There’s an interesting post over on CNN’s Religion blog concerning sayings many people assume are in the Bible but actually are not.
Most of these phantom quotations have been debunked repeatedly, e.g. “God helps those who help themselves.” However, the author of the piece doesn’t discriminate between phony quotations and ideas that may be good inferences from Scripture that are not explicitly stated in the Biblical text.
For example, we’re asked by this author to dismiss the statement that “Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.” In fact, it’s supposedly dangerous to believe this! This is despite a couple thousand years of exegesis in the church identifying the serpent as, at minimum, a covenantal agent of the devil. But no, this author assures that Satan wasn’t invented until 500 years after the invention of the story of the Garden of Eden. I guess next we’ll be told that the doctrine of the Trinity is un-Biblical and should therefore be discarded.
Of course all this sort of commentary is question-begging on the issue of inspiration. Certainly, let’s correct those who mistakenly attribute a quotation to the Bible. But aren’t these the same people who are always warning about narrow literalism in Scriptural interpretation? Make up your minds, people!