Here are eight sayings Christians often get wrong about the Bible. These aren’t heretical statements; they’re just a few Sunday morning clichés which could use a fact-check. How many of these expressions have you said or heard?
1. “David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone.”
The ending of this popular story is more graphic than most storybook Bibles suggest. Yes, David’s stone makes Goliath fall to the ground. However, the killing blow was not actually the impact of the rock. It was David striking Goliath with the giant’s own sword and cutting off his head (1 Samuel 17:51). If you think of David being a precursor to Jesus, there’s theologically rich foreshadowing found in David using one of the enemy’s own weapons to defeat him. (Consider how Jesus used death to defeat Satan.)
2. “When Christ returns, the lion shall lie down with the lamb.”
While lions and lambs make for good alliteration, Isaiah 11:6 actually puts a wolf and lamb side-by-side. There’s a lion in the passage also, but it’s paired with a cow. The groupings of animals doesn’t really affect the theology of this passage, but inserting Saint Nicholas into the mix? Well, let’s not go there.
Found this in a gift shop today. If your eschatology of Isaiah 11:6 contains Santa, you’re doing it wrong. pic.twitter.com/w9ThrriV5A
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronBWilson26) May 23, 2016
3. “The last book of the Bible is Revelations.”
Unlike Psalms and Proverbs, which are collections of writings, the last book of the Bible doesn’t have a title that’s plural. Instead, the book goes by the name, Revelation (with no “s” at the end). It’s one long, connected, revelation – given from God to John on the island of Patmos.
4. “No prophet arises from Galilee.”
This phrase was uttered by the Pharisees to discredit Jesus (John 7:52). Although the Pharisees were dead wrong about Jesus, most Christians assume these religious experts knew their stuff regarding Old Testament prophets. However, a fact check reveals the prophet Jonah was a Galilean, coming from a small town near Nazareth (2 Kings 14:25). The Pharisees must have missed the Jonah session of their Old Testament survey class.
5. “Wise men presented gifts at Jesus’ birth.”
This one’s going to completely throw off the balance of your nativity set, but there were actually no wise men or magi giving gifts at Jesus’ birth. Rather, the wise men appeared two years later when Jesus was a toddler. Shout out to the It’s All About Jesus Storybook Bible for fixing this common error in storybook Bibles:
6. “Paul wrote more of the New Testament than any other author.”
Paul may have written more books than any other NT writer, but by sheer volume, the honor goes to Luke whose gospel and sequel in Acts take up the largest chunk of the New Testament. Luke was also a doctor, so it appears he kept pretty busy.
7. “Only those who trust in Christ will be resurrected from the dead.”
Christians aren’t the only ones who will be resurrected. Instead, Scripture states that all humans will be resurrected at Christ’s return (John 5:28-29). The redeemed will be resurrected to a glorious state; the lost will be resurrected to a state of ever-lasting torment. Knowing that all people will experience eternity in bodily form makes Heaven all the more desirable and Hell all the more hideous.
8. “Saul became Paul at his conversion.”
The story of Saul becoming Paul makes for a popular Sunday School lesson, but Scripture only records that Saul was also known as Paul (Acts 13:9). It doesn’t specify that these two names separated his life before and after salvation. In fact, the name Saul is still used in Scripture after his conversion in Acts 9 and in several chapters that follow (this represents an extended period of ministry). However, it’s worth noting that the name Paul is used exclusively in all of the apostle’s epistles.
How’d you do? Had any of these Christian clichés crept into your subconscious? One of the blessings of reading through the Bible is being able to evaluate statements (trivial and serious) based off one’s personal knowledge of the text.
Of course, reading Scripture isn’t about uncovering interesting facts; it’s about discovering the Savior all these facts point to. If becoming a better Bible reader was on your New Year’s resolution list, here’s a method I’ve benefited from and recommend. It will take you through the entire Bible in just over a year-and-a-half.