The Bible is perfect and its Author is perfect. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and is our all-sufficient guide (2 Tim. 3:16-17). While there are some things that are difficult to understand (cf. 2 Pet. 3:16), the Bible is clear and understandable. We make a mistake, however, when we believe something the Bible does not teach. Below are a few things you may be surprised aren’t taught in the Bible.
1. We can be saved without works of obedience.
There is nothing more wonderful and undeserved than the reality of God’s grace, which has been offered to all people (cf. Titus 2:11). His grace cannot be earned (Eph. 2:8-9), and thank God for that! Compared to God’s glory, holiness, and perfection, we will always be “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10) – regardless of how well we follow His commands. Because of the depth and seriousness of sin, there is no way to earn our way into heaven.
Contrary to what many believe, God’s grace is conditional – not on works of merit, but on works of obedience. “Obedience” and “grace” are not opposites. Grace saves us only through faith (Eph. 2:8a), and faith and works are inseparably part of one another (Jas. 2:14-26). Faith is not an inactive mental acknowledgment or mere acceptance of truth; Biblical faith is active and wholly submissive God’s Will. For example, Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8, NKJV), and it was his obedient faith that put him in contact with God’s grace (cf. Gen. 6:22; Heb. 11:7). Likewise, we are saved by obeying God’s plan of salvation (1 Pet. 3:21; cf. Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:4). To “continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43), we must live faithfully to Him (Rev. 2:10c). The blood of Jesus stops cleansing us from sin when we stop walking in His light (cf. 1 John 1:7).
2. God ridicules honest doubt.
We all wrestle with doubt. Sadly, some think of themselves as ‘bad Christians’ because they struggle with doubt from time to time.
In reality, Jesus welcomed honest doubt – even among people who had witnessed His miracles. When Thomas doubted whether He had actually risen, Jesus didn’t ridicule Him. Rather, He gave him proof (cf. John 20:26-29). When John the Baptizer expressed doubt that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus didn’t respond with a rebuke. He gave him proof (cf. Matt. 11:2-6). When the man asked Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24), Jesus didn’t scoff at the man. He healed his son and gave him proof.
God doesn’t ridicule honest doubt. He welcomes it. It is dangerous to hide your doubt without taking it to Him.
3. The common phrases many think are directly from the Bible.
While some of them may vaguely be taught in principle, the following phrases are not found in the Bible:
- “Spare the rod, spoil the child”
- “Cleanliness is next to godliness”
- “This too shall pass”
- “God helps those who help themselves”
- “God works in mysterious ways.”
They just aren’t in the Bible. (So stop saying they are!)
4. God is only concerned with the sincerity of the heart.
God hates worship that is without heartfelt sincerity (cf. Matt. 15:8). Yet, what is rarely taught these days is that God also hates service that isn’t done in Truth (John 4:24). Everything we do must have the authority of Jesus Christ and His Will (cf. Col. 3:17).
Perhaps nothing illustrates this point better than the example of Uzzah, who attempted to rescue the Ark of the Covenant with a sincere motive (cf. 2 Sam. 6:6-7). God struck Uzzah dead because the Ark was not treated how He had specified (1 Chron. 15:13-15; cf. Num. 4:5-6, 15, 18-20; Josh. 3:4).
Likewise, just “meaning well” isn’t good enough. We must follow all of God’s truth (cf. Psa. 119:160). Jesus Christ through His New Testament must explicitly or implicitly authorize everything we do in His name.
5. If you live for God, bad things won’t happen to you.
Many believe that because they experience hardship and difficulty, they do not have God’s favor. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8), but he had a hard life. Mary found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Luke 1:28-30), but she had to endure the rumors and scandal that must have surrounded her pregnancy. Jesus found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Matt. 3:17), but lived a difficult life (cf. Isa. 53:3) and died on a cross (Matt. 27).
In fact, Christians are promised hardship (cf. 2 Tim. 3:12). Bearing the cross of Christ daily is difficult (cf. Luke 9:23). But the bad things that happen in this life should cause us to look forward even more to heaven (2 Cor. 4:16-17).
Your comments are welcome and encouraged, even if they are in disagreement. However, please keep your comments relevant to the article. For my full comment policy, click here.