Begin Your Free Ordination

Phantoms of the Bible

Posted on by Reverend Thomas


Famous “biblical” passages that are oft quoted but never actually found anywhere, on any page, of any bible.

Before you get your free online ordination, here is something to remember before officiating a ceremony or giving a sermon….

These phantoms are far from normal phantoms in both characteristics and behaviors. Phantoms are generally unseen and mysterious whereas phantom bible verses are quite the opposite. Often quoted, in fact more so than real verses, these verses have caused scores of people to look foolish as they misquote the book they keep closest to their hearts.

Phantom bible verses are some of the most commonly quoted passages from the Bible that are not actually written by any apostle or holy messenger. They are ideas that bolster or agree with commonly held ideas, so people assume that they must be in line with their religion. Or, at the very least, in the book somewhere because it is a really big book but while ideological cohesion may be a fact, those words being God’s words is false.

Often times an error in paraphrasing, misquoting the Bible is a common American practice. Mistaking the words of the pragmatic Benjamin Franklin, “God helps those who help themselves” for a passage in the Bible is a common practice. This is in spite of the fact that something like that is completely at odds with the general message of the Bible. (Everyone knows Ben Franklin wasn’t much of a Christian)

Another common biblical mismatch is the adage “spare the rod, spoil the child.” While this is very close to Proverbs 23:14 “…thou shalt beat him with the rod and deliver his soul from Hell…” While only superficial differences, when quoting something the actual words are very important. Otherwise, it is not a quote.

The Bible is generally misquoted because of the high biblical illiteracy rate amongst Americans. Many times people will hear an idea that is very much in line with their own and assume it must be part of the Bible. “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is a good example of this. While cleanliness is often mentioned in the Bible, spiritual cleanliness is what is in question, not your house.

Twitter is something else that has had an effect on the content of the Bible. Because of the sound byte culture we have cultivated, people are prone to appreciate things that are less than 160 characters because it is sensational and easy to remember. However, being so short people feel little need to commit these bytes to memory and end up misquoting them. (The irony)

While this may seem to be a matter of splitting hairs, sometimes to misquote the Bible can lead to some terrible advice. For instance, “the truth shall set you free” is believed by some to be from the Bible and believed by others to be a law of nature. The actual quote is “you shall know the truth, and knowing the truth shall make you free.”

No matter your policy on truth, it is undeniable that both the words and the sentiments of those two statements are different.

The ULC Ministries wants to make sure that before you decide to become a minister online you have the resources you need to avoid these faux pas. If you have any questions please see our

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