20 False Facts About the Bible That Are Widely Believed

SharePinEmailWhether you’re remembering your childhood Sunday school days or relying on other people’s interpretation of the Bible, there are lots of “facts” that we all believe to be true. While they may be commonly held beliefs, here we’ll discuss 20 false facts that may surprise you.  St Peter Compiled the Bible St Peter was the…

Whether you’re remembering your childhood Sunday school days or relying on other people’s interpretation of the Bible, there are lots of “facts” that we all believe to be true. While they may be commonly held beliefs, here we’ll discuss 20 false facts that may surprise you. 

St Peter Compiled the Bible

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St Peter was the first pope of the early church, and many people believe that he compiled the gospels in the modern Bible. However various councils determined what was included in the Bible. For example, the Council of Carthage was held in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries and played a leading role in compiling the text. 

The Apple

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The apple is an important element of the story of the Garden of Eden, but the type of fruit on the Tree of Knowledge is not specified in the Bible. An apple being featured in artwork and stories is artistic license. 

Additionally, the apple is often referred to as a symbol of sin in this story, but the lesson from the Bible is actually about Adam and Eve disobeying God. 

Satan as the Serpent

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Another Garden of Eden “fact” that we all believe is that the serpent is Satan. The serpent is often a symbol of evil in interpretations of this story, but the connection between Satan and the serpent is not explicit in the Bible. 

David Was a Young Shepherd Boy

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David and Goliath is another iconic biblical story, but David is often thought of as a young shepherd boy when he faced the giant Goliath. In fact in the Bible, David is a “rugged” person and he may likely have already seen combat. It is not the fact that David is an unseasoned warrior that is the point of the story, but rather his faith in God and great courage. 

The Three Wise Men

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The three wise men are pivotal in nativity scenes and many take it as fact that the three magi visited Jesus when he was born. In fact, not only is the timing of the visit not specified in the Bible but there is no mention of three wise men. 

The number three likely became a “fact” because of the three gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but it’s possible they could have visited when Jesus was a small child rather than a baby. 

Noah’s Ark Two by Two Animals

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If you see any storybook version of Noah’s Ark, you’re likely to see two of each different type of animal crowded onto the boat. While the Bible does discuss pairs of animals, some species of animal had seven pairs saved. 

The Whale

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The story of Jonah is another story popular with children, but there is no explicit mention of a whale. In the actual biblical story, Jonah is swallowed by a “great fish,”. The whale is often depicted in artwork, making it understandable that we all believe this as a fact.  

The Biblical Origins of the Seven Deadly Sins

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The seven deadly sins are an integral part of religious-themed movies and books, but this list having Biblical origins is a false fact. The concept is more likely to be a result of early church teachings. 

Mary Magdalene as a Prostitute

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Mary Magdalene is one of the only female figures listed as a loyal follower of Jesus, but there is a fallacy that she is a former prostitute. Mary’s previous life is not discussed in the Bible, apart from Jesus freeing her from demonic possession. 

Jesus With Long Hair and a Beard

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Many people feel confident about the fact that Jesus had long hair and a beard. This is a commonly accepted image. Jesus’ physical appearance is not covered in the Bible, and these artistic depictions are likely based on the culture of the time. 

Mary remained a Virgin

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The immaculate conception is an important part of the biblical canon, but this refers to Jesus’s birth without original sin rather than it being a virgin birth. There is also nothing in the Bible to suggest that Mary remained a virgin for the entirety of her life. 

Jesus’ Birthday

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Celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th is well established, but there is no date specified in the Bible. December 25th was likely set by the early church as a compromise with the winter solstice celebrated by pagans.

As the nativity story mentions shepherds tending their flocks, it is more likely that Jesus was born in the spring. 

Moses With Horns

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While sculptures and art show Moses having horns, this is a misunderstanding and a false fact. The concept comes from older mistranslations of Hebrew texts. 

The Rapture

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Many people believe that the rapture is a key biblical concept. But believers being taken up to heaven before the start of the end times is not detailed in the Bible. 

Rich People and Sewing Needles

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Jesus spoke of the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom of God and that it would be easier to pass through the “eye of a needle.” Many people believe that this refers to a modern-day sewing needle, but the eye is thought to have referred to a gate in Jerusalem

Cleanliness and Godliness

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Another false fact about the Bible is that cleanliness is next to godliness. But, this does not feature in the Bible and it comes from an 18th-century John Wesley sermon. 

Spare the Rod

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“Spare the rod, spoil the child” is often cited as a Biblical concept, but while there are lessons about discipline in the Bible, the exact wording comes from a 17th-century poem. 

Winged Angels

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We all believe angels to be beautiful, other-worldly beings with wings, but this is not a consistent motif in the Bible. There are winged creatures featured, but the image of angels with wings is artistic license. 

Fiery Hell

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A very common belief about hell is that it is all fire and brimstone. But there are different metaphors describing hell in the Bible. The false fact about a fiery hell is an artistic and literary interpretation. 

Babel

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There is a false fact that multiple languages originate from the Tower of Babel, but the details of this event are not covered in the Bible. There are symbolic explanations, but the belief that all languages come from Babel is incorrect.

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