There’s been a picture floating around on social media saying, “Name something that people think is in the Bible but isn’t.” I took the liberty to post it on my own account with a list that I came up with off the top of my head. In my mind, I thought that it would cause a discussion but there were no takers in this instance. It got me thinking that I wanted to share this information along with you all. I am sure that there are things that you can come up with that others believe are in the Bible when in fact, they are not. This list is not in any particular order.
1.) Just invite Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior.
I honestly cannot put a scriptural reference to this because there are none. No such passage exists! Since this is the case, why are there so many people who are so eager to tell others to do this? In the Gospel accounts, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John), Jesus never instructed anyone to invite Him into their hearts. He told them to believe in Him, John 3:16. He told them to confess Him, Matthew 10:32-33; He told them to repent, Matthew 4:17. He told them to be baptized, Mark 16:16. He told them to obey Him, Luke 6:46; John 14:15; John 15:14. Again, none of the teachings of Jesus ever included this idea that “all you have to do is invite Jesus into your heart”. This is a man-made doctrine.
2.) Say the sinner’s prayer.
Once again, there is no scriptural reference that can be given for this because it does not exist. This doctrine exists because of false teachers such as Billy Graham. Many of them do this because this is their reaction to the notion that mankind is saved or justified by works of merit. Instead of teaching the truth of what scripture reveals regarding justification by faith, that man responds in trust and obedience because of the work of Jesus, they have turned justification by faith into this shallow view of “say this prayer and you will be saved”. If such a prayer existed, why did Jesus never teach anyone to pray it? Of all the writers of the New Testament, why didn’t any of them write down this specific prayer that we ought to pray for forgiveness? Peter told Simon the sorcerer to pray for forgiveness after he obeyed the Gospel because he sinned (Acts 8:20-24). That prayer was not the sinner’s prayer. It was a sinner who was praying for forgiveness, but it was not the “sinner’s prayer”.
3.) You are saved by faith alone.
There is a recurring theme with these. I cannot provide any scriptural references for any of them. Sure, there are people who try to use passages such as John 20:31 to teach this idea but you will never find this specific phrase of “faith alone”. Now I want to be careful because I am not saying that we always need specific phrases in order to prove something. There is authority through necessary inferences, but the Bible never teaches “faith alone”. In fact, if you look at James 2:14-26, specifically James 2:24, we see that this notion is false.
James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
4.) You are saved by grace alone.
Let me give credit where credit is due. If I were to pick which one is the closest to scripture between this one and the last one, this one would be it. Even with that being the case, it still is simply not true. There’s no evidence from scripture of this viewpoint. There are no passages that contain this teaching that it is only grace that saves so therefore, we do nothing. Because that is what people teach. We do have Ephesians 2:8 but it says “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” So as you can see, it is not faith alone and it is not grace alone. It is both!
5.) Baptism is an outward sign of inward grace.
I will never forget the first time I heard this teaching. I was having a discussion with a “friend” of mine. His dad was a local Baptist preacher at the time. His dad had obviously coached him because anytime I took him to a scripture regarding baptism, he really struggled with it. He knew that there was more to baptism than just what he had been taught but he couldn’t explain it away. When we got to 1 Peter 3:21, he really fell into a hole. The next time we had got together, he had brought some notes and had said this to me. I responded with “What does that mean?” I turned this into a quibble because I immediately asked him “Where does that inward grace go when you start cussing on the baseball field?” He then realized the direction the conversation was going because that is another hole that people don’t want to go down. Had the conversation continued, I would have eventually asked him if he would conclude that we can continue to sin and be right with God? Unfortunately, most people would. Story telling aside, 1 Peter 3:21 does not say that baptism is an outward sign of inward grace.
1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you – not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
6.) Peter and Paul preached different plans of salvation for Jews and Gentiles.
Honestly, this one is the saddest one of them all. You have people who claim to be “christians”, “God fearing”, etc…and then this falls out of their mouth. The apostle Paul tells us that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). If that is true, then why would he make the Jews do something that the Gentiles wouldn’t have to do and vice versa? Another thing to consider is the fact of what Paul says in Galatians 1:6-9. Was Peter and the other apostles sinful for preaching a “different gospel”?