Check out this warning from Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 AMP:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’"

If you're wondering, a few of Jesus' commands are:

Matthew 6:15: "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Mark 12:29-31: “The most important commandment is this: ‘The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

John 3:3: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

(More info about the commands of Jesus here)

5. Money is the Root of All Evil

Money in itself isn't evil. Those who work deserve their pay. Money can be used for many good purposes. The actual quote from 1 Timothy 6:10 is: "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows."

Luke 16:13: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Proverbs 11:28: "Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring."

And a prophesy made 2,000 years ago about the dangers of the last days (our current time) from 2 Timothy 1-5: "In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!"

6. Praying to Angels, Saints, or Anyone Other than God or Jesus

1 Timothy 2:5: "There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity - the man Christ Jesus."

Luke 11:27-28: "As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother - the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”" Jesus is our mediator. We have been called to focus on following Him and no one else.

Though Mary gave birth to our Savior, she was also his follower and had no part in his ministry. In fact, when people came to her with a question, she pointed them to her Son! John 2:3-5: "The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”. Jesus makes clear He was on a mission from God, and not subject to his mother's authority.

Matthew 12:46-50: "As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother! Jesus shows that our discipleship to Him, and our obedience to God, is of the highest importance. This command is satisfied through no one else.

Acts 4:12: "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Salvation is only through Jesus, and no other name!

John 14:6: "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."". We have been told by Jesus to pray to no one else. Only to God and Jesus, directly.

How can we know that Jesus is correct when He says he's the only way? John 8:28-29: "I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me - he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” This shows that everything Jesus said is a direct message from God, and is to be trusted, especially when he says Salvation comes through no one else, and he will be our Judge. John 5:30: "I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will."

Matthew 23:9 AMP: "Do not call anyone on earth [who guides you spiritually] your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven."

Colossians 2:18 AMP: "Let no one defraud you of your prize [your freedom in Christ and your salvation] by insisting on mock humility and the worship of angels." It goes on to say that such people have sinful minds, and are not connected to Christ.

Romans 8:34: "Who then will condemn us? No one - for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us." Not Mary, not the Saints, not the angels, only Jesus. He is our Savior.

Isaiah 44:10: "Who but a fool would make his own god - an idol that cannot help him one bit? All who worship idols will be disgraced." When we pray to someone other than God or Jesus, we have made them an idol.

1 Samuel 12:20-21: “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you - they are totally useless!"

1 Timothy 4:1-2: "Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead."

Colossians 2:8-10: "Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority."

2 Peter 1:2-4: "May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires."

7. You're always saved as long as you were baptized or gave your heart to Jesus

While we are saved by grace, it may be possible to lose salvation, by constant, intentional disregard and deliberate rejection of the faith. Romans 2:1,5-8: "You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness."

Hebrews 10:26: "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth (of salvation through Jesus), there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins."

John 5:14: "But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”

James 4:4-5: "Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him"

Matthew 7:14-15: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."

Mark 9:43: "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands."

Hebrews 1:11 (God says about Jesus): "They will perish, but you remain forever." It continues, 2:1 AMP: "For this reason [that is, because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth."

Matthew 24:42-51: “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Are you ready for the Lord's return? Jesus is coming soon!

If you'd like to be sure of your salvation in Jesus, read this!

Share this article:


Recent Posts

See All