Have You Ever Wondered—
“Does the Bible Say That?”
THE Bible is the world’s best seller. It has had greater influence upon the world than any other book. Yet, some very wrong things were done by people who claimed that the Bible supported them. Also, many unusual statements have been credited to the Bible.
ARE PEOPLE’S CLAIMS ALWAYS TRUE?
Surely you agree that people can misread a passage or repeat something from hearsay. Also, persons seeking support for some crooked act could easily twist a Bible statement or take it out of its context. Or a person may have some cherished ideal, religious belief or personal opinion and look for any kind of support from the Book of books.
What are some common ideas attributed to the Bible?
Does it say: “The earth will be burned up”?
Here is a case where some persons have taken a Bible verse out of its context and have twisted its meaning. True, at 2 Peter 3:7 the Bible states: “The heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment.” But the context of the verse shows that the words “the heavens and the earth” do not refer to the literal starry heavens and the ground we walk upon.
Previous verses speak of ‘heavens and an earth of old’ that were destroyed by water. What was it that perished during the global flood of Noah’s day? Wicked people. Yes, a violent society, along with those individuals who ruled over them like a “heavens,” was drowned. The literal starry heavens and our earth remained. In this instance the earth is used in a symbolic way, referring to people. It is used similarly at Genesis 11:1, which says: “Now all the earth continued to be of one language.” Certainly it is people, not the ground, that use language. So with the coming day of judgment there will be a “destruction of the ungodly men,” the symbolic “earth.” However, our planet Earth will remain and will be converted into a global paradise.—2 Pet. 3:5-7; Ps. 37:10, 11; Eccl. 1:4.
Another saying attributed to the Bible has been very much misunderstood over the years.
Does it say: “Money is the root of all evil”?
The simple fact is that the Bible does not make this statement. What, then, does it say that is similar? With a significant difference it states: “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.”—1 Tim. 6:10.
What a world of difference those three extra words make! Can money itself be blamed for what people do with it? Much good can be accomplished through its wise use. On the other hand, if the desire to possess money becomes the all-consuming love in life, therein lies the root of all sorts of injurious things, intrigue and murder among them. So what the Bible does say is nicely balanced and true.
Does it say: “God cursed the blacks”?
This statement was used to support the slave trade and the subsequent oppression of the black people. How did it come about? Is this statement really in the Bible?
No, it is not. In Genesis, chapter 9, there is the account of Ham’s son Canaan, who was cursed by his grandfather, Noah, in these words: “Cursed be Canaan. Let him become the lowest slave to his brothers.”
In the course of history, the Canaanites were subjected by the Israelites and later by various world powers. But did this fulfillment have anything to do with the black races? No. How do we know? Simply because none of Canaan’s offspring were black. In fact, it was Ham’s other sons, Cush and Put, who settled in Africa and fathered the races of black people living there. The Bible does not say that these other sons or their descendants were cursed by God.
In the face of this evidence, why do people still cling to this myth? In some countries, as in the United States prior to the Civil War, economic advantages in certain areas fit conveniently into such a pattern of thinking. For other individuals, the nurturing of a feeling of superiority may make them feel good. The fact remains, however, that the Bible does not say the black people are, or ever were, cursed by God.
So, with the Bible in hand, there is no need to be misled at any time. Anyway, is it not fairer and safer to check it for yourself, rather than to accept hearsay? Then you can be sure that your faith will be strengthened by the many good things the Bible has to say!—2 Tim. 3:16.