Misquoting Scripture

A Serious Thing

A Pillow Fight
The garden where we have our chats.

Everyone agrees; it is a serious thing to misquote scripture. Jer 14:14 and Deu 18:20 tells us about that! However, scripture is often misused and misquoted. There are a handful of favorites. How about, “Money is the root of all evil?” That’s a misquote. The Bible actually says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money itself is not the problem, the problem is greed. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Misusing or misquoting the Bible is commonplace. It can be excused when coming from an atheist and frankly, an atheist using the bible as his source of authority when arguing about a religious matters ought to be excused. Misquoting the bible can be understood when when it comes from a believer who is not really familiar with the scriptures. But misquoting the bible should never be tolerated when it comes from some of our greatest and most trusted biblical scholars!

A Stunning Revelation

Recently, in the course of my regular, daily Bible study, I was absolutely stunned when I realized how pervasive, entrenched and completely accepted one particular misquote has become. Entire denominations have been built around this misquote. Yet, when I stopped to really think about it, I was left flabbergasted. How could a biblical error so obvious be so missed and even accepted by some of our best biblical scholars?

Let me give you a bit of perspective and let’s see if you are not as shocked as I was when this dawned on me. When a scripture is misquoted, by definition this means the misquote is not from God. It is a twisting of the truth. We should never tolerate or accept that, right? This particular misquote leads people astray. This misquote is vigorously protected and defended, sometimes with great emotion. It is wildly popular. It is used in nearly every church. It has stood the test of time. It has been lauded and embraced by some of the greatest bible teachers and preachers in history. Many prominent scholars claim it as an infallible doctrine of holy writ… but, they are wrong. Do I have your attention?

Think about this carefully… really think about it. Do you realize, every time we say, “We are saved by faith alone,” we are actually misquoting the Bible? Specifically, we are misquoting James 2:24 where it reads, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” We know we are misquoting this particular passage because this is the only time in the entire bible where the phrase, “faith alone” is used.

A Huge Misquote

Every time we claim that the bible says, “We are saved by faith alone,” that statement is coming from a super strong, well established, deeply entrenched position of absolute ignorance.

I am using the word “ignorance” in the purest form, not to be antagonistic; we are blissfuly ignoring something which is so obvious. Please don’t believe me! Do a careful search of your Bible for the phrase, “Saved by faith alone.” It’s not there. In fact, I was equally stunned when I discovered the phrase, “saved by faith” is not even in the Bible!

For 500 years, since the reformation, we have fought for this cherished misquote with Quixote like passion and valor but in reality, we have been fighting for something that isn’t even in the Bible!

Do you realize, even the concept of salvation by faith alone is not in the bible. The bible does say that we are “justified” by faith… but that justification by faith is still never alone. In an effort to solidify the misquoted concept, another popular phrase has been developed. It says, “We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” This popular phrase is helpful in supporting the error but does not stand up to reason. Just use some logic. How can these things be alone if there are three of them? Wouldn’t it be more honest, true and biblically sound if we just said, “We are saved by grace, through faith, in Christ?” Now we are not twisting the scriptures.

A misquote, innocent or not, is a twisting of scripture. That’s what a misquote is and the claim that we are “saved by faith alone” is a huge one! It has become so pervasive in its acceptance and so entrenched in our religious societies yet, no-one ever questions it. Nobody stands up and says, “Wait a minute. Why do we say this? It is not in the Bible!”

If the statement, “We are saved by faith alone,” is not in the Bible, where did it come from and why are we still using it? The only being who loves to misquote the bible is Satan and We don’t want to be a tool of his now, do we? So, let’s stop saying it.

A Word About this Podcast

I am trying something new with this podcast. I recorded and edited the entire podcast on an iPad. I did this while sitting in the backyard garden. You’ll hear lots of activity in the background. After the lesson was produced, I used the same iPad to write this blog post, put the MP3 file online, and publish the post. So, it is a bit of an experiment, which I have enjoyed, and I will try more of these in the future.

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 003 – Misquoting Scripture