Summary: Ten sayings not found in Scripture.


1. Many think these “sayings” are quoted from Scripture, but they are just not there. However, they have biblical truths taught (a) in principle, or (b) application.

2. Some wrongly apply some of these “sayings.”

3. Condition: become a man/woman of the book, i.e., the Bible. Know the book, what’s in there; and what’s not there.


1. Moderation in all things. (a) Wrongly applied, i.e., alcohol in moderation, or any sin in moderation. (b) “Everyone who competes for the prize is tempted in all things. “And they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Cor. 9:25). (c) Describes an athlete in training to receive a crown, will discipline his body, train his will, strengthen will power, and set his mind on the goal. (d) To be at the peak of one’s potential.

2. Spare the rod, spoil the child. (a) Wrongly applied, beating a child by itself will build character. (b) Sometimes, opposite. (c) The Bible teaches punishment is one of many ways to build character. (d) “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Prov. 13:24). (e) The “rod” represents the child’s obligation and privilege to past generation. (f) Look at the opposite, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Prov. 29:15).

3. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (a) The truth is found in the Royal Law, “Love thy neighbor as thy self” (James 2:8). This is the embodiment of all human relations. (b) A similar parallel, “Whatsoever ye would that men do to you, do ye even to them” (Matt. 7:12, c.f. Luke 6:31). (c) First found in 1567 Catechism. (d) The NIV uses it word-for-word, but the NIV follows “dynamic equivalency,” which is not “word-for-word,” from the Greek, but thought for thought. The NIV translated in 1973 follows this “saying.”

4. To thine own self be true. (a) Comes from the Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet. (b) Wrong, because we have an evil nature. (c) We make mistakes. (d) We have non-biblical agendas and goals. (c) We must be true to Scripture, yielded to God, pray for guidance, and seek counsel from others.

5. Let your conscience be your guide. (a) Your conscience can point you to God, “The Gentiles . . . show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness” (Rom. 2:14-15). Also, “In all good conscience” (Acts 23:1). (b) An evil conscience points away from God “having their conscience seared (branded and scarred) with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2). (c) It’s possible to obey your conscience, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1).

6. God helps those who help themselves. (a) From Aesop’s Fables (620-564 BC), prayer for Hercules. (b) B. Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Ben Franklin a deist believed God was not actively involved in men’s lives, i.e., an absentee landlord. (c) God intervenes in our life by prayer, guidance, circumstances, and He uses Scripture.

7. God works in mysterious ways. (a) William Cooper’s (1731-1800) hymn by this title. (b) It is a biblical truth that God works beyond the measure of our time and limited experience. (c) We don’t always understand “the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us . . . that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). (d) But we must always trust, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called” (Rom. 8:28).

8. Once saved, always saved. (a) This is a slogan that popularizes a biblical issue and produces vehement arguments on both sides. (b) The statement only presents a portion of the truth. (c) We are not saved by the strength of our “conversion” but by the strength of the blood of the cross, and God’s faithfulness. (d) Only if the person truly comes to Christ for salvation. (e) The statement is tautology, meaningless repetition, i.e., those who have eternal life, have it for all eternity. (f) Salvation is never based on the strength of our repentance, or prayer, or works, or conversion experience.

9. Pride goes before a fall. (a) This is a biblical truth that comes from “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). (b) Points out the dangers of pride and the inevitability of its downfall.

10. The seven deadly sins were popularized in the 1995 film Se7en (gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, vanity, envy, and wrath). (a) The 7 list originated in medieval thoughts by Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and John Milton. (b) The list of 7 are biblical in content, but the list never occurred in Scriptures. (c) The scriptural list, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19). (d) Remember, these 7 are deadly.

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