Ironic, isn’t it? In our modern world, in which so much information is so easily available, along with the information come many common misconceptions.
Here are a couple of examples: “Christopher Columbus discovered America.” Truth or misconception? In fact, it’s far more misconception than truth. When Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, it had already been “discovered” by at least one other explorer prior to him; the Norse explorer Leif Eriksson had arrived on the shores of the Americas at least 500 years earlier.
Here’s another one: Mexican Independence Day is on May 5, or Cinco de Mayo, right? Wrong! No, Mexican Independence Day is on Sept. 16, the day Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1810. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on that date in 1862.
There are so many other misconceptions in so many areas of life. Those are just a couple of examples from history.
But here at Life, Hope & Truth, one of our goals is to publish the truth about the Bible, a book that has been subject to many common misconceptions. So, let’s try something here. Let’s do a “pop quiz” on some Bible basics to see just a few of the misconceptions. This quiz won’t be complicated—but it may be surprising.
Okay, so here goes: question No. 1. True or false? Jesus was born in late December.
Now, question No. 2: when Jesus was born, He was visited by some men from the east. The Bible tells us it was three wise men. True or false?
Here’s another one: the apostle Peter was unmarried and celibate. True or false? That’s No. 3.
And here’s No. 4: the Bible speaks of purgatory as a destination when sinners die. That’s No. 4.
No. 5. Ready? Adam and Eve ate an apple in the Garden of Eden.
Okay, so let’s move on to No. 6, and see how much you know about the prophets. Ready? Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Got that one? Now No. 7. A little more challenging. True or false: the book of Jeremiah contains more prophecies of the Messiah than any other book of the prophets. What do you think?
Now let’s move on to No. 8. True or false? The New Covenant was instituted by the apostle Paul.
Almost done. Here’s No. 9. Moses was a Jew. True or false?
And finally, here’s question No. 10. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” was first uttered by the apostle Paul.
So, how did you do? The answers are easy—all 10 are false.
Now let’s run through them, and give the right answers.
Question No. 1. No, Jesus was not born in December. In fact He wasn’t born in the winter at all. For an explanation of this, please see our article titled “The Birth of Jesus” on the Life, Hope & Truth website.
Question No. 2. While it’s true that the baby Jesus was visited by wise men from the east, the Scriptures don’t say how many. The number “three” is no more than a guess, a tradition, and likely wrong.
Now question No. 3. The apostle Peter was married. 1 Corinthians 9:5—where he is called “Cephas”—tells us so.
Now, No. 4. Purgatory is nowhere even mentioned in the Scriptures, Old or New. No, not once.
No. 5. Adam and Eve ate a fruit, to be sure, but the Bible only refers to it as a fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6).
Now No. 6. Jonah may have given a dose of indigestion to a great fish, but it is nowhere identified as a whale.
No. 7 now. No, it’s not Jeremiah whose book features all those prophecies of the Messiah. The book of Isaiah has as many as 20 messianic prophecies. Jeremiah doesn’t even come close.
Still with us? No. 8. The New Covenant—a much debated subject. But no, it wasn’t introduced by the apostle Paul. Jesus Christ, when He passed the wine to His disciples on the Passover evening, invited them to partake of His “blood of the new covenant,” symbolically represented by the wine.
Okay, so now here’s No. 9. Moses was an Israelite, but he was born of the tribe of Levi, not of Judah. All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews (Exodus 2:1-10).
Finally, No. 10. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is found in a speech given by the apostle Paul, but in fact he’s quoting from the words of Jesus Christ, recorded in the book of Acts, chapter 20 and verse 35.
So how did you do? There may be some Bible experts out there, and maybe also some who were surprised by the answers. Whatever the case, we can see that misconceptions aren’t limited to world history. In fact, the most important misconceptions are the false ideas about the Bible.
We invite you to visit this site often, but be prepared to be surprised about what the Bible really says!
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Ralph Levy.