Is it okay for a preacher to have a least-favorite verse?  If it isn’t, I get off on a technicality. My least favorite verse doesn’t exist. In the Bible, at least…

When teaching classes, a few times a year someone will tell me about a Bible verse. The problem is, the one they’re quoting isn’t there. Or worse, it’s a paraphrase of a passage that teaches the exact opposite.

Ever heard someone say, “The Bible says that God helps those who helps themselves”? Maybe it’s true. Maybe it isn’t. We can debate the merit of that sentiment all day long, but I can tell you that there’s not a verse that says that.

At least twice a year someone tells me about the verse that explains that baptism is optional if there’s no water handy. Know where that one is? Not there.

Sometimes it happens because people don’t always understand the difference between the commentary in their study Bibles and the scripture itself. More often, it’s just something that they believe very strongly, so there must be a verse. I don’t think anyone does it on purpose, and I’m sure to be guilty of it, too, but it’s sure hard to correct!

It’s hard to correct because we assume we can’t find it because we can’t remember its location—not because it isn’t there. None of us has all 31,000+ verses committed to memory.

Can I encourage you to spend some time searching for some of those passages that you know exist, but you don’t know where they are? And if they can’t be found, entertain the idea that there may be a reason for their hiding.

What’s your favorite non-existent verse?