41 (Surprising) Things Not in the Bible #0386 How many can you guess?

The List of 41(+):

As of today (October 1, 2014) we are actually up to 62.

  • Angels with wings (there are angels but no mention of wings). Or that people become angels when they die. And would you believe the angels are not singing at the birth of Jesus, but rather just speaking? And yes, seraphim (the “burners”–Flame on!, plural form of “seraph”) have wings, and no, the Bible never identifies seraphim as angels. Ditto cherubim (plural of cherub), who are intimidating beasts in the Bible, but turned into fat, naked, winged babies on the walls of Italian churches. Find me one place that says seraphim (burners) are angels (messengers). I’m waiting….
  • Any female angels at all in the Bible. In both biblical languages, spiritual masculinity comes out of heaven and femininity comes out of earth. Ruach/Malkuth/Shekhinah (feminine), form the connection between the two. Kinda like the Christmas song “let earth receive her king—let heave and nature sing.” Female angels are found mostly in gift shops on earth, and of course, with wings. Gabriel (GBR-i-El) is literally, in Hebrew, God’s intimidator. Hardly a precious moments statue.
  • The devil with horns and a pitchfork (there is a devil but no red skin, horns or pitchfork)
  • Any account of a battle at Armageddon. They gather for battle, but does the Bible say that anything happens? Have a look. I once had coffee at the Armageddon truck stop in Israel. Yes, it’s a real place and you can get gas there.
  • A singular apocalyptic Antichrist figure (used in plural by John) and….
  • Anywhere that says any singular Antichrist is the “Beast” of Revelation
  • That people mocked Noah for building an ark. By the way, seven (!) pairs of many animals were taken into the ark–not just two by two.
  • Jesus being the reason for the winter season. We’re not sure what time of the year Jesus was born. December 25 to January 6 (Epiphany) was just a beautifully symbolic guess.
  • The word or even the concept of a “halo.”
  • Any prohibitions against certain kinds of peripheral “cuss” words. Taking the name of the LORD (YHWH-יהוה) in vain is specifically mentioned and forbidden in the strongest terms. Cursing (but that was literally cursing people and things, not just dropping salty adjectives) is prohibited in the book of James. But throwing in occasional H, S and F words (although I don’t use them) is not specifically prohibited.  Only the Old Testament forbids taking the name of יהוה in vain; there is no equivalent prohibition of the expletive use of Jesus’ name (or Christ).
  • Any encouragement to celebrate Advent or Lent. Or even any mention of them.
  • Any English version of the Bible with God’s pronoun capitalized. (i.e. “He”). Let alone the original versions that didn’t have an upper-case/lower-case writing system at the time.
  • Any mention of birth control (Although there is plenty of encouragement to have children).
  • The idea that God literally calls us to “be our brother’s keeper.” Cain simply asks it of God: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
  • Any mention of the New Testament church celebrating Ash Wednesday or any biblical suggestion to do so in the future.
  • An apple in the Garden of Eden (only fruit)
  • Any suggestion that clergy should perform marriages, or that a wedding is anything but a family/community reception/feast. Old Testament priests never perform weddings that we can see anywhere in the Bible.
  • The Bible says that those who have sex before marriage should indeed get married. And that once you join with someone in that way, there are permanent consequences. But a strict, specific prohibition against cohabitation before marriage is hard to find, and all of we youth pastors would like to have had it handy. Courtship-betrothal-marriage customs in the Bible do not mirror our own very well, so it’s hard to know exactly how that worked. My guess is that premarital chastity was expected and assumed (for property and disease-prevention reasons) and thus not explicitly mentioned.
  • For that matter, any ordained clergy in the early church at all. Jesus and Paul were lay preachers who learned crafts. The former was a stone contractor (tekton). The latter likely supplied tents to the Roman army.
  • Any in-the-Bible explanation as to how we switched from worship on Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday. Quite a historical mystery with a lot of speculation…
  • That Jesus was a (just a poor) carpenter. Inaccurate English translation of the original “tekton” (builder/contractor); likely with stone.
  • Any sense that communion, baptism, “sin management so we can get to heaven someday,” etc. were central to Jesus’ teaching. He did mention these things, but clearly his core teaching was always about Malkuth (Kingdom–the Creator’s creative and sustaining power in the universe). And his main purpose seemed to be to convince us to have the faith to share and operate in this power. The Kingdom is like unto a mustard seed…
  • The fish which swallowed Jonah identified as a whale (just a fish).
  • Jesus uttering the word “grace.”
  • Any word for “faith” (as we understand it) in the Old Testament.
  • Discipleship. A made-up word based on a military, Latin mis-translation of “mathetes” (students).
  • Any clear doctrine of Original Sin, let alone “total depravity.” Sure, there are proof texts you can find to support it, but there is tension with the fact that we are made in the Image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, and “behold God saw that it (humankind) was very good.” There’s tension there.
  • Shepherds and wise men visiting the baby Jesus at the same time (wise men came way way later). Or that the number of wise men was three. I just saw this error (three wise men walking thru the shepherds to visit Jesus in the manger) watching the movie Ben-Hur last night! Most people ignore the fact that Magi are Zoroastrian holy people.
  • Anything that specifically says Jesus was single. No evidence either way. Very few ancient records of any famous people bother to mention spouses.
  • The fact that we live in heaven forever. No matter what your end times view, we end up on a renewed earth at the end (See the end of Revelation). Heaven is at best a way station in the Bible to our ultimate destiny.
  • Any suggestion that we should dress up for church
  • Any prohibition of gambling
  • Any record of a vote in the early church. They’d rather cast lots for big decisions ;-). Nor any votes at congregational business meetings.

