Orthodox Christianity teaches that the Bible was inspired and authored by the Holy Spirit of God using human instruments. It also believes that in its original languages of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic; it is without error and fault.
However, there are many things that Jesus-following, church-going, Bible-believing Christians believe that are completely unbiblical. How does this happen? Often, we’ll hear someone quote a statement that sounds nice to us, and we’ll begin repeating it as though it’s biblical truth without ever researching it in the Scriptures. Several of these unbiblical statements have gained enough traction that many people believe they’re actually Bible verses. Not only are the statements unbiblical; most of them teach the opposite of what the Bible teaches.
Here is a list of nine popular unbiblical statements that Bible-loving Christians tend to believe:
1. God helps those who help themselves.
This statement is actually anti-Gospel. Self-reliance and self-righteousness, or the attitude of trying harder and doing better, actually gets in the way of the work of God. Jesus saves those who die to themselves: “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).
2. God wants me to be happy.
It’s a common belief that God exists to be our “personal genie,” waiting to give us our every wish. It’s amazing how we will justify our sinful actions by saying, “God just wants me to be happy.” Happiness is tied to feelings and emotions that are often based on circumstances, and those change all the time. God wants us to be obedient to Him, trust Him and know that everything He does is for our good, even if it doesn’t make me feel “happy” in that moment. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
3. We’re all God’s children.
Although God has created everyone…not everyone relationally belongs to Him. Only those who have repented of sin, placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and possess the Holy Spirit of God inside of them can claim Him as their Father: “But you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15b–16).
However, those who don’t have Jesus as their Savior, nor have the Holy Spirit of God inside of them, actually belong to Satan: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1 – 2). “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).
4. Cleanliness is next to godliness.
The people around you may appreciate you staying clean, but this is not Scripture. Parents may use this unbiblical statement to motivate their kids to clean their rooms. However, I’d suggest using an actual biblical statement: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
5. God won’t give you more than you can handle.
Actually, all of life is more than we can handle. The point of living in a fallen world is not for us to try really hard to carry our heavy burden, but rather give-up, quit and surrender to God, that’s what faith is all about. Everything is more than I can handle, but not more than Jesus can handle: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
6. We all worship the same God.
Yes, there is only one true and living God: “Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39). However, He only accepts worship that comes through Jesus Christ, not Muhammad, Buddha, Joseph Smith, etc: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
7. Bad things happen to good people.
Often we place ourselves in the judgment seat of what is good and bad, or who is good and bad. The most popular way to make that judgment is by comparison. For example, Bob is a good guy, because he is not as bad as Sam. However, according to the Bible, we’re all on equal ground because none of us is inherently good: “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10).
8. When you die, God gains another angel.
Plain and simple. Humans are humans, and angels are angels. This remains so even in eternity. In fact, angels are intrigued by the interaction between God and His “image-bearing” humans: “It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12).
9. We’re all going to the same place when we die.
There are two possible destinations when we pass: Heaven and Hell. However, only those who are in Christ will be with Him for all eternity when they physically die: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
The fact that many of us Christians believe these unbiblical statements shows our unfortunate overall biblical illiteracy. Instead of swallowing popular statements hook-line-and-sinker, may we be like the Bereans in the Book of Acts. When they heard Paul preach, they wanted to research the Scriptures themselves to authenticate what he was saying: “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:10 – 11).
What are some more unbiblical statements that you’ve heard Christians commonly use?