Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seven Things You Won't Find in the Bible...I Dare You To Look

1.  God helps those who help themselves

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly....But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:68

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26

Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:5

2.  Cleanliness is next to godliness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:26-27

3.  God works in mysterious ways

Though uncertain in origin and certainly not found in Scripture (the phrase may originate from William Cowper's hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way"), that God does work in ways curious and beyond the measure of our limited experience and conception is obvious. Deuteronomy 29:29 reminds us that: The secret things belong to the Lord our God. The final chapters of Job present God's reprimand of Job wherein He asks how Job could possibly understand or judge the reasons for God's actions (Job being so far removed from God in power, wisdom, and longevity). 

And perhaps the biggest mystery is revealed us in Romans 8:28. And we know that all thing work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Though we may not understand the purpose of our circumstances in God's plan, we are assured that every detail will work for the benefit of the Redeemed.

4.  To thine own self be true

When prompting people to follow their conscience on matters, the oft-touted "To thine own self be true" is occasionally cited as a Biblical recommendation. In truth, this saying originates in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. Polonius, the older counselor of Prince Hamlet's uncle, King Claudius, is in the midst of dispensing advice to his son Laertes (who was about to leave Denmark and return to France) when he speaks forth the famous line: "This above all things: to thine own self be true" (Hamlet, 3.1.81). Among his platitudes, he also says, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (3.1.78) — another saying occasionally mistaken for Scripture. 

But really how good is Polonius's advice? Scripturally, we can only trust our conscience to guide us as far as it is being informed by the Spirit of God. Men, of their natural selves, are entirely corrupted; and so, to hold true to themselves would be to choose poorly indeed. Rather, we should seek God in prayer and ask Him to guide us in the paths of righteousness (cf. Psalm 23:3). 

5.  This too shall pass

Trials and difficult circumstances are difficult to bear and one comfort that many have come to share with friends assailed by trouble is the saying: "This too shall pass." Though the possible origins of this saying are too many and varied to review in depth, one early reference comes from the Old English poem, Deor (c. AD 10th century).

An adequate question for the believer to ask, though, is how biblical is the comfort found in the reminder that "This too shall pass." Really we should be focusing on the promise of what awaits us who believe. Romans 5 reminds the believer that suffering produces hope for the kingdom of God; if we simply take heart in the temporary end of a given earthly trial, we are finding comfort in the wrong thing.

6.  Moderation in all things

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)

7.  Spare the rod, spoil the child

He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently. Proverbs 13:24

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol. Proverbs 23:13-14

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

(Based on information obtained from the Blue Letter Bible)


Carol Fleisher said...

Great post! I thought most of these were in the Bible. Thanks for helping me to see the truth and go further into the Word of God.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Great blog Gregg, I suppose many of these sayings are handed down through time.

Have a great week-end;

Darlene said...

I especialaly like your comments for #5. So true. I knew of someone who was convinced that the story of the "Drummer Boy" was found in the Bible.He knew it was in there, just didn't know where! Great post.

Scott said...

I appreciate what you're saying, but be careful. While the exact quotes are not found (spare the rod, for example), the principle is there. God does work in mysterious ways, for example the Trinity. That word is also not found anywhere in the Bible, but the truth of it is. Just a cautionary note when saying "it's not in the Bible."

Michelle said...

Thanks Gregg. I really enjoyed this. And because I'm a clean freak... I think John Wesley may have said cleanliness is next to godliness. :)

Meghan Smith said...

Wow, I was quoting Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child this weekend saying it was in proverbs. I'm glad to see the actual references from where we get this phrase.

In other news, "You have to love yourself before you love anyone else" is not in the Bible. I does say, though, "Love your neighbor as yourself."