Cleanlines Is Next to Godliness and Other Sayings That Aren't in the Bible

Updated on August 5, 2018
North Wind profile image

I have been trying to find out what is life without God and each time I come to the answer, "Nothing".

There are so many quotes and sayings that are repeated over and over again. Some of them are said to be from the Bible but many of them are not.

If you are anything like me, then you have probably heard the saying, "Cleanliness is next to godliness" quite a few times. I remember it as being one of my teacher's favourite phrases and a few of my great aunts said it as well. They repeated it as though it was Gospel truth and when I finally investigated, I found out that the phrase was not in the Gospel or in the Bible at all.

Today, when people tell me this phrase, I ask out of curiosity if it is in the Bible and most say definitively "Yes". When I point out to them that it isn't, they stubbornly tell me that I must have missed it. This quote as well as some others continue to be wrongly attributed to the Bible and many live by them because they believe it is so.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

We all have to do something in order for God to help us. That is what this saying is about. It is a statement that tries to discourage laziness. However, it is a statement that was made by others and not written in the Bible.

The Scriptures actually say that mankind can do nothing to help himself and that is why God had to do something in order to save us. After He provided a way to eternity, He had to wake us up to it as written in Ezekiel, "Can these dead bones live?"

Obviously, laziness is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the Bible does frown upon laziness.

  • The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets. Proverbs 22: 13.
  • As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. Proverbs 26:14
  • Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15
  • By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. Ecclesiastes 10: 18

Yet, when God works in the Bible He often tells man to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Hezekiah's deliverance from the threats of Sennacherib, The Israelites deliverance from bondage in Egypt, Lot's deliverance from the wrath of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah, all illustrate this point.

What is clear is that God acts first in the Scriptures and stirs the soul into action, not the other way around! This statement is the one of the most contradictory statements concerning God's character and our capabilities. When it comes to our skills, we are unable to be superheroes and get ourselves to Heaven. It simply cannot be done.

Hate The Sin But Love The Sinner

This statement is said by Christians and non-Christians alike mostly when they are trying to explain tolerance for sin in the lives of themselves or others.

This statement is not only absent from the Bible but is used to assign an impossible level of tolerance for sin. When this quotation is used it is stress the importance of acknowledging that someone is doing something wrong but being as nice about it as you can. It is all about being politically correct, trying your best not to step on anybody's toes and saying everything with 'love' and 'kindness'. I use quotes for those words because this form of love is not the love that the God of the Bible showed to people. He told them the truth and many were offended, angry and rebellious as a result.

This quote is one that is always attached to a character trait of Jesus that people have made up in their minds. It helps them to sleep at night, I suppose. No one wants to think that Jesus, when telling the Pharisees of their sins called them:

  • hypocrites
  • fools
  • blind guides
  • children of them which killed the prophets
  • serpents
  • vipers
  • children of the devil

In the Bible, Jesus showed mercy and compassion to those who acknowledged and repented of their sins, but for those who would not, and wallowed in their own sense of self-righteousness (or self-esteem) He spoke quite plainly.



screenshot of the game Torus Trooper
screenshot of the game Torus Trooper

God Never Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

If only this was true. I would have been able to avoid so many awful things in my life, if only this was true. Perhaps this was borne out of people trying to comfort themselves when faced with a terrible situation but what it means is that we are strong enough to cope with whatever bad thing that may happen in life because God knows we can take it.

Except, we can't take it.

That is why people grieve and are depressed and commit suicide. Mankind is constantly coming up with new pills for people to take to help them to cope with life.

Rich people can't cope.

Poor people can't cope.

Nobody can cope!

However everybody keeps getting fed this message that people are great conquers. We can climb great mountains, swim across large expanses of water, swim exceptionally fast, lift heavy boulders, get to the moon....the list goes on and on.

Death still happens to every last one of us. No matter how well you play the game, what secret rooms or passages you find, how many bonus points you score, how long you can keep playing, it will always be game over.

Without God, that game over is for eternity.

God wants us to lean on Him. To trust in Him and to call on Him for help. He wants us to admit that we can't handle the boulder that was thrown at us and if we aren't rescued from it, it will kill us!

God Works In Mysterious Ways

God works in mysterious ways actually comes from a hymn written by William Cowper.

The words of the first verse are :

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.


This hymn is actually based upon the letter of Paul to the Romans. In Romans 11:33 it says "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

The Beautiful Hymn "God Moves In A Mysterious Way"

The quotation is not a bad one it just does not come from the Bible. It is something that is said to express that all the ways of God are not understood. I mostly hear this said by people who have results from circumstances that they did not expect. However, the context of the true Scripture verse from which this quote was born, is speaking of God's mercies, His goodness and His severity. How He grafted those who were not part of the olive tree into the tree and His willingness also to deliver the remnant of Israel.

God Wants You To Be Happy

Matthew Chapter 5 says: "For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

Just as good can happen to all so can evil happen to all. Death is something that none of us can avoid. Unless there is no one we love in this life, we all will feel the bone-deep pain of grief when someone we love dies.

We cannot be happy all the time. Troubles will come as long as we are alive because we are in a sin-filled world. We can seek His joy to be our strength and we can seek and receive the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

Follow your heart and believe and you will do anything

I am not sure that people believe that this is a direct quotation from the Bible. I think that they see it as more of a summary. Perhaps of the New Testament or of Jesus' teachings, it is never quite clear to me.

