Satan didn’t tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden and there is no record of how many wise men paid a visit to the baby Jesus.
Those facts aren’t in the Bible. It was a serpent, not Satan, and the astronomers who visited Jesus gave him three gifts, but we don’t know how many men there were. I learned this in an interesting story on CNN today: “Actually, that’s not in the Bible.” A number of common phrases that sound scriptural are in fact not. One of the reasons people might think they are? Because they don’t read the Bible so like a bad game of telephone, things get confused.
Even people who are not very religious may appreciate the Bible for its description of a moral code that has stood the test of time and its amazing literary value. But let’s be honest: Even book lovers haven’t read all of the classics.
I have a wise friend who is very good at quoting Bible verses with their location; I admire her excellent memory. This morning’s CNN story got me thinking: What is my favorite Bible verse? And is it really in the Bible?
Here are a few of my favorites:
“God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am.’ … this is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” — Exodus 3: 14a, 15b RSV
I love this passage for its use of language. It illustrates how to describe an indescribable God. God is described as the Alpha and Omega several times in Revelation, but that description seems to say God has a beginning and an end, whereas “I Am” with its simple presence tense verb illustrates God’s timelessness. It’s so simple and so perfect.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” — Matthew 7:7 RSV
This was my confirmation verse, and it, like the Exodus verse, helps describe God for me — it shows Him to be so powerful and have dominion over all creation and that if we just ask, he has the power to give it. But this verse also speaks to faith; first, you must take action — you must ask, and by asking you must trust the being you are asking would have the power to give.
There’s another verse that describes the nature of God and also prescribes a way of living, and I love it. I know this verse set to music so it’s another one of these poetic verses that is as beautiful as its sentiment.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” — 1 John 4:7-8 KJV
What is your favorite Bible verse and why?