Fact: The Bible is the best-selling book of all time.
It’s also probably the most hotly debated book ever. It has changed the lives of so many people and continues to shape the world in ways that we can’t even fathom. Even if you’ve never read it cover to cover, you’ve probably skimmed the pages while in school or even in a hotel room.
But how well do you know The Bible?
From Adam and Eve to The Rapture, there are some pretty big plot points that most people repeatedly get wrong about the religious text…are you one of them?
1. Adam and Eve
The popular misconception about Adam and Eve is that they were banned from the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, but actually, they were banished to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, which would have made them immortal.
2. God is mean in the Old Testament and loving in the New Testament.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Multiple times throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to in a positive light. In Psalm 86, God is described as “compassionate,” “gracious,” and “abounding in love.” In the Old Testament, God also never banished sinners to Hell, something that he does quite frequently in the New Testament. He also strikes Christians dead routinely in the New Testament.
3. Gambling and alcohol
In The Bible, God never condemns drinking alcohol or gambling. Remember, Jesus turned water into wine, so why would he do that if it was condemned? The book also makes no mention of condemning betting, rather it warns against the worship of money.
4. Jesus was born in a stable.
This is a shocker, but nowhere in The Bible does it say that Jesus was born in a stable. Matthew’s telling of Jesus’ birth says that he was born in a house. He only mentions that Jesus was lain in a trough when he was born, which might imply a stable, but it is never specifically stated.
5. The Ten Commandments
There are some troubles with the translations of the Ten Commandments. For instance, “Thou shalt not kill,” has been translated incorrectly because it was originally meant to say, “Thou shalt not murder.” This leaves room for lawful killings, such as self-defense or capital punishment. Also, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name is vain,” doesn’t refer to cussing, but rather claiming to be Godly when you really aren’t.
It was actually Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” Though many people believe that it is from The Bible, it simply isn’t the case.
7. Mary’s travel
There is no mention in The Bible of how Mary traveled to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus. Many people believe that she journeyed there on the back of a donkey, but it isn’t mentioned anywhere specifically.
8. Brother’s keeper question
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a popular quote from The Bible, but no one knows what God’s response to this question is. That’s because God never responds.
9. Jonah and the whale
This classic biblical story is one that everyone knows, but not as well as we all think. You see, it wasn’t a whale that swallowed Jonah at all…it was actually a huge fish. This distinction is rather nit-picky, but whales aren’t fish, they are mammals.
10. Moses’ horns
If you’ve seen statues of Moses, you may have noticed that in many of the representations, he has horns. That’s no mistake. In The Bible, it is specifically stated that those who come into contact with God, like Moses, have horns protruding from their head.
11. The Rapture
The Bible never mentions The Rapture…it just doesn’t. What happens is that it is commonly mistranslated from a Greek word meaning “taken away” when referring to Philip.
12. Three wise men
Many people believe that it was only three kings who visited Jesus, but The Bible never clearly defines how many wise men met with the newborn savior. Three gifts are mentioned, but that’s it. Also, the book says that the wise men visited Jesus when he was in a house, not a manger (Matthew 2:11).
13. Heaven and hell
The Old Testament never mentions heaven or hell. They’re just places people came up with on their own, so by the time the New Testament was written, it was included. However, we don’t go there after we die, but rather at the end of time.
How many of these misconceptions did you fall victim to? Personally, I had no idea about most of them! We should all take the time to sit down and really read The Bible. It’s truly fascinating.