What the Bible never said
Eve at an apple
What the Bible does say is that the serpent (Devil) tempted Eve with a particular fruit from a particular tree – the very one God had forbidden her to eat from. The Bible does not describe the fruit other than it was ‘good for food and pleasing to the eye – and also desirable for getting wisdom’ (Genesis 3:6). We therefore cannot know exactly what fruit it was that Eve was tempted to eat, but the main point to the account in Genesis is that Eve did the only thing she had been forbidden to do by God.
Jonah was swallowed by a whale
The book of Jonah tells of one of the most famous miracles of the Old Testament. ‘Jonah and the Whale’ certainly do the rounds at Sunday Schools everywhere, but actually, the whale is not a whale, but a large fish. The text in Jonah says: ‘But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). There we have it; it’s a fish, not a whale. The Jews had to be good at categorising things, because certain things were considered ‘clean’ (kosher) for them to eat, but others were not; the Jews were able to eat fish, which they defined as having ‘both fins and scales’ (Leviticus 11:9), and therefore they would have differentiated between a whale, which has fins but no scales and is a mammal, and a fish which would have both fins and scales. All that considered, Jonah still spent a lot of time in a big fish and got puked up on a beach.
Jesus fed 5000 people
Actually Jesus fed far more than this; each of the four gospel accounts refer to this miracle known as ‘feeding the 5,000’, but it was only the men who were counted. Matthew says ‘The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children’ (Matthew 14:21). Therefore, as you can imagine, probably a lot more were fed on that day, although some men may have come alone to hear Jesus out of curiosity, it is highly likely that many whole families came to hear Jesus speak, which could at least double this figure.
There are 7 deadly sins
This is an invention of the early Roman Catholic Church. The catholics were right in that many sins are derived from one of these seven urges, but even so, the urge is not important. All sins are deadly, no matter how small or seemingly innocuous. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Every sin has the power to condemn a person to hell. A person has only to sin once. The remedy, however, is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness that is handed out freely to all who truly repent. To say that some sins are deadly, therefore implying that some are not gives a skewed view of the human condition, and of the power of God. All people need forgiveness, ‘for all have sinned’ (Romans 3:23).
Cleanliness is next to godliness
There is no biblical basis for this at all! This is an adage that was probably coined to blackmail grubby kids into having a wash. What Jesus did say, however, ‘You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean (Matthew 23:25-26). In Jesus’ book, it’s the inside that matters; you can buff and polish the exterior all you want, but that is not what matters – a person’s motives and drives and beliefs are what counts, not whether they wash behind their ears or not. Sloppy kids everywhere are off the hook. It’s official.
All you need is love
Sorry folks, it’s not biblical, it dates from the 1960s, flower power and the Beatles. What the Bible does say, however, is that love is great. It says ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevered. Love never fails… And now these three things remain: – faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’ (I Corinthians 13:4-8 and verse 13). Love is big. It is a catalyst for many great things. It is the currency of the eternal kingdom.
Jesus was born in a stable
Whilst it is true that Jesus slept in a manger (Luke 2:16), it does not necessarily follow that Jesus was born in a cowshed, indeed, Matthew is positive that when the wise men visited (although this may have been some time later) they arrived at the house where Jesus was (Matthew 2:11), possibly a house belonging to some of Joseph’s relatives. In the Middle East at this time it was common practice for people to live with their animals inside the house. Mangers would have been found in houses because animals not only were a source of food, but were also a source of warmth and of manure which could be used for fuel. For this reason, and also because animals were the livelihood of the family and therefore needed to be protected from thieves, livestock would have been kept indoors, and so mangers were needed in the house.
© 2010 Squeaky Jesus