There are many misconceptions about what the Bible really says and means. Here are a few things everyone thinks are Biblical, but they are not in the Bible:

  1. Gambling prohibited:
    There are suggestions not to gamble, but no prohibition is found.
  2. Polygamy prohibited:
    It is prohibited only for elders and deacons in I Timothy 3:2,12. In I Corinthians 7, Paul strongly suggests monogamy, to prevent jealousy and strife in families. The lack of a prohibition is to protect from divorce the spouses of new believers who are already in multiple marriages. Jesus does say that polygamy was not intended, but doesn't ban it.
  3. Alcoholic beverages prohibited:
    Medicinal use is recommended in I Timothy 5:23. The book of Proverbs discriminates between drinking and being drunk.
  4. Masturbation prohibited:
    The sin in Genesis 38:9 was not producing offspring for Er's line. Onan did this so that he, not sons sired for Er, would get the inheritance.
  5. Celibate Priests:
    Contradicted in Leviticus 21:7,9,13; I Timothy 4:3. Paul suggests celibacy in I Corinthians 7:8 so a man will keep his mind on the Lord, but tells those who need marriage to marry. Actually, there is no provision at all for priests in the New Testament, because the Holy Spirit replaced the function of priests.
  6. Three wise men:
    Nowhere in the Bible does it say how many there were, but there must have been quite a few to have disturbed Herod so much. Three gifts were mentioned.
  7. Seven deadly sins:
    This list is in a Catholic catechism (doctrinal text), not the Bible.
  8. Jesus fell three times on the way to Calvary:
    This is Catholic tradition. It not found in the Bible.
  9. God weighs good acts against bad to determine who goes to Heaven:
    He considers only two things: (If the person has not heard the plan, or has only partially understood it, that person is held responsible for only what was heard and understood.)
  10. Being good will get you into heaven:
    See previous entry.
  11. Pray to the Virgin Mary, or the Saints:
    This is actually prohibited in Exodus 20. The New Testament clearly says to pray to only Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Father.
  12. Saints are special people:
    The way the Bible uses the word, it refers to all believers. If you have accepted Jesus Christ, you are a saint.
  13. A Secret Rapture of the saved:
    With a large number of people rising to meet the Lord in the air (I Thessalonians 4:17), there is no way it could remain secret.
  14. The date of the Rapture:
    On the contrary, Jesus says that no one CAN know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36,42). Anyone trying to figure out the date is wasting his time.
  15. Angels are higher than man:
    On the contrary, I Corinthians 6:3 says that the saved will judge angels.
  16. Angels have halos:
    Nowhere is a halo mentioned. This is a creation of artists. It may derive from the glow on Moses' face after he was in the presence of God.
  17. The Holy Spirit is only for the clergy:
    The Holy Spirit is our seal of salvation. Ephesians 1:13-14 says that when we believe, we are marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance.
  18. Favor the poor when judging a lawsuit:
    Exodus 23:3 says, "And do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit." Leviticus 19:15 says, "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."
  19. The Bible prohibits capital punishment:
    Actually, it is prescribed many times in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The Bible prohibits murder, not execution. The text in Exodus 20:13 is accurately translated "Do not commit murder."
  20. Animals have the right to not be killed by man:
    This is erroneously taken from Exodus 20:13. See previous entry.
  21. Musical instruments are not used in New Testament worship:
    The Bible is silent on whether or not instruments were used in first century worship. Most likely, the authors did not waste valuable writing space on things not essential to God's plan of salvation. Or maybe they sold their instruments to feed the poor.
  22. Dancing is prohibited in worship:
    This is based on misreading II Samuel 6:20 as a condemnation of dancing. It was actually Michal's jealousy speaking. She was punished by God for this attitude three verses later.
  23. "God helps those who help themselves"
    This is from Benjamin Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac," not the Bible. Proverbs 3:5 says to trust the Lord and not your own understanding.
  24. "Spare the rod and spoil the child"
    This text is nowhere in the Bible, although the meaning of it is. This is also from "Poor Richard's Almanac." Proverbs 13:24 says to discipline. So does Proverbs 22:15;23:13-14. The text actually says to use a rod.
  25. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"
    This is from Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Exodus 22:25 says you may lend, but you may not charge God's people interest. Deuteronomy 15:8 says to lend a poor man anything he needs.