Is That Really in the Bible?

Maybe you have seen headlines like these, published in 2021:

  • “Doctors Credit Good Samaritan Who Called 911 With Saving Woman’s Life from Assault.”
  • “Good Samaritan Pulls Aurora Man, 72, from Car Stuck on Train Tracks.”

Journalists use the term “good Samaritan” because most people understand what it means: someone who stepped in to help a total stranger in a desperate situation. But what is a “Samaritan” and why is the word “good” so often paired with it?

The original “good Samaritan” story is in the Bible, in Luke, chapter 10. It’s the story of a traveler from Samaria who happened upon a Jewish man who had been beaten, stripped, robbed, and left for dead on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. A priest and another Jewish religious leader had seen him lying there, but walked right past him. Even though Jews and Samaritans despised each other in those days, it was the Samaritan man who had compassion on the wounded Jew. He stopped, bound up the man’s wounds, put him on his own animal and brought him to an inn, where he took care of him at his own expense. He even gave the innkeeper additional money to continue the care after he resumed his journey. 

Jesus told this story to a man who was looking for a way around the idea of loving “your neighbor as yourself.” At the end of the story, Jesus asked him, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The next time you read a news story about a “good Samaritan,” you’ll have found a modern-day version of the Bible story—someone who went to extraordinary lengths to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Many other familiar stories, adages, and sayings actually come from the Bible—but we just don’t know it. The opposite is true too: there are many familiar stories, adages, and sayings that we think come from the Bible, but really don’t!  

See how well you can tell the difference.

 

SAYING OR QUOTATION FROM THE BIBLE? EXPLANATION AND/OR SOURCE

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

NO

Ancient Babylonian and Hebrew proverb that became popular during the Victorian era
Treat others the same way you want
them to treat you.
YES

This is often called the “Golden Rule.”

(Luke 6:31) 

Money is the root of all evil. NO An often-misquoted version of 1st Timothy 6:10, which actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”
Search others for their virtues,
thyself for thy vices.
NO Ben Franklin
It is more blessed to give than to receive. YES Paul quoting Jesus in Acts 20:35

God won’t give you more
than you can handle.

NO

Often misquoted version of 1st Corinthians 10:13. “God…will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be 

able to endure it.”

(God actually does sometimes give us more

than we can handle, so that we will discover our need to depend on Him.)

You reap what you sow. YES “… God is not mocked, for whatever one sows,
that will he also reap.”

(Galatians 6:7)

God helps those who help themselves. NO From Aesop’s fable “Hercules and the Waggoner.” Sometimes attributed to Ben Franklin.

You can’t take it with you.

YES

“…for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”

(1st Timothy 6:7)

Go the extra mile.

YES


“And whoever forces you to go one mile, 

go with him two.”

(Matthew 5:41)

Good deeds will get you to heaven.

NO

“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; 

it is a gift from God.”

(Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT)

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