20 Common Christian Traditions That Lack Biblical Support

SharePinEmailWhen it comes to Christian liturgy, there’s often a mix of tradition, culture, and scripture. Some commonly accepted rituals, while cherished and meaningful to many, aren’t explicitly rooted in the Bible. Here we take a look at some of the most popular Christian practices that don’t actually originate from the Bible. Praying to Saints and…

When it comes to Christian liturgy, there’s often a mix of tradition, culture, and scripture. Some commonly accepted rituals, while cherished and meaningful to many, aren’t explicitly rooted in the Bible.

Here we take a look at some of the most popular Christian practices that don’t actually originate from the Bible.

Praying to Saints and Mary

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Many Christians within Catholic and Orthodox traditions pray to saints and for the intercession of Mary. But this isn’t supported by biblical teachings, as the Bible only mentions praying directly to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Using Holy Water

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Holy water is frequently used for blessings or to ward off evil, but it’s only mentioned once in the Bible within a specific Old Testament ritual. Its broader use has origins in ancient purification practices rather than direct scriptural instruction.

Worshiping on Sundays

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Although many Christians gather for worship on Sundays to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection, the Bible does not specifically command this. For example, early Christians met on various days of the week to encourage regular fellowship.

Church Buildings

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The first Christians met in homes and other common spaces, not dedicated church buildings. The emphasis in the Bible is on gathering as a community of faith, rather than the physical structure of the meeting place.

Saying “Grace” Before Meals

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Despite the Bible encouraging thanksgiving for food, the formal practice of saying grace before meals isn’t mandated. Scripture speaks of offering blessings or prayers, but the manner and content are left to personal discretion.

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

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Easter eggs and bunnies are popular symbols with no biblical basis. These elements likely have pre-Christian origins linked to fertility rites and spring celebrations. They can be fun traditions, but they don’t stem from biblical sources.

The Lord’s Prayer

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The Lord’s Prayer is often recited verbatim, but Jesus intended it as a model for how to pray, not as a fixed prayer to be repeated without variation. He preferred sincere and private prayer over public repetition.

Reading Horoscopes

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Astrology and horoscopes are considered offensive in Christianity because they attribute power to stars and planets that belongs to God alone. The Bible encourages seeking God’s guidance directly rather than through astrological means.

Blaming Karma

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The concept of karma, where one’s actions directly determine their future, isn’t biblical. Christianity preaches the principle of sowing and reaping but also submitting to God’s grace and mercy, which can override the consequences of sin.

Avoiding Secular Activities

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Legalistic avoidance of secular music, movies, or other activities isn’t forbidden by Christian scripture. The Bible calls for discernment and a focus on the heart’s posture rather than creating lists of prohibited activities.

“Once Saved, Always Saved”

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The idea that salvation is eternally guaranteed regardless of subsequent actions isn’t straightforwardly biblical. The Bible contains warnings against falling away from faith and instead encourages believers to work out their salvation with reverence.

Christians and Mental Health

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The Bible is full of figures who experienced deep emotional turmoil, like Elijah and David, and the belief that strong faith should eliminate mental health struggles is unfounded. The church should support, not judge, those facing mental health challenges.

Women’s Submission

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A narrow interpretation that women must always submit to men isn’t fully supported by the Bible. It also promotes mutual submission within marriage and highlights strong women in leadership roles.

Believing in Luck and Superstition

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Superstitions like knocking on wood or using “lucky” objects aren’t supported by the scriptural sources. Such practices attribute power to objects or rituals rather than to God and in the process deflect trust from Him (Isaiah 8:19-20).

Holier Than Thou Attitude

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Spiritual pride is criticized and Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their self-righteousness, urging humility and recognition of one’s own need for grace.

Drinking to Get Drunk

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While the Bible doesn’t prohibit alcohol, it warns against drunkenness and encourages moderation. Excessive drinking leads to behavior contrary to biblical teachings.

Using Rosaries

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Rosaries, used primarily in Catholic practice, developed in the Middle Ages and aren’t mentioned in the Bible. They serve as a devotional tool rather than a religious requirement.

Tithing

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Although tithing is a biblical concept, the specific obligation to give exactly ten percent isn’t mandated in the New Testament. Believers are encouraged to give generously according to their ability.

Avoiding “Worldly” Things

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The Bible focuses more on inner intentions and living a life that honors God rather than adhering to external rules. Creating strict rules about avoiding worldly things can lead to legalism.

Assuming All Suffering is Due to Sin

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The notion that personal suffering is always a result of sin is challenged in the Book of Job. Suffering can happen to anyone, and the Bible champions compassion and support rather than judgment.

Misinterpreting Biblical Promises

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Another common misconception is the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” This phrase is often used to comfort those facing hardship, but it isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. Instead, the Bible acknowledges that life can be overwhelming and encourages believers to rely on God’s strength rather than their own. This misunderstanding can lead to feelings of failure when individuals face challenges that seem insurmountable.

Confusing Cultural Norms with Biblical Commands

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Many practices that are culturally ingrained in Christian communities are mistaken for biblical mandates. For example, dressing a certain way for church or adhering to specific gender roles can be more about cultural tradition than scriptural instruction. While modesty and respect are biblical principles, specific expressions of these can vary widely.

Embracing “Christianese” Clichés

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Phrases like “God helps those who help themselves” or “Everything happens for a reason” are often quoted as biblical truths but aren’t found in either the Old or New Testaments. These sayings can oversimplify complex theological concepts and potentially offer shallow comfort. True biblical encouragement comes from understanding and applying the deeper truths of scripture in context.

While these rituals may have cultural or traditional relevance, it’s critical for Christians to understand their biblical foundations, or lack of them. By examining these practices, believers can focus more on authentic faith expressions rooted in scripture.

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