  • Any sense that “liturgy” is on the Creator’s short list. Jesus never even mentions any “order of worship.” Mostly just “on the road” informal outdoor ministry.
  • Any overwhelming proof that Jesus was poor. Most evidence suggests the opposite.
  • Any mention of Mary remaining a virgin after Jesus’ birth
  • Any direct mention or description of an abortion. Or comment upon the issue. (For the record, I am very pro-life, but that’s beside the point)
  • Any record of a “confirmation class” or “confirmation ceremony.” Ditto first communion.
  • Any direct linking of Mary Magdalene being a prostitute or woman of ill-repute. Ditto any direct mention that Herodias’ daughter was doing any kind of suggestive dance.
  • Anyplace where the original languages of the Bible say that a person is “possessed” by an evil spirit. It usually just says a person “has” an unclean spirit or something like that. We have unclean spirits. They don’t “have” us. Most modern translations which use the word “possessed” were published after the movie The Exorcist.
  • Any specific mention of transgenderism, although men and women are forbidden from wearing each other’s clothes. Sorry, Boy George.
  • Any sense that Jesus wanted the government (Caesar) to take care of the poor. That would be our job.
  • Any record of anything Jesus said in his native language (Aramaic) except for “Abba,” “Talitha Kumi,” “Raca,” “Mammon,”  “Jot and Tittle,” and “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani” His teachings and sayings were written down by Greek speakers.
  • Anyone praying with hands folded
  • Pews or Pulpits
  • “God helps those who help themselves.” That would be Benjamin Franklin, not God.
  • “God will never give you anything you can’t bear.” Obviously not true in real life. God only knows where it came from.
  • “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” That would be Francis Bacon, not the Bible.
  • Any suggestion that churches should be decorated with crosses, outside or inside. Or that there should even be church buildings at all.
  • Any blanket prohibition of drinking alcohol
  • Any prohibition of consciousness-altering through external or internal means. Drunkedness is discouraged; but never controlled altered states. We alter our consciousness through prayer, going to movies (an induced vision), reading imaginative books, running (endorphins), and using coffee. John was in a serious altered state seeing the vision in Revelation. Ditto Ezekiel in his prophecy. Ditto Paul (who wasn’t even sure if he was in his body or not).
  • Any mention that church leaders should wear different clothing than the regular peeps (clerical collars, robes, etc.)
  • Anything that says church music should be reflective, subdued, or played on an organ. (See the loud clashing cymbals in the Psalms–with trumpets and shouts)
  • Anywhere that says women can’t wear pants (pants aren’t mentioned at all) or use makeup
  • Any mention that women should work at home (see Proverbs 31)
  • Any specific “age of accountability” for baptism. Or even the concept.
  • Any command that baptism has to be by submersion. Paul was baptized in a home which likely had no running water.
  • Of course, only people in the New World were smoking tobacco; a substance and behavior totally unknown to the writers of the Bible. And using “your body is a temple” to forbid smoking would also outlaw junk food if you wanted to be specific.
  • Any mention that there should be separate “departments” in the church for kids (Sunday School), youth groups, or men’s and women’s ministries
  • The word or explicit description of a holy Trinity
  • Elijah taken up in a chariot (he was taken up in a whirlwind)
  • God changing Saul’s name to Paul (Paulos, or “shorty” was just his Greek trade/business nick-name). Imagine: “O Saul, from now on thou shalt be named….Shorty!”
  • The word “wine” associated with the “cup” in the Last Supper. Fruit of the vine is probably wine, but the Bible does not make the explicit connection.
  • Jesus’ command to baptize mentioning water (could be Spirit baptism–See Mark 1:8)
  • The “rapture” mentioned anywhere in the book of Revelation
  • Anything mentioning that Jesus had long hair (or a beard)
  • The phrase “personal relationship with Jesus.”
  • Any record of anyone ending a sermon in the Early Church inviting people to receive Jesus into their hearts (the altar call perfected by Finney over a century ago)

