Bible Mythbusters: 12 Common Misconceptions and the Truth Behind Them

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

The Bible often serves as a source of inspiration, guidance, and reflection for millions around the world. However, with its rich history, misconceptions can easily take root. In this no-nonsense guide, we’ll tackle a dozen common myths head-on, providing you with straightforward insights and grounded explanations.

Get ready for an engaging ride as we challenge assumptions, unpack misconceptions, and reveal the truths that lie beneath the surface. It’s time to go beyond these 12 myths and discover the real heart of the Bible.

Misconception 1: The Bible is a How-to Guide

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Have you ever heard the acronym–Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.)? Super catchy and clever, but unfortunately, not really correct.

You see, the Bible is not a how-to guide, an owner’s manual, or a set of instructions. There’s no table of contents where you can look up important issues like how to deal with toxic family members, how to respond to an adult child living in sin, or how to love others, then just flip to the page to get your answer, all laid out on the page in a step-by-step format.

The Bible is full of wisdom for your most burning questions, but you typically have to read multiple passages to understand the Bible’s words in context, not just flip to a certain verse or section to get your easy answer. Sorry!

Misconception 2: The Bible is a Children’s Storybook

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While it is true that the Word does contain stories (many of which are VERY entertaining!), the Bible–as a whole–is not primarily a storybook. And if we are only reading the Bible as something to interest or entertain us, we aren’t going to be very motivated to read it.

Misconception 3: The Bible is a Book of Inspiring Quotes

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Similarly, the Bible is not just a book of inspiring quotes that can be hand-selected in order to prove or defend a certain point or convey a message. When we cherry-pick the verses we like best (and we all do this at times), we run the risk of taking the verses out of context and misconstruing the message.

While Scripture does contain numerous quotables, it can be irresponsible to simply cherry-pick verses out of context to prove our point or convey a message. Many of those verses either don’t apply to us directly, or they don’t apply the way they hope they might.

And when we only read the most beautiful or inspiring verses from the Bible, we miss out on the stern warnings against sin that we desperately need, along with the beauty of what God has done for us in comparison to where we’d be without Him.

Misconception 4: The Bible is a Rule Book

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If you’re still viewing Scripture as just a collection of rules — of course you’re not going to be motivated to read it!

Yes, Scripture does contain the main rules, but the Bible is so much more than just a long list of rules and regulations.

It has so much wisdom, insight, encouragement, advice, perspective, and even humor for us as we read its words and apply them to our lives. The Bible is how we get to know God and one of the primary ways He speaks to us today.

Plus, many of the Bible’s “rules” were written for the original readers. They don’t all apply to us today.

Misconception 5: The Bible is the Result of a Game of Telephone

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It is no secret that the words of the Bible were passed along orally for generations before being written down and that those words were written and rewritten countless times until eventually, we ended up with the version we have today. That is all true.

However, just because the message went through a lot of people before it reached its final destination does not mean that it was corrupted along the way (either purposefully or otherwise).

Misconception 6: The Bible is Comprehensive

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Some people believe that if something isn’t in the Bible, it can’t possibly be true or right. Yet, that doesn’t make sense when you consider why and how the Bible was written.

The apostles who wrote the Bible never sat down to write a comprehensive guide that would address every issue. They probably didn’t sit down to draft an outline of key points before they got started or they went back through and edited the books after the fact to make sure that they didn’t forget everything. They probably didn’t poll all of their friends to make sure they hit all the key talking points.

No, when the apostles wrote the books of the Bible, they were writing to specific people at a specific place and time. They were addressing the issues that those people were dealing with and needed encouragement in.

If something isn’t in the Bible, therefore, it isn’t necessarily because it isn’t important. It simply may not have been an issue for that particular group of people in that day.

Misconception 7: The Bible is All About You

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It is important to realize that the Bible isn’t about you. Yes, you can learn a lot from it and get a lot out of it. Yes, there are several verses you can read and apply to your life.

But the fact remains, when the apostles were writing it, they weren’t thinking about you, and not every verse necessarily applies to your life.

Are there sections you don’t care for? That’s okay. It’s not your book.

The Bible isn’t about you and your story; it’s about God and the story of His people. So instead of asking “What’s in it for me” or “What can I get out of it?” ask “What can I learn about God?” and “What does God value?” instead.

Misconception 8: The Bible’s Description of God is Inconsistent

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This stems from a misunderstanding that God is angry in the Old Testament and loving in the New Testament,  but Jesus is meek and mild in the New Testament.

While there is certainly some truth to this, it may surprise you that the Old Testament often describes a joyful God, even describing Him in Zephaniah 3:17 as someone who “rejoices over you with singing.”

And Jesus was firm with His day’s zealots, the Pharisees, and other religious powers. He expressed righteous anger when throwing the tables in the temple and caused the people to riot against Him more than once.

Misconception 9: The Bible is Outdated

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The Bible is ancient, written from the lens of a culture that may be difficult to understand without context in the modern world. But when taking the time to understand the cultural norms the text was written, you will soon find that the truths within Scripture stand as strong today as they did when first penned.

