18 Things People Think Jesus Said But Didn’t

Written By Babatunde Sanni

Jesus had a lot to say when He lived with us on Earth, but many statements attributed to Him today weren’t part of these teachings. To understand God’s message better, here are clarifications on 18 things people commonly and falsely think Jesus said.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

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One of the most popular religious quotes is “God helps those who help themselves,” but the catch is that Jesus never said this. In fact, it isn’t even in the entire Bible. Jesus often emphasizes grace for the helpless, and Christianity explains, after reading Jesus’s words, that God actually helps those who accept that they cannot help themselves.

Money Is the Root of All Evil

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Money isn’t the root of all evil, and according to Jesus, reading from Bible.com’s 1 Timothy 6:10, He instead says that it’s the love of money that’s the root of evil. Acquiring wealth isn’t against Jesus’s words, and you only sin when you give your obsession with it more priority than selflessness and the worship of God.

This Too Shall Pass

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Yes, this statement is comforting and represents a summary of many things Jesus preaches, but it wasn’t said verbatim by Him. However, we can learn from similar verses that there’s an assurance that we’ll survive and thrive through rough times as long as we put our faith in God.

To Thine Own Self Be True

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This phrase is actually from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and not from Jesus. Jesus taught about denying oneself and following Him, which is quite different from the self-centered approach suggested by this saying. True fulfillment, according to Jesus, comes from living for God and others.

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

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While the sentiment aligns with Christian values, Jesus never explicitly said this. He taught love and compassion for all people, regardless of their sins, and emphasized forgiveness and redemption. His approach was more about transformation through love than focusing on hating sin.

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

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This phrase is not a biblical quote but rather a proverb. Jesus spoke more about inner purity and the cleanliness of the heart than physical cleanliness. Although cleanliness is important too, He criticized those who focused too much on outward appearances while neglecting their inner spiritual state.

God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

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This is another common misquote that aligns closely with Jesus’s teachings but is not found verbatim in the Bible. Moreover, the scriptures talk about God providing a way out of temptation and offering strength in trials, not that we will never face overwhelming situations. Trusting God in all circumstances is key.

All Men Are Created Equal

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Here, we have a famous line from the American Declaration of Independence, not Jesus. While Jesus taught the value and dignity of every person, His words were more focused on love, service, and humility. His message was about spiritual equality before God rather than a political statement.

Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

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This phrase comes from the movie Love Story and not from Jesus. In fact, Jesus emphasized the importance of showing remorse, repentance after sin, showing grace through forgiveness, and reconciliation. Admitting wrongs and seeking forgiveness are central to Jesus’s teachings about relationships, love, and salvation.

God Works in Mysterious Ways

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Jesus also never said these exact words, and according to Bible Study Tools, they actually come from an eighteenth-century poet and hymn writer, William Cowper. Nonetheless, the phrase aligns with many biblical themes we’ve learned over the years, as there’s no doubt that God, in His omniscience, works in ways humans cannot fully comprehend.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

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This phrase is often misattributed to Jesus, but it actually comes from Proverbs—and it also doesn’t fully portray what the Bible says. Jesus taught about love, kindness, and guidance in raising children, emphasizing nurturing rather than punishment. His approach was more about leading by example and teaching with love.

An Eye for an Eye

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This Old Testament principle wasn’t a direct call for revenge, and, even with the right context, it was actually overturned by Jesus. He taught about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies, which was a radical departure from the old law. His teachings focused on forgiveness and reconciliation rather than retribution.

Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You

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This Golden Rule is indeed from the Bible but is often misquoted in modern language. Jesus’s actual words were about treating others with the same respect and kindness you desire, focusing on empathy and mutual respect. It doesn’t call for a simple transactional approach to relationships.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

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Although honesty is a biblical virtue, Jesus never framed it this way. He spoke of truthfulness and integrity as fundamental to one’s character and relationship with God, emphasizing that living honestly is more about spiritual sincerity than just good policy. Through His teachings, we also learn that dishonesty will always be found out.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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As we see in 1 John 3:18 shared by Biblia, Jesus did teach that faith and love without works are dead, which aligns with the sentiment of this phrase. But He never said those exact words. What He did was emphasize the importance of living out one’s faith through actions, showing that what we do reflects what we truly believe.

Let Go and Let God

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This phrase is a modern Christian saying and not a direct quote from Jesus. However, Jesus did teach about surrendering to God’s will and trusting in His plan. The essence is similar—telling us to leave everything that happens to us, both good and bad, for God to handle. But the wording and even context are sometimes different.

What Goes Around Comes Around

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Often mistaken as biblical, this phrase is more aligned with the concept of karma. Jesus taught about sowing and reaping, emphasizing that our actions have consequences. His focus was more on the moral and spiritual outcomes of our behaviors than a simplistic view of karma.

Who Am I to Judge?

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Jesus also doesn’t say this statement verbatim, but it closely reflects His words in John 8:15. Here, He says everyone else judges by the flesh, and He doesn’t partake in judgment. He even goes further in John 8:16 to say that even if He judges, He does so through the authority given to Him by God.

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