A malapropism is the misuse of a word, specifically a word that sounds like or is similar to another. Think of “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” Or, “Good punctuation means never being late.” What I am calling Bible malapropisms are not words but phrases and ideas that many think are in the Bible and sometimes quote as if they are in the Bible. Maybe there is a better term for this, but I could not think of one. These Bible Malapropism are simply principles that sound Biblical, but are not. I have a list of about fifteen, let us consider the first five today.
- God helps those that help themselves. No, that is not in the Bible. There is this passage, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Yet that is specific to Christians who refuse to work because of a mistaken understanding of Christ’s return, and they are living off the benevolence of others.
- Everything happens for a reason. This sounds like a statement of faith. It sounds like we are trusting God when we say that, but this is not in scripture. Yet, not everything that happens to us is because God planned it to teach us a lesson or to prepare us for something else. Sometimes things happen because we are living in a fallen world. Romans 8:28 does say, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” That does not say God causes everything. Paul is saying God can and will work for our best no matter the situation we find ourselves in.
- Money is the root of all evil. The passage actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10).
- God will not give you more than you can handle. This sounds great, but is not from the Bible. This statement is closely related to Number 2 above and assumes that what you are going through is from God and He has a reason you are going through it. I think this is a misuse of 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Here Paul is teaching that we there is always a way for us to avoid sin, even in the strongest temptation.
- God wants me to be happy. This is phrase comes up when we want an excuse to do what we want to do. Paul does talk about learning to be content (Philippians 4:11-12) and Jesus in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12) talks about becoming blessed or happy, but NOWHERE does God’s Word say that God wants me to be happy by doing what I want to do. God wants me to be Holy in Christ and in that holiness and in serving God through Christ, I find contentment, fulfillment and true happiness.