Here are some of the biggest errors in Bible interpretation:

  • The mistake that “description is prescription.” Since Jesus “came up out of the water” (description), baptism by immersion is commanded (prescription).
  • Inference equals explicit command. You can make an argument that the Bible infers a trinity (and I am a trinitarian, by the way), but the word is never used nor is the concept explained in even the most basic ways. The Bible doesn’t connect the dots. We have to. But our “dot connecting” is not equivalent to an explicit Bible text.
    • Thus implicit does not equal explicit. My list is a list of things NOT explicit in the Bible.
  • An unfounded equating of terms. E.g. “seraphim are angels.” Perhaps in your world this is true, and you are welcome to believe it; but the Bible uses different words here for different kinds of beings.
  • “You can’t disprove it!” (e.g. that seraphim are angels). “You can’t disprove/prove it” only works (and it works well) if you are trying to start a conspiracy theory. E.g. “You can’t prove men landed on the moon.” I’m just stating a list of things that the Bible simply does not explicitly teach. They may be true, but not because “the Bible tells me so.”

Perhaps you can add some more in the comments below.

Or if you can prove me wrong, say so (ditto in the comments).

Please pass this link on to others. Fun discussion starter in a group setting. Or a good church newsletter article (you have permission to print it as long as you mention the site http://ThornHeart.com). Shortlink to share (copy and paste it): 

        http://tinyurl.com/lzoeo43

I’m not politicking against any of these things in the list above, per se. Just inviting you to join us at Robinwood Church where we teach what is actually IN the Bible. And there is plenty to keep you growing spiritually for a lifetime. Click on our logo for more:

Robinwood Logo Sand

  • Chris Herrington

    Nowhere in the bible are we specifically asked or told to “accept” Christ, Jesus, the Lord, God, or the Almighty. Not one verse.

  • Sk3ptile

    I don’t think it is worth the time effort to nitpick through this list giving each one a check or an X based off my familiarity with scripture but l would like to point out a common theme l heard my whole childhood then was happy to learn was not there. In the creation account we are always told that Adam sees all the animals have a mate and becomes sad so God says “Oh, youre lonely? No worries, l’ll get you a mate too.” then commenced to show him every creature he made but none made a good helper for him, so God made eve. What the hell is that about?? It never says Adam was jealous of the creatures mating around him, God after putting him in the Garden says “it is not good for man to be alone. l shall create create a helpmeet suitable for him.” Not “l will see if he can just hook up with one of these animals here.” In otherwords it was God’s idea not Adams. ‘After his statement he shows Adam every animal he made “to see what he would call them” not for some beastiality beauty pageant, then after everything has been named creates Eve and presents her to him and he named her last. I have yet to find a children’s bible that doesn’t present the creation of woman as a second thought that God had when he saw Adam was sad. This is a highly harmful thing because not only does it give a very nasty message about the value of girls but it makes God out to be quite stupid.

  • Brother Rico

    I agree with most of items you have listed except the part where you have said that there isn’t any mention of women working at home. Here is what Paul said:

    “Titus 2:4-5King James Version (KJV)
    4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    5 To be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME,good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

    I’m by no means implying that women are only good for house work but if we want to stay within the confine of the scriptures it seems that God designed Man to be the provider. A man can decide to use the assistance of his wife in providing for the family and thats what Pr. 31 is all about. This chapter describes a man who can peacefully trust his wife to help him take care of the household. She is somewhat the helper that God gave to Adam, not Adam himself.

