Q: #84. I recently read that the term "God helps those who help themselves" isn't in the Bible. Is this true? Are there other things like this not found in the Bible?
A: Yes, it is true. The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible. It is unclear who may have originally coined the term, but it was made popular by Benjamin Franklin in the publication “Poor Farmers Almanac.”
In searching for other phrases like that, I only found a few. (If there are others, please let me know, because I would love to add them.)
Do all things in moderation.
Haste makes waste.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
This too shall pass.
Money is the root of all evil. (1 Tim 6:10) says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”
While I am on this subject, I have made my own little top 10 list of other things people believe about the Bible, or believe are in the Bible, that are misconceptions. (Some could be true, but the Bible doesn’t say they are.)
1. There are women angels.
Note: The Bible never says angels are female.
2. Angels sing.
Note: Can you find any place that says this?
3. The forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden was an apple.
Note: The Bible simply says it was fruit (Gen 3:2-6).
4. Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Note: It was a “great fish” (Jon 1:17), not a whale.
5. Delilah cut Samson’s hair.
Note: She did not (Judg 16:19).
6. Paul fell off of his horse when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus.
Note: The Bible never says this (Acts 9:3-9)(Acts 22:6-11).
7. Paul was murdering Christians before he was converted.
Note: Paul persecuted Christians, breathed threats, and rounded them up to bring to trial, but Scripture never says he killed anyone.
(See: 1 Tim 1:12-13, 1 Cor 15:9 as well as previous Acts verses)
8. Paul wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else.
Note: Paul wrote the most books, but word for word, Luke wrote more.
9. There were three Magi (wisemen) who appeared to Jesus after His birth.
Note: We assume it was three because three gifts were given: gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but Scripture never says there were only three. Many think there were more.
10. The Magi (wisemen) came while Jesus was a newborn baby.
Note: This is VERY unlikely, given the distance the Magi had to travel. Most scholars believe they were likely from Arabia or Persia. From the time the star appeared, until they could get to Bethlehem, had to take well over a year. Jesus was probably close to two years old when they arrived, which is why Herod put forth the order to kill all male children in Bethlehem, and that area, who were 2 years old and younger (Mt 2:16).
One other thing almost all people are taught is that the Bible says, “sin is sin.” The Bible never says this at all. We will discuss this controversial subject in our next question.