“That Can’t Be in the Bible!

” Two of the Bible verses that I first learned were “God helps those who help themselves” and “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Neither of these “verses,” however, is actually found in the Bible. But, they do reflect the morality of American civil religion, a sentimental mindset based on individualism and governed by utilitarianism. Civil religion combined with widespread biblical illiteracy has produced a societal “story” that has led many people to assume that these sayings, and others like them, are found in divinely, authoritative text and, therefore, have God’s imprimatur. On the other hand, the passages listed below ARE found in the Bible. Followers of Jesus regard the Bible as the essential book. They believe it is inspired by God—the Word of God—the fully reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative source and standard for Christian faith and life. Does this stance toward the Bible match the way professing followers of Jesus understand and heed the following passages? If not, then why not? Maybe these passages are inextricably bound to an age and culture so different from ours that they no longer apply. Or perhaps they will apply in a future dispensation. Possibly they should be viewed more as ideals to which one should aspire. Maybe they are like proverbs which one must apply differently in different situations. How about interpreting them figuratively? And, isn’t it possible that their apparent meaning would be different if they were understood in light of the historical and literary context in which they were written? Finally, couldn’t they be literary creations added to Scripture over time by well-intentioned people? But, what if we treated these passages as “essential,” “inspired by God—the Word of God”: “fully reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative” “for Christian faith and life”? What if we took them at their face value, and understood them in a way which corresponds to their apparent meaning? What if we don’t? • • Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12. Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39. Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39, 44 – 45. Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him,

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he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:21 – 23. • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17 – 21. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:9 – 11. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:44 – 45. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17 – 18. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9 – 10. Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25. Do not swear at all. Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:34, 37. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36 – 37. All liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Revelation 21:8. What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said, Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Mark 10:17, 21. Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

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And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. Then Jesus said to his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:15 – 23, 29 – 34. • This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. 1 John 3:16 – 20.