  • Michael Entsminger

    65. I think this idea of
    Jesus having long hair and a beard comes from the belief that Jesus took a
    Nazirite vow [Num 6] when He said, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine” in Matt 26:29;
    Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18; NASB. But, If
    this does in fact mean He took this vow… He’s starting this right before He
    goes to the cross so His hair would not have time to grow extra long in His
    time on earth. It is a common thing for
    a Jewish man to grow a beard and Jesus would have looked just like any common
    Jewish man. Isaiah 53:2. Also, this scripture sounds like it could be
    talking about Jesus… (Isaiah 50:6 NASB) I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the
    beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

    And, As I investigate this verse further it seems many Bible
    scholars believe this verse is describing Jesus.

    What do you think now?

    • Hey may have had long hair and a beard. He may have had hair in the Roman style. We just don’t know.

  • Michael Entsminger

    David,

    It is good to point out these common Christian beliefs that don’t exactly line up with scripture. Because… “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 NASB)

    I see this as a command and we should surely not worship God in spirit and in error.

    Here’s a few more…

    68. The Theology that there is three archangels when in fact there is only actually one that is named in scripture which is Michael. [Jude 1:9]

    I personally don’t have a problem with this idea and I know that there are scriptures that support this concept but, like David is pointing out we don’t know with 100% surety that 1+1+1=3. Meaning Michael, Gabriel, and Satan are all archangels this very well could be true but, we just don’t know for certain.

    69. The common saying, “The devil is in the details.” I have done many searches
    and cannot find where the Bible actually says this or even suggests this. In fact you can find many scriptures that supports the exact opposite idea… That is that God is in the details. The thing the devil wants you to think is that the details aren’t important and he wants to twist the details (the truth) to send you down a wrong path. Also, If you think this statement is true then the devil has you right where he wants you… believing a lie.

    Think about how the Bible describes The Tent of Meeting and the other Temples in such detail. These are some scriptures that describe how important the details are to God:

    John 4:23-24, 16:13, 17:17; 1 Tim 4:13-16; 2 Tim 2:15, 3:16; Psalms 24:4-5, 119:160; Ecc 12:10; Eph 4:15, 4:25, 5:9, 5:11, 5:25-27; Matt 3:2-3, 5:17-20, 5:48;
    1 Chron 28:19; Heb 8:4-5; Rev 22:18-19; 1 John 4:6; Luke 1:1-4;
    NASB.

  • daniel

    the Bible provides specific prohibitions against the use of mind-altering drugs. in Galatians, Paul lists many sinful practices: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…” GAL 5-19, 20. The word Paul uses to describe “sorcery” is the Greek “pharmakeia” which literally translates to the “use or administering of drugs.” it’s obvious that he is talking about recreational mind-altering through the use of pharmaceuticals.

  • Lisa Keenan

    Thank you for keeping it pure.

    Ps – in addition . . The prodigal son seems to be the one who we should emulate.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the prodigal son returns to his father with a mindset of self-preservation. He comes home to give himself to his father as a slave, knowing that his father’s slaves were rewarded better than those of his previous master.

      • Lisa Keenan

        Yes, however . . He returns home having multiplied in his understanding.
        “Go forth and multiply . .” Mankind’s primary directive. Breathed into us by our Creator.

  • MinnetonkaBoater

    David, no mention of the Holy Trinity? Isn’t it implied by by John 1:1 for Jesus and the Father, and by John 15:26 where Jesus says “I will send a helper”? Once you explain, I will not doubt. I trust your Biblical Knowledge.

    • It is sort of implied, but never named nor described.

      • Keith Posehn

        Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make
        disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
        Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . .
        This seems pretty explicit . . .

        • If you already believe in a Trinity, you might see it there. But if not, neither the word nor the theological concept will emerge.

          • Michael Entsminger

            It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to help reveal these kind of things to a believer. So, It’s important to first receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

            (John 14:26 NASB) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

            (Acts 2:38 NASB) Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Rachel

    And how is (forgive my paraphrase) “Oh hey, I’m changing your name to rock. And on this rock I’m gonna build my church” not an ordination? 😉

    • Ordo: From Latin for “Order.” Joining an order (different clothing, title, guild) is not implied here

  • Rachel

    You’re right about clergy and marriages; in the Orthodox church today, for example, it’s emphatically the man and woman who are the ministers. The priest is just there to assist.

    • In the Bible it seems it was just a party. No one went to a synagogue or the Jerusalem temple to get married.

