This is the thirteenth time I’ve written an “Out of Context Verse” article. Each time, the title has listed the reference for the out of context verse. But not this one. Why?
Because this isn’t even in the Bible.
It surprised me too. I was doing what I do every week before writing this article: scouring the internet for cliche verses that are inevitably taken out of context, and there it was. I had to do multiple searches to verify that this phrase that I had quoted over and over again, wasn’t ever in the Bible.
The closest verse that I found to this saying, is in 2 Corinthians:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV
But the idea that whatever struggle we’re currently going through can be lessened by the promise from Scripture that “this too shall pass” isn’t anywhere in there, at least not in this life.
And this got me thinking: how many other sayings are out there that people think are in the Bible, that aren’t actually there. Here are a few of my favorites:
God helps those who help themselves: While God expects us to take personal responsibility for our lives and our actions, this verse seems to be in direct opposition to the position of the Gospel. I can’t help myself. I’m completely dependent on the grace and mercy of God Almighty in every area of my life. I can make plans and set goals, but if God doesn’t allow things to happen, I’m toast. I’ve learned that in most cases, God helps those who are willing to admit that they CAN’T help themselves.
Blessed and Highly Favored: I have a friend who always answers the question, “How are you?” with this phrase. It may be a good sentiment, but it isn’t in the Bible. Anywhere.
God Moves in Mysterious Ways: Another one that we throw out there when things happen in ways we don’t predict, generally in a positive manner. And while there dozens of verses out there assuring us that God is working above the circumstances, this phrase isn’t in there either.
What are some of your favorite Christian cliches?