The Bible: Hits And Misses

The bible is filled with beauty, history, love, sex, and many valuable lessons.  If viewed with a cynical eye it can seem almost cult like and frightening.  It has also been misquoted or incorrectly attributed in many cases.

On this Sunday I am going to share a few Bible hits, a couple of misses, and other little not well known tidbits of information.

Bible Misses:

Is it in the bible?

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

No it isn’t.  Its a Chinese Proverb.

“God helps those who help themselves.”


The phrase originated in ancient Greece and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney‘s work.

Some Christians have criticized the expression as being contrary to the Bible’s message of God’s grace.

What about the following?

“Spare the rod and spoil the child”

Well, it’s sort of in the bible, but the bible doesn’t say it in this way.  If you read Proverbs you will find that it refers to the subject of disciplining children, but the above exact words are not in the bible.

Proverbs 22:15  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him

Proverbs 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Proverbs 29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

The actual quote came from the poem “Hudibras” written by poet and satirist Samuel Butler in 1664.

“To thine own self be true.”

Not in the bible.  It’s a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Yes it’s in the bible, but it’s taken out of context.  This quote is more of a mis-quote than anything else.  It’s in Matthew 7:1 but if you read the rest of what the bible says about this you will learn that the bible isn’t telling us to never judge, but if we do judge, we should expect to be judged in kind.

 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

And now for some interesting tidbits about the bible that you may not have known.

The earliest form of birth control came from Onan, the second son of Judah.  After his older brother Er died, Onan’s father and Hebrew law forced him to marry Er’s wife.  Onan wasn’t too wild about this so this is what he did:

Genesis 38:9  And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

Unfortunately, his coitus interruptus cost him his life:

Genisis 38:10  And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

There is reference of cannibalism in the bible:

The famine:

2 Kings 6:25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.

When the King does his victory ride around the city:

2 Kings 6:26  And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

The woman explains that she is angry because another women didn’t live up to her end of the bargain of eating their sons to stave off starvation:

2 Kings 6:27-29  And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?

28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.

29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

The King was much disturbed and tore his clothes off in a rage after being confronted with the truth of what the war and subsequent famine caused.  And then he blamed Elisha:

2 Kings 6:30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.

31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

There are many verses in the bible that I love, but none as much as this:

Matthew 7:6  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

This has been fun. Maybe I’ll do it again some time!

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