  • Rachel

    I read somewhere once that pews came into vogue along with printing–neatly spaced rows of typed words, neatly spaced rows of worshipers. Hm…

  • Rachel

    Re: vestments and liturgy, wouldn’t it be natural for these to be carried over from Jewish worship? Also, there is evidence for a liturgy much the same as you’ll see in liturgical churches today in very ancient Christian documents. Justin Martyr, IIRC.

  • Rachel

    Re: baptism and water, what about John 3:5? “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”

    • You can imply that it’s baptism. But it doesn’t say that.

  • Bret Donaldson

    Hi David. Discovered your blog thru Pastor Dana.

    On the topic of Sunday worship, my pastor once explained as a possible answer was the mention in the Bible that the disciples would regularly gather on the first day of the week after Jesus’ resurrection. This is one potential answer as to how worship on Sunday evolved.

    As far as baptism, I once new a young lady who belonged to a non-denominational church that was adamant that baptism be done at an “age of accountability” and by full imersion. Any other method in their eyes was improper. If you were Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc and wanted to join their church, you were required to be baptised again. This was a bit of contention between us. She once attended church with me and had a very hard time with the fact that we practice infant baptism.

    I do have to say that the evidence presented in the Bible does point toward people first believing, then being baptised – and by full immersion. In the Lutheran tradition, we tend to baptise first then promise to teach the child to believe. This is where Confirmation comes into play. Young people attend Bible instruction for a period of time and at the end decide if they want to “confirm” their infant baptism.

    There are two references in Acts that briefly mention entire “households” being baptised. It is assumed that the term household includes infants and/or small children, but there is no mention in the Bible that this was the case.

    One explanation I had heard years ago for infant baptism was that it was a practice developed by the early Roman Catholic church, back when the church held great political power/influence. Infant baptism was a tool to help indoctrinate people into the system. I have no idea if there’s any facts or history to support that theory.

    As an adult looking back, it does seem to me that it would make more sense to have, say a simple blessing ceremony at church when a child is born with the parents agreeing to instruct their child in the Christian faith. Then send the child to Baptism class when he/she reaches a particular age. At the end if they decide to be baptised, then have a baptism event rather than a confirmation ceremony.

    • Where does it say they gathered regularly on the first day of the week?

    • You can’t build a solid argument excluding children from baptism or including them strictly from Bible verses. Most of us in churches have way too restrictive a policy on baptism.

  • Peter Maahn Sterkenburg

    Another addition: the Halo. That is, if my memory serves me well, an early Middle-Ages addition in depictions. Have had it explained to me by an art historian, as apparently it doesn’t even connect to the whole ‘light’ connotation. The wikipedia entry didn’t give me more either though, sorry.

    • Fascinating. Would like to know more about that. An artistic representation of the Hebraic “Keter” perhaps?

    • Our perceptions of Christian icons are largely influenced by art that came after all the stories. This includes things like halos. It also explains why everyone seems to think that Jesus was European with long hippie hair and a full beard.

  • PA1974

    -An apple in the Garden of Eden (only fruit)

    Serious students of Scripture know that the problem in the Garden of Eden was not an Apple in a tree, but rather the Pair on the ground.

    -Any in-the-Bible explanation as to how we switched from worship on Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday. Quite a mystery…

    Acts 20:7 makes it clear they did at least sometimes worship on the first day of the week.

    -Anything that specifically says Jesus was single

    There is also nothing that says Jesus was married.

    -Any suggestion that we should dress up for church

    -Anything that says church music should be reflective, subdued, or
    played on an organ. (See the loud clashing cymbals in the Psalms–with
    trumpets and shouts)

    Psalms 150 does mention organs

    -Any command that baptism has to be by submersion. Paul was baptized in a home which likely had no running water.

    The original Greek word means “to immerse, to dip, or to plunge into water” according to a Greek Lexicon published by a Lutheran Seminary and owned by the Pastor who lived in a Parsonage with the number 6644 on the door.

    There is also nothing in Acts 9 which says that baptism happened inside a house.

    In Romans chapter 6, Baptism is compared to being “buried with Christ”, how does sprinkling water on the head of an infant symbolize burial?

    There is nothing in the Bible which says any babies were baptized.

    In Acts 8 we read:

    36 And
    as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the
    eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37 And
    Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And
    he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38 And
    he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into
    the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    From the above we learn that baptism was only for those after they believed

    From the above we learn that they went down into the water ( does that sound like sprinkling water on the head or immersion to you? )

    • The pair on the ground quote is priceless.

    • Never said Jesus wasn’t single, just no proof either way. Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.

