20 Things People Think Jesus Said but Never Actually Did

Many famous sayings are often mistakenly attributed to Jesus, such as, “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” even though He never actually said them. While, yes, these sayings can be aligned with the teachings of the church, they can be pretty confusing and maybe even harmful when taught in the wrong context. Read on, as we’re positive some of those included in this list are things you’ve heard before!

“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.”

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A poll conducted by George Barna, a professor at Arizona Christian University, revealed that this sentence is the most widely known Bible verse. However, the issue is that it was never mentioned in the Bible. Instead, it originated from an ancient Greek saying, “The gods help those who help themselves.” This was considered a proverb during that time and was also illustrated in Aesop’s fables.

“Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner.”

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Christ’s teachings center on love and how we should love others regardless of their past or actions. Because of this, many believe that Jesus Christ Himself said, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” This sentence, however, is also not found in the Bible.

“Money Is the Root of All Evil.”

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While this sentence is a very common saying, it’s actually a misquoted version of what’s actually said in the Bible. Jesus never said that money itself is the root or cause of evil. Instead, 1 Timothy 6:10 reads, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” So, given this, it’s actually the greed one has for money that causes evil—not necessarily money itself.

“Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.”

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When read, this sentence really does sound old—like it came from the Bible. However, like the other statements on this list, Jesus Himself never said this. In fact, according to Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting, the saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” comes from a 17th-century poem called Hudibras.

“Charity Begins at Home.”

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Because charity is one of the most common values discussed in the Bible, it’s easy to mistake “charity begins at home” as something that came from Scripture. However, it’s actually a proverb that was popularized in the 17th century by Thomas Fuller, a clergyman and historian.

“You Reap What You Sow.”

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A very similar version of this statement was said in Galatians 6:7-9, which reads, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked; a man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh, will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit, will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” However, it was Paul who said this, not Jesus.

“When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Window.”

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Yes, when God closes a door, He does indeed open a window. However, this saying was never mentioned in the Bible. It’s a nugget of wisdom taken from the script of The Sound of Music, a classic movie starring Julie Andrews.

“God Works in Mysterious Ways.”

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God indeed works in mysterious ways, and we can never fully comprehend the wonders He does for us. However, no matter how true this statement is, it doesn’t mean it was directly derived from the Bible. It’s part of a Christian hymn written by William Cowper in 1773 entitled Light Shining out of Darkness.

“To Thine Own Self Be True.”

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This is another statement that sounds old and seemingly from the Bible. While it’s not from the Bible, it is old, as it’s a part of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s easy to get confused, though, and we don’t blame you if you are because Shakespeare is famous for using over 1,000 Bible verses in his works.

“The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.”

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This is a very popular statement that has become a household constant worldwide. However, it’s also not accurate or true to say that this is a quote from Jesus Christ. Instead, it originated from Fr. Patrick Peyton, a priest famous for promoting the use of the rosary worldwide.

“Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness.”

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“Cleanliness is next to godliness” is a famous saying we’ve all come to know. However, John Wesley, the co-founder of Methodism, was highly likely the one who said this. Even so, this coincides with many biblical teachings, although they talk more about the cleanliness of one’s soul. For example, Isaiah 1:16 reads, “Wash and make yourselves clean, take your evil deeds out of My sight; stop doing wrong.”

“God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle.”

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It’s so comforting to believe that Jesus said that God the Father will never let us go through things we cannot handle. However, this statement itself is not in the Bible. It’s just a misquote of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which reads, “God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”

“Follow Your Heart.”

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One of the most common pieces of advice given today is to follow one’s heart. However, Jesus never advised the world of this; in fact, there are Bible verses that warn against it. For example, Mark 13:5 warns, “And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See that no one leads you astray.’” For many, this could be interpreted as meaning that if we follow our emotions and desires, we can be led farther away from God and His love.

“You Get What You Deserve.”

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The Bible has many lessons about fairness, justice, and being morally good. However, no verse says, “You get what you deserve,” or even, “You’ll get what’s coming to you.” These kinds of phrases are more karmic and perhaps more associated with Eastern teachings of karma and the like.

“Happiness Is What Matters Most.”

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In today’s world, we’re taught to do what makes us happy or what makes our hearts joyful because life is short. However, though being happy is nice, it’s not something Jesus explicitly taught us in the Bible. What Jesus said, as Luke 9:23 reads, is, “If anyone would be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Following Him means being ready to bear the cross—sufferings—no matter how hard they may seem.

“This, Too, Shall Pass.”

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Saying, “This, too, shall pass,” as something from Scripture, is not biblically accurate. All translations of the Bible also don’t have these words written in them. The closest one in terms of meaning or message would be 2 Corinthians 4:17, which says, “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day.”

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Many might think this saying came from Jesus, as He performed the miracle of the fish and bread. However, this statement isn’t even something that came from Christianity. The complete saying is, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This is actually a Chinese proverb attributed to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

“The Lion Shall Lay Down With the Lamb.”

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Reading this statement out of context, it’s easy to fall into the flawed way of thinking that it’s a quote from the Bible. However, though there are Bible verses that mention both the lion and the lamb, they were never said in relation to each other. For example, Isaiah 11:6 reads, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Another is Isiah 65:25, which reads, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat.”

“Confession Is Good for the Soul.”

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Churches and priests have long said that when one confesses their sins, it’ll be like a weight lifted off one’s shoulders. While this may be true for some people, the statement, “Confession is good for the soul,” was never said by Jesus. Tomorrow’s World shares, “Some believe that the idiom is Scottish in origin; regardless, it essentially says that admitting our errors is good for us, easing the burden of carrying the guilt we feel if nothing else.”

“Pray, and You Shall Receive.”

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This statement is often regarded as an oversimplified version of Matthew 7:7, which reads, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” People often interpret this to mean that a person can ask for and pray for whatever they want, and they’ll get it—instantly, with no fail. However, the Lord’s Prayer, which goes, “Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven,” reminds us that what we should be praying for instead is for God’s will to be done—not ours.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.