Have you ever heard an overly zealous street preacher spouting out fiery claims in the name of God or reciting terrifying quotes that he assures you come straight from scripture? How often have we all been guilty of taking such people at their word, simply because they proceeded their rants with the all too common phrase, “the Bible tells us….”? The truth is, you might be surprised at the number of "Bible truths" floating around out there that aren't actually backed by the Bible at all.
Here you'll find some of the most common beliefs falsely attributed to the Bible as well as the low down on where they actually come from. You’ll learn the truth about things such as why your Christmas nativity scene may not be as true to history as you think and what well-known phrases actually go back to famous figures like Ben Franklin and even Bono rather than Biblical prophets.So if you’re ready to set the record straight on time-honored Biblical lore, this is the list for you. Below you’ll find nothing but the cold hard facts as to which common Christian beliefs are a bit of a stretch and which are flat out misconceptions all together.
Baby Jesus Was Visited by Three Kings from the East
Although the gospel of Matthew records the story of baby Jesus being visited by wise men from the East, the Bible never says that they are kings, that they rode camels, or even that there were three of them. The number three is often assumed by scholars due to the fact that the wise men presented Jesus with three gifts, though there's no evidence that they weren't actually presented by more than three men.
Some scholars believe that the wise men were actually Babylonian Magi who may have been familiar with the prophecies of Daniel, of the lion's den fame. You see, not only did Daniel have a way with big kitties of the ferocious variety, he went on to become the chief seer and head of all the Babylonian Magi during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.His prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 laid out a timeline for the coming Messiah which the visitors of baby Jesus may have used to help determine when to expect Him. They may have additionally been familiar with the prophecy of Balaam in Numbers 24:17 which specifically mentions "a star coming out of Jacob."
Satan Tempted Eve to Eat an Apple in the Garden of Eden
Though the imagery of Eve falling victim to the lure of the serpent and the tasty apple he enticed her to sample is almost universally familiar, the Bible never actually specifies that the fruit was an apple. In fact, Genesis 1:29 actually provides evidence that it certainly wasn't. In the passage, God specifies that it's cool for Adam and Eve to eat from any fruit that bears seeds.Although the wily serpent behind Eve's downfall is often assumed to be the devil in disguise, the Bible never actually suggests this in any way, either. Many have read into the symbolisim, but for all we know it could've just been a super crafty snake who was randomly capable of speech.
December 25 Is Baby Jesus's Birthday
Though we celebrate Jesus's birthday each year on December 25, it's almost unanimously accepted among Biblical scholars that this was not the actual date of Christ's birth.
In fact, the only clues that the Bible gives as to the timing of the birth of Jesus - such as the fact that there were shepherds living or camping in the fields with their sheep and that a national census was under way - make it far more likely that He was born in the summer or fall.
Mary Magdalene Was a Prostitute Before She Met Jesus
There's actually no evidence in the Bible that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute or even an adulteress. The only time she's ever mentioned before the crucifixion or resurrection of Christ is in Luke 8:2 , when she's listed as one of Jesus's followers who has been released from the power of seven demons.It was only in later years (and only in the Western Church) that Magdalene came to be identified as either the "sinful woman" of Luke 7, who may or may not have been a prostitute); or the adulterous woman in John 8, who Jesus saves from stoning. That she was either of these woman however, is based purely on speculation and is in no way supported by the Bible.