      • Does it make any difference? It would seem that if he did have a wife, she was unremarkable (in that she didn’t do anything worth writing down).

        • It matters if he is held up as a model for the single life being better and more “pure.”

    • And, your story about Philip: Description is not prescription. If it is, you have to wear sandals.

      • PA1974

        The story about Philip, is not my story, it is in the Bible. And yes it is prescriptive in total agreement with Matt 28:19. Find a people group in some deep dark jungle which has never had contact with the rest of the world, lead them to Christ, put the Bible in their own language, but teach them nothing about Baptism, until they read about it themselves in the Bible. They will get nothing out of the Bible which will convince them to sprinkle water on the head of newborn infants and call it baptism.

        You and I were both raised in infant sprinkling denominations.

        Every time I’ve asked a Pastor from an infant sprinkling denomination why they baptize babies, they convince me infant sprinkling is wrong.

        When I was 21 years of age, I asked the Pastor who baptized me, as an infant, to show me where the Bible says we should baptize infants and he agreed “its not there”.

        When I then asked why he does it, his answer was, “Tradition, we’ve always done it that way!”

        Infant baptism is a left over doctrine from the Roman Catholic Cult.

  • Many of the things you speak of are influenced by extra-biblical sources that were common in the early church. The Trinitarian formula was given in the Great Commission in Jesus’ command to baptize and make disciples. Liturgy could be spoken of as “good order” since liturgy is just pointing to the work of the people and many times throughout Scripture good order is referred to, i.e. when speaking of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 – 13 and how they should be revealed. The concepts of angels are influenced by the Pseudapigrapha as well as other writings. The perpetual virginity by the Protoevangelion of James. Other things could be found in other writings. We also know that there are writings that are referred to in Scripture that we no longer have access to.

    • I agree that many things we do have a “seed” in the Bible that was developed later.

  • Matt

    My favorite part about this list is how we have used so many of these ideas/beliefs that are not either in the Bible or explicit to create legalistic structures within the church. Apparently Christ did not set us free in order to be free? I sat in on some meetings about planting a church and most of the discussion was about what we could NOT do and what we HAD to do (like liturgy!). Thanks for the list.

  • Hyam A. Shyster

    Very well done, glad someone is paying attention.

  • Andrew

    David,

    Thanks for the post.

    1) “Winged Angels?” Certainly the Bible never uses the Greek term ‘aggelos’ (from which we derive the word “Angel”) paired with “wings.” But, in describing the spiritual beings worshipping God in heaven (Hebrew: “Cherubs / Cherubim”) desribes many many wings! (See Ezekiel 1:5-10, Isaiah 27:16 for starters.) (In Koine Greek, the word “aggelos” simply means “messenger” and can refer to an errand boy or a spiritual being. It all depends on the context.)

    2) “Antichrist?” The Bible does use the term “Antichrist.” In the Greek text of 1 John, for instance, the singular term is used 3x and the plural 1x.

    3) “Sunday Worship?” The Bible does not have an “explanation” for why Christians worship on Sunday. No! But, like most of the Bible, it has a story: Jesus’ Resurrection on the first day of the week (Sunday). While Jewish followers of Messiah continued to observe the Sabbath, Christians of all ethnic backgrounds met together on the first day, or, as the scripture calls it, the “Lord’s Day.” (See Rev. 1:10, Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:1-2).

    4) “Aramaic in the NT.” You’re overlooking Jesus’ other recorded Aramaic phrases, “Raca!” “Ephphatha!” “Mammon,” “Jot and tittle.”

    5) “Rich Jesus?” Mk 15:41 indicates that a group of Galilean women supported Jesus’ ministry. This is the guy who said, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt 8:20).

    • David Housholder

      Seraphim are “burners.” Think “human torch.” Cherubim, etc. are “beasts.” You can lump them in with what the Bible explicitly calls angels, but that takes a “leap.” All I am saying is that we provide a lot of puzzle pieces that the Bible does not provide.

      There is no one apocalyptic figure called “The Antichrist.”

      How do we know the Lord’s day means Sunday in the Bible? Another leap. We have to provide external puzzle pieces. Advocates of Saturday worship have a much stronger explicitly biblical case than (we) advocates of Sunday worship.

      Point well taken on the Aramaic. Camel would also be a borderline case.

