Occasionally somebody will say, “The Bible says” and then utter what sounds like a profound truth. It may resemble a verse of scripture and thus some people will believe it. The statement may even be true in principle but this does not guarantee it is actually inspired scripture. For example, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is similar in thought to Proverbs 13:24. However, God’s word states, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly (NKJV).” A person may object saying that is only a minor difference. While that may be so, every word of the Bible is there for a reason. God said man shall live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Man’s paraphrase is guilty of adding to and/or taking away from God’s word and that is forbidden by the LORD (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18, 19).
Another example of a phrase occasionally attributed to the Bible is, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” The books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy have a lot to say about uncleanness and washing. While the scriptures teach the importance of good hygiene (e.g., Deuteronomy 23:13), there is no verse in the holy writ resembling the phrase just cited.
There are a variety of reasons why a person would attribute a saying to the Bible. Some are simply ignorant of Biblical teaching and may be just repeating what they have heard. It is important to make sure a statement is really contained in God’s word instead of parroting it. Without diligence a soul may accept something as inspired truth when it is merely man’s opinion.
Others want to use the Bible to give credibility to their views. Naïve souls are more likely to accept a particular statement when they are told it is from the Bible. Some speakers knowingly use this to their advantage to gain approval of their agenda.
The Bible warns about those who use smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple. Please stop and think. Did you accept that assertion just because a preacher wrote it? I hope not. Perhaps you recognize it is part of Romans 16:18. Even if it sounds familiar you ought to verify that I quoted and used it correctly. Some accidentally misquote a verse while others do so intentionally. In either case we must be careful to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39) to see where in the Bible it is found. If it is not, we ought to kindly explain this to the speaker. Hopefully, the person will be honest enough to stop attributing it to the Holy Scriptures.
A fairly current instance where a statement has been called scripture comes from Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives. Since December 2005 she has used a phase at least six times calling it scripture. On October 22, 2007, in a television interview with PBS host Tavis Smiley she stated, “In the Old Testament, Isaiah says, “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship [emphasis added; DHB]. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.” In this year’s Earth Day written news release (April 22) she said the same thing only leaving out “Isaiah says.” This information was obtained from FOX news and CNSNews.com.
No such statement is found in the entire Bible, especially the book of Isaiah. Neither is this even close to any passage of scripture. Pelosi has been challenged on this point but so far her office has not commented on it.
Why be concerned about this quote? It is dangerous because it can influence people to accept a false view about worship. While God wants people to employ good stewardship with this earth, He also gave man dominion over it (Genesis 1:26, 28).
Failing to investigate can cause souls to be misled. It is always wise to verify statements ascribed to God’s word. If they are not found in the Bible they have no authority in matters of faith. Such “scriptures” ought to be exposed and rejected.
Article can be found at William L. Schwegler's website SCHWEGLER.US.