Whenever you come upon an idea or story that seems to misalign with current ideology, this is a perfect opportunity to further dig into the topic rather than skimming over it with discomfort. Often, the areas of God’s Word that confuse us make for the most profound studies that will deepen our understanding of His character.

Misconception 10: The Bible is Boring

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Some parts of the Bible may not be as interesting as others, like the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 1, but that certainly doesn’t mean the Bible as a whole is boring! (And some people actually like the genealogies! Though this, understandably, isn’t as common).

The Scriptures are full of everything a novelist works tirelessly to inject into their epic pages. There are ancient prophecies to uncover, love stories, anti-heroes who come full circle, kings who fall into madness, supernatural beings, and SO much more!

Misconception 11: The Bible Should Be Interpreted Literally

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While there are some Bible passages that should be taken literally (do not steal, murder, or cheat, for example) other passages should be viewed from a metaphorical perspective. Bible chapters in Revelation speak of Jesus saying “His eyes were like flames of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze…and his voice was like the roar of many waters.” (Revelation 1:14-15)

Basically, the author John is saying there isn’t a perfect way to describe Jesus in his vision, but rather, Jesus was like this. We shouldn’t interpret everything literally in the Bible but recognize when the author is trying to give us a description of something too wonderful for words.

Misconception 12: The Bible Tells Us Exactly About The Rapture And “End Times”

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The Bible does have a lot to say about the “end times” – most importantly, that any time after Jesus ascended into heaven it is considered the end times. This means that Paul and Peter from the Bible were living in the “end times” just as we are today.

On the other hand, we do have more information than these men did – John’s visions in the book of Revelation give us clues about when the end times will draw to a close and Jesus will return. But they are just that, clues.

The truth is, no one except God knows the day, hour, or minute of Jesus’ return. Rather than focus on predicting when we should be focusing on making sure that we are ready to meet Jesus if He comes back in our lifetime.

The Truth: The Bible is More Like a Library

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While the Bible does contain instructions, stories, quotes, and rules, it wouldn’t be fair to call the Bible just a how-to guide, storybook, book of quotes, or rulebook. Rather, the Bible is more like a library or anthology of the greatest writings from a particular time period.

Altogether, the Bible contains 66 (Protestant Bibles) or 73-79 (Catholic Bibles) individual books, written by 40 authors who wrote in three different languages, across three continents, over a span of about 1600 years.

With remarkably diverse authorship, yet one central message, the Bible is more of a collection of books than a single book.

The Truth: The Bible Has Been Reliably Preserved

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Archaeologists have uncovered several fragments of the earliest manuscripts and not only do we have an impressive number of them for comparison but the Scriptures we have today are astonishingly similar to the originals.

The Bible isn’t just a collection of made-up stories or fairy tales. In addition to being a divinely inspired book, it is also a very important historical document from which we can gather a TON of trustworthy, reliable, and even life-changing information.

People may get the message confused when playing a game of Telephone for fun, but this is not what happened with the Bible. And we have the early manuscripts to prove it.

14 Well-Known Biblical “Facts” You Won’t Find in Scripture

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Want even more Bible misconceptions? There are tons of them out there!

From Eve and the apple to Jonah and the whale, you might just be surprised to find out the Bible doesn’t include the details you think it does!

14 Well-Known Biblical “Facts” You Won’t Find in Scripture

Oops! These 10 Popular Bible Verses Don’t Mean What You Think

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Unfortunately, these are far from the only ways Christians and non-Christians often misunderstand the Bible.

Here are 10 popular Bible verses people love to take out of context, completely distorting their original meaning in the process.

Oops! These 10 Popular Bible Verses Don’t Mean What You Think

Yes, Christians Should Judge. Here’s Why.

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Tired of judgemental Christians? Me too.

But, unfortunately, simply scolding someone online isn’t enough to make all the judgmental haters quit with their biting comments.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the Bible actually says Christians should judge.

Here’s what the Bible says on the matter, why Christians should judge others (at times), and why you probably should too.

Yes, Christians Should Judge. Here’s Why.

Are We Witnessing the Apocalypse? 10 Alarming Signs Hinting at Christ’s Second Coming

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For centuries, Christians have been eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus in what’s known as the Second Coming. They often search the Bible for clues that might show when this return is near. While it’s important to approach these signs with care and humility, some people suggest that recent events and changes match what the bible prophesizes.

Are We Witnessing the Apocalypse? 10 Alarming Signs Hinting at Christ’s Second Coming

Are Tattoos a Sin? Here’s What the Bible Says

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What does the Bible say about tattoos?

Surprisingly, very little.

There’s only one verse in the entire Bible that even mentions tattoos (Leviticus 19:28), and it isn’t as straightforward as it initially appears.

So whether your body is covered in Christian tattoos or you’re considering getting your very first Bible tattoo…

If you’re wondering, “Are tattoos a sin?” or “Can we go to Heaven with tattoos?” this post has everything you need to know.

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos? Are Tattoos a Sin?

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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