      Take all the evidence about Jesus’ economics and the scales weigh toward wealthily. Gambling for his robe. All economic references in the parables from perspective of management not labor. Royal line on Joseph’s side. High priestly line on Mary’s side. He was a tekton (builder) not a carpenter. Count the cost before you build a tower. More used to giving orders than taking them. Peers with business owners (fishermen were prosperous). Referred to “the poor” not “we poor.” No evidence of taking offerings or begging. Highly educated. Enough leisure time in his family to travel (days on end back and forth) to travel as a clan to faraway festivals in Jerusalem. Weigh that against the tiny pile of “poor” evidence (most likely from Roman Catholic Holy Family piety amplified by monasticism–Jesus was a type for Francis and Mary was a type for nuns). Not that the Bible says he was rich. But more puzzle pieces say rich than poor.

      • Tony Stoutenburg

        Cherubim, beasts, as you say, are likely winged oxen, like the Assyrian statues. (I think this was what Jeroboam was trying to imitate with his two calves of gold.)
        As for Seraphim, yes they are fiery, and the word appears almost every time with the word serpent. Could Smaug be inspired by a heavenly being?

  • Nancy Walker

    As for Confirmation, I would direct you to Acts 8:14-17. The Samaritan believers had only received John’s baptism, so Peter and John laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Of course this is not called Confirmation, but it looks suspiciously like it!

    • David Housholder

      Was that a pattern which has similarities with what we call confirmation? Sure. Is it the same thing? Probably not.

  • Helen Gierke

    The cup that Jesus used at the last supper (which was, by most accounts, either Passover or a typical shabbat meal) would have contained wine as would have been used for the “baruch”, the blessing of the fruit of the vine, that is part of the ritual. (My Jewish son and his family do this every Friday night.) So I think that’s a pretty accurate understanding. It’s more puzzling why we use grape juice instead of wine, since grape juice needs refrigeration to stay un-moldy whereas wine does not. Hmm.

    • David Housholder

      Of course I believe it was wine. But the Bible doesn’t say so.

      • Fred P!

        The Bible seems clear to me. What else do you think they got drunk on in 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 when the people abused the Lord’s supper?

        • You can connect the dots, but the Bible doesn’t connect the dots. Just “cup.”

          • Fred P!

            It was probably the goat milk that got them drunk? Rather than alcoholic wine?

          • Who got drunk at communion? Of course there was wine at Cana.

          • Fred P!

            I Corinthians 11:17-22. Paul was correcting the corruption of the Lord’s table.A little too much of the communion wine made them drunk.

    • Skip Spangler

      The use of grape juice (aka the “pure, unfermented juice of the grape” in the celebration of the Eucharist began in the American church with the rise of the temperance movement in the 19th Century. When Rev. Welch perfected the pasteurization of the grape juice, many churches supporting the temperance movement embraced the product. (According to Wikipedia, it was easier to use and acquire than the other “unfermented products in use.”)

      As a pastor of a church often attended by folks in recovery, the use of grape juice meant that the table could be a means of grace to folks with an alcohol addiction.

      • Katie

        Thomas Bramwell Welch was not a Reverend, he was a Methodist Communion steward. I believe he was a dentist…

      • Fred P!

        We should obey Christ rather than cater to the needs of sinful man. Christ used wine, so should we. If there be any among your congregation who suffer from the effects of sin (in this case – addiction) then they should abstain from the wine and take the bread only until they understand that God’s grace is sufficient for them to overcome their addiction and they can partake of this means of grace.

        • ELG

          Wow. You have nailed this whole Grace thing. Doesn’t Paul say that we as followers of Christ not eat the meat offered to idols if it is a stumbling block to those who do not know and understand the teachings of Christ?

        • You have entirely missed the point of communion. It’s not about the items literally being bread and wine. It’s about a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Jesus would care one bit if you substitute in grape juice for personal reasons.

          • Fred P!

            I think it is very important to connect the sign and the thing signified, Lars. There are many parallels. Blood is red, like wine. Grape juice is purple (from my experience in churches using Welch’s). Wine is fermenting. It is alive, like Jesus; a living drink. Grape juice has been pasteurized. It does nothing. It is dead. Wine is alcoholic. The Bible speaks of how wine makes the heart glad. It brings joy. (In moderation, of course.) Grape juice is a sugary mess. It brings nothing to the table. And Jesus used wine. So should we.

          • Cool, that’s your personal theological justification for why you yourself should drink wine without substitute. But in the real world, people have diseases and allergies and dietary restrictions. Things are messy. The point is the spirit of the ritual, not dogged adherence to the exact steps of the ritual.

