It’s April Fools Day again, and the usual round of improbable stories are doing the rounds in the media. It’s easy to be led into believing something if it sounds believable, particularly if it comes from a credible source. I don’t like April Fool’s Day… there seems to be something very wrong with trying to deliberately deceive people.
But, how often do we stop and think about things we are told about the Bible? Do we check for ourselves to see if they are true?
There are 365 Do Not Fears in the Bible – one for every day of the year! Sounds amazing doesn’t it?
I’ve seen this shared so many times on social media. But it’s not true.
There are about 80 occurrences of the phrase in the Bible, perhaps another 30 or so if you take similar word pairings, such as do not be afraid. Some have stretched this to it’s limit and maybe got a couple of hundred. Nowhere near 365.
So when you share this kind of stuff on Facebook, it might sound awesome, but actually you are helping to spread an untruth. Okay, it’s pretty innocent and harmless and the sentiment is lovely, but how about if it was a Bible belief or doctrine?
The middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8 and it reads “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” How wonderful!
But it’s not the middle verse. It depends on which version you are using, as the number of verses differs slightly, but even taking that into account the middle verse falls somewhere between Psalm 102:18 and Psalm 103:2, or falls in-between two verses because there are an even number of verses in the translation. Even if you take the middle chapter, it is Psalm 117, not 118.
How did this start? Someone likely picked a nice sounding verse somewhere near the middle of the Bible and thought it would be cool to say it was the middle verse. Others liked the sound of it and without checking told everyone else, and now we are here trying to sort out fact from fiction.
Again the sentiment is lovely and again in this case harmless, but the precedent is dangerous. However, it’s our fault for believing them in the first place.
Christians don’t seem to bother to read the Bible for themselves any more, they are ready to believe anything without checking and just follow what the crowd says… don’t place your salvation in someone else’s hand, do your research and do not be deceived!
See Acts 17:10-11 for sound advice!
Most importantly though, do not be afraid… (and just once is enough for me!)