I think that this message grew and took on a 'godly' ring to it when there were elements in the media who represented what was supposed to be the church endorsing it.

"Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music

In the Sound of Music, Maria is urged to search high and low until she finds her dream and to give her dream all of the love she possibly can. People are touched by this sentiment. They all have dreams and wish for them to come true. They all have mountains that they want to climb and it is good for them to be encouraged to have their dreams fulfilled....so the world says.

It is not in the Bible.

To be literal, the people of Israel were forbidden from climbing Mount Sinai. They would die if they even approached the foot of it. Only Moses was allowed to go up. (Exodus 19)

I am sure that there were some there who wished that they could be able to go up the mountain as Moses was allowed to go up.

Not all of God's people were called to be kings in the Bible either or to do great things in the eyes of the people during their lifetime. People speak of King David and King Solomon. They speak of all their riches and wisdom. They speak of the strength of Samson and the miracles of Elijah and Elisha. Many do not speak of Ezekiel and what he was called to do in his life. Lose his wife whom he loved dearly. Not be allowed to mourn his loss.

I am certain that in Ezekiel's heart he did not have the dream to lie on one side for 390 days and on the other for 40 days, eating barley cakes made with animal dung. How do I know? Because God first commanded it to be human dung and Ezekiel begged Him and said, "Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth." Ezekiel 4:14

Yet Ezekiel served God and fulfilled His purpose for his life. Yes, those who were kings and prophets, servants and masters, who served God fulfilled His purpose for them. If their dream did not match with the purpose of God, they had to let it go.

What about what Jesus said,"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matthew 17:20?

He did not lie. Nothing will be impossible when your will is aligned with the will of God. When you do things for yourself then it will be impossible.

God sent the plagues to Egypt and parted the Red Sea using Moses. That's a good as moving a mountain.

Moses did not get to dwell in the Promised Land.

The idea of following your heart and fulfilling your dreams gives the idea of achieving your own glory when all glory should be given to God. Finding your vocation is a different thing. Asking God, what is it you would have me do and then following that path regardless of difficulty is different.


Money is the Root of all Evil

A misquote, really.

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10

The sin is covetousness. Wanting what others have an continuously searching out ways to get it. This love of money is what will get you into trouble. It encourages selfishness, trickery, dishonesty, mistrust, hatred, and discord.

This love of money can happen to both the poor and the rich.

The rich who have and want more and the poor who do not have and envy the rich.

It is one of the easiest traps to fall into!

Money itself is not a root of evil. It is simply paper. A form of trade. The deep desire to possess it and other material commodities is what can take over your life.

Final Thoughts

It seems to me that many of these sayings would not have ever been attributed to the Bible if more people read it instead of simply having it in their houses as a decoration. Most fully believe others when they are told that such and such is in the Bible and never check for themselves.

If we, as Christians, became more Bible literate we would know what sayings come from the world and the mind of man and which sayings come from the lips of God and are words to live by.

© 2018 North Wind

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    • tsadjatko profile image

      11 days ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      North wind, Charlie isn’t talking about leaders who may be wolves in sheep’s clothing. He is talking about ( in HIS WORDS) “the fake church system,”

      Ask him what exactly is his definition of “fake church system” I don’t think you’ll agree with his description unless of course you are a member of his cult.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      11 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      North Wind I applaude you here. And Charlie and Bronwen. The only way for me to fortify my son is reading out of my 12 bibles and speaking about the passages. Bronwen and Charlie hit on such important concepts.

      And that is due to this wonderful piece.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      11 days ago from The World (for now)

      @ Charlie - What you say is true, many leaders of 'churches' do count on the ignorance of those who listen to them. They are certain that they will not check to see if what they tell them is really in the Bible.

      @ Eric - the cleaning rituals were quite tedious and I agree that Jesus' response to it is refreshing. It clarifies that the cleanliness has to do with clean hands and a pure heart before the Lord. The washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus was also a demonstration of this.

      @ Bronwen Scott0Brangen - Yes, these sayings were drilled into my head. For some reason teachers had a thing about dirty fingernails and we would all be inspected while being told that cleanliness was next to godliness. My nails were always bitten down to the quick (being a nervous child who preferred home to school) so there was nothing to trap dirt. Yes, having a Bible in the house is a good start. If it is not there, how will anyone have a chance to read it?

      Thanks to all for the comments.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      13 days ago from Victoria, Australia

      Interesting! They are certainly sayings that we were brought up on. Considering what seems to be the state of much of the world today, even having a Bible in the house as decoration would be a good start. You never know, someone might be moved to read it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Celafoe - are you ok. Any one who reads the Bible would know that is a typo and it is 7:1. Wow I thought you knew the Bible enough to know what verses I was talking about without a citation.

      And of course as I pointed out, it is not the money but the wrongful love of it.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      13 days ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      eric-- what bible do you find mark 71-30 in, I have never seen those verses

      and the ROOT of ALL kinds of evil is the "love of money".

      1 Tim 6:10 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This first one really got me. I just reflect on the beauty of Mark 71-30. Rituals of cleaning are just bordering on blasphemy. Although I really could not judge that.

      I just love the "root" of all evil being a "thing" instead of misdirected love. On the other hand we may need to cut off that thing called a hand.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      2 weeks ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      excellent article and is really needed but not at all wanted by the fake church system, it takes away their false doctrines that they use to justify their slooppy false doctrines that they use to build their money making empires and lead the ignorant to satans parlor

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