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Where do I find that?

 There are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible and, apparently, quite a few that aren’t. I wonder if someone has ever ‘quoted’ a Bible verse to you and you’ve thought, “Hang on, that’s not in the Bible.”


“As it says in the Bible,” they tell you with a high degree of authority, “God helps those who help themselves”. Well, no, the Bible doesn’t say that. At all. Anywhere.


“God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.” He may well do that, but it doesn’t say that in the Bible. In fact, the quote is the opening line of a song by English hymnwriter William Cowper, written in 1773.


When discussing matters of conscience and morality, you might advise someone, “This above all else, to thine own self be true,” but you’d be quoting Shakespeare (Hamlet, act 1, scene 3), not the Bible.


Mischievous spirit that I am, I’m occasionally tempted to deliberately misattribute a quote to the Bible, but I’ve never quite succumbed to the temptation. It could, however, be good fun ...


“Mal, I just don’t know what my future holds or how I can hope for better days.” “Well, Russell, in the Bible, it says that we just need to trust in God, he can ‘make us believe what tomorrow can bring when today doesn’t really know’.” “Yes, I guess you’re right, Mal. Thanks.”


Bible? Not quite. A lyric from ‘All Out of Love’ by Air Supply. A great song from 1980.


“Mal, I’ve had the best day! I had some big wins today, and I feel great!” “Nice, Deb. Sometimes we get those wonderful days like David wrote about in the Psalms when he said, ‘My feet don’t even touch the ground, I go in leaps and bounds’.”


David? Psalms? Actually, Paul Kelly in his 1986 hit ‘Leaps and Bounds’.


“Mal, you know I broke up with Mandy, and now I’m going out with Lyn, but I’m starting to think I should have stayed with Mandy. What should I do?”


“I think, Rob, that you should have waited a bit longer before getting a new girlfriend. In Scripture, it says we have ‘restless hearts that never mend’, and I don’t think you’d really settled emotionally before commencing a new relationship.”


Did I say Scripture? Sorry, I meant ‘New Kid in Town’ by the Eagles.


See? This quoting from not-the-Bible can be quite creative and even helpful while at the same time being incredibly wrong.


So don’t do it. After all, as the Good Book says, if you misquote Scripture, you’re clearly ‘on the highway to hell’.


– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos


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