          • Fred P!

            Dogged adherence to the sacrament is not only needed, but commanded. I believe God knows exactly how He wants to be worshiped. (Consider the Regulative Principle of Worship.) We should not stray from what God has commanded us in scripture for the sake of our own frailty or convenience.

            Why are people diseased? Allergic? Under dietary restrictions? Even addicted (alcoholic)? God created us perfect, but by Adam’s sin we fell. All of us. The results of sin from this fall are evident in that there are times we cannot enjoy all that God has given us.

            Besides, you ask most people who have reactions to wine what the problem is? They’ll tell you perhaps that they get a little gassy or have some minimal bloating in their stomach. A thimble full of wine just won’t have that type of impact.

            If there is a need to completely abstain from drinking even those few drops of wine, that is OK. Just take the bread. Better to partake in truth than risk God’s wrath for wrongfully partaking of the table.

            As for the alcoholic I mentioned, one must ask, “Is God’s grace not sufficient even for this sin?” If not, abstain rather than drink a pitiful substitute for what Christ has given us. Do all things to His glory. Especially in worship and specifically the sacraments.

          • Your attitude is precisely the reason that my generation has a decreasing interest in Christianity.

          • Fred P!

            What? Because I believe we should obey the Bible?

            My attitude should matter none. Don’t ask your generation to worship me, Lars. Ask them to follow Jesus. How do we know Jesus? Through His Word and His Word alone. What does He tell us in His Word? Trust Him. And obey Him. Simple concept. No attitude needed.

          • Please give me a citation where it says that one will risk God’s wrath for using grape juice. I’ll save you the time and note that there isn’t one. This is what I’m talking about. You are completely caught up in tradition, rules, and theological conjecture. You are a Christian in every way but the way that matters.

      • Anonymous

        Please stop. The point of communion is performing it in remembrance of Jesus. It’s about one’s heart during communion because if they are taking communion for any other reason, THEN they are doing it wrong.
        Without heart in tradition, tradition is worthless. This was an issue the Pharisees struggled with in the gospels. There are a few occasions where Jesus violates “the law” (ie doing things on the Sabbath), but he was always correct doing so.

        In my opinion, this isn’t an argument worth arguing over and said argument would have been over sooner had both of you not invoked emotionalism.
        This “debate” is like akin to two worship pastors from different churches arguing over which guitar to use. (Imagine the difference between them is one of personal opinion) Worship is not about sounding good, it’s about your heart before God. In some cases one might consider communion “worship”. (If you don’t you should probably still treat it as such)

        • Anonymous

          This is directed towards Fred P and Lars. No offense.

  • David_S

    Being a Christian as well as a student of Islam, I’ve had opportunity to study biblical, semitic, middle-eastern as well as early Christian traditions, their origins and alterations that have ensued over the ages. Although I’ve not the references at hand, I recall a course that taught of an evolution from Saturday (7th day in Semitic terms) to Sunday (1st day). This teaching layed the foundation on Constantine’s original church that bent rules to entice non-christians in order to convert them; in this case they included or added the Pagan 1st day celebration. As Pagan 1st day celebrations were simply more fun–often including drinking, dancing, and even orgiastic activities–than the more somber Christian 7th day, the former eventually overtook the latter.

    • David Housholder

      It could very well be. But a course taught on it would have to rely mostly on conjecture and be hyper-conscious of the teacher’s own confirmation bias. We simply have almost no primary historical documents on the topic.

  • Angelica Faerie

    I’m not really religious, and I definitely haven’t read most of the bible, but there was one point you mentioned that caught my attention: any mention of why we switched from worship on Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday.
    True, I realize that there would have been no mention of this in the bible (mainly because later Christians completely twisted things from the time of Jesus and the apostles), but I thought the reason Christians celebrate Sunday as the Sabbath instead of Saturdays like the Jews do was because Jesus was risen on the day after the Sabbath. Since Easter Sunday is such a central event to the Christian religion, it only makes sense that the Sabbath would be moved to the reflect the return of the son of God.
    I do understand your point about the reason never being mentioned in the bible (not to mention that I doubt the Sabbath was even changed before the books of the bible run out). However, I don’t see that it’s such a mystery why modern Christians view Sunday as the Sabbath instead of Saturday.

    • David Housholder

      That might be the reason, but the truth is there is a lot of heated argumentation over the reason for the switch. Thus they really aren’t sure 😉