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NaturalMineralWater's avatar

What pearls of wisdom come from the bible (whether you believe in it as a book or not)?

Asked by NaturalMineralWater (11257 points ) December 10th, 2009

I’m curious what pearls of wisdom both the religious and non-religious alike can glean from the words in the bible? What famous people have quoted from it.. and have even been given credit for saying it first?

Is the Bible a good book whether you believe in it or not? Or is it just a waste of time?

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62 Answers

mcbealer's avatar

do onto others as you would wish them do onto you

Leanne1986's avatar

“Let those without sin cast the first stone” – or something along those lines, I don’t know the exact wording but I like it a lot.

CMaz's avatar

Luke 6:37
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

CMaz's avatar

@Leanne1986

John 8:7
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Qingu's avatar

Judges 3:
The best way to assassinate an obese king is to send a left-handed assassin, disguised as a messenger with a secret message for the king, with a short sword attached to his right thigh, which should be used upon delivering the “secret message” to stab the fat king in the belly so far that the sword’s hilt goes all the way in and the fat closes around it, then throw the corpse in the bathroom so the guards assume he’s just relieving himself.

Also, when performing this task, you should say something completely badass when you deliver your “secret message,” like “I have a message from God.”

More seriously, I like Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” and “take the log out of your own eye,” though those statements are ironic coming from a violent hypocrite like Jesus.

Les's avatar

Luke 8:18:
whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

Or, as Billie Holiday would say: Them that’s got, shall get; them that’s not, shall lose.
I have had this song in my head for two weeks…

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Not to sidetrack, but I’ve been wondering, if Jesus was born in the Middle East, why does he have an Hispanic first name?

evil2's avatar

“mess with me and i’ll kill you” God-anywhere in the old testament

evil2's avatar

No rest for the wicked:isaiah 48:22

Qingu's avatar

@PandoraBoxx, “Jesus” is an Anglicanization of the Latin name for the Greek name for the Hebrew name “Yeshua.”

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Qingu Actually, it is the Latin, which is why it turns up in Spanish

Qingu's avatar

Latin doesn’t have J’s.

75movies's avatar

Deuteronomy 23
13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

That’s about it though.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Qingu The J is an evolution of the I.

Qingu's avatar

@Yetanotheruser, yis, in Germanic languages based on Latin, not in Latin itself.

Christ, did you people not see Last Crusade?

CMaz's avatar

Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.

- W. C. Fields

Harp's avatar

I’m totally on-board with “Thou shalt not kill” too bad there are so many conflicting messages in this regard

I appreciate the spirit behind Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. too bad there hasn’t been much follow-through on his exhortation to keep doing this

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Some good answers here.. I’m just amazed at the wisdom I find in the Bible.. the more I read the more I find. And you don’t have to be religious to see the wisdom in it.. Do any of you know a single book that has more wisdom in it than the Bible? I can’t think of one.

ratboy's avatar

“Show me the money.”

Qingu's avatar

@Harp, in the Hebrew, it’s “You shall not murder.” Murder, as in unlawful killing.

The Bible is totally down with all kinds of killing, up to and including genocide (see Deuteronomy 13:12, 20:16, and the entire book of Joshua).

Qingu's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, Harry Potter has more wisdom than the Bible. And it also has the added upside of not condoning slavery, rape, and genocide.

evil2's avatar

@Qingu but he does condone snogging….tsk tsk

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Qingu I’m not trying to find out how much you hate the Bible and God.. I’m just asking what wisdom you find in it.. if you can’t find a single thing good to say than you should probably go argue somewhere else. =D

Also, I haven’t read Harry Potter.. but I seriously doubt your claim. XD I guess I’ll have to read it.

Qingu's avatar

Also, a lot of the “wisdom” in the Bible is just wrong or stupid.

Take Ecclesiastes 1:9:
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Nothing new… except a female work force and women’s rights, racial equality, computers, an information economy, the Internet, and spaceships that have landed on other planets, to name a few.

John 8:7
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
A naive requirement for any criminal justice system. (And, incidentally, most scholars believe this is a later, non-canonical addition to the gospel of John…)

Luke 8:18:
‘Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.’
This isn’t wisdom. It’s a threat. Jesus is threatening people who do not listen to what he tells them and follow his cult. It’s exactly what every other two-bit cult leader does, from Muhammad to David Korresh.

Isaiah 48:22
‘There is no peace’, says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’
1. This is a naive fantasy that we tell ourselves.
2. Most people would call the behavior of Lord Yahweh and his genocidal followers “wicked.”

Deuteronomy 23
As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.
“Don’t shit where you eat” is a good idea, but it’s pretty stupid to say the reason you need to bury your crap is so that a sky god won’t get grossed out and avoid your encampment.

Maybe I’m missing the good pearls of wisdom or something.

75movies's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater you can probably find as much wisdom in any other religious text. Just ask a Jew or a Muslim or etc. etc.

Qingu's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, you asked what books have more wisdom. Harry Potter, unlike the Bible, actually contains mature and relevant ideas about society, human nature, and how to conduct yourself as a noble, honest person.

master_mind413's avatar

I think you can get some good out of almost anything that doesn’t mean that it is good

it all depends on your own personal view whether or not you get some thing good out of it , I personally think the bible has some good morals too it but is it portrayed as a good book i dont think so if you look at what majority of it teaches ( stone your daughters, your wives are lower then dogs) there are just some things that are so far out of touch with today’s views and society I dont think it could be a good moral standard and I dont think rewriting it and calling it the new new testament is an answer to the problem I just think the bible was written for another time and there are many other answer’s to the world now that make a whole lot more sense

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@75movies You’re probably right on that one. I haven’t read those, so I can’t say first hand. I suppose it’s because of the popularity of the Bible.. why is it such a subject of discussion.. for such a long period of time?

@master_mind413 That’s a bit of an uneducated generalization.. but I see your point about subjectivity of content.

75movies's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater you must mean the Talmud. O boy o boy I edited the crap out of this response. I wonder how many times the Bible has been edited over the last 2000 years.

75movies's avatar

cause it’s been talked about for far longer. must be better right?

Qingu's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, “uneducated generalization”?

Are you saying the Bible’s wisdom on how we ought to treat (for example) nonvirgin brides, disobedient children, menstruation, POW’s, rape victims, etc is indeed more relevant than modern answers to these questions?

Qingu's avatar

By the way, the Bible’s answers to those questions, respectively, are:
“kill them,”
“kill them,”
“ostracize them for a week,”
“kill them unless you want to enslave and/or rape them,” and
“kill them if they don’t scream loud enough… unless they’re unbetrothed and virgins, in which case they should marry their rapist.”

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Does anyone else have any pearls of wisdom? I’m really not interested in the argument this is turning into. I merely want to know if you can step back from your stance on religion .. whatever it may be… and see wisdom where it is plain as day.

75movies's avatar

So your asking if the people here can wade through an ocean of murk and mire to filter out a couple pearls? Sure. But why bother?

antimatter's avatar

Increase of knowledge is increase of sorrow.
Adultery is sin! (Oh shit! I am going to Hell!)

MrBr00ks's avatar

1 Peter 3:10 “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”

This is incredible, that people have to come here and slam this question? @NaturalMineralWater asked for pearls of wisdom one would find in the Bible, or if you find it a waste of time. It would be nice if people could be civil in order to further this discussion. An on topic response could be “I do find the Bible to be a waste of time.” Or “I like John 15:13, ‘Greater love hath no man than this: that a man would lay down his life for his friends.’” I know religion can be a divisive topic, but responses do not have to be so negative and condescending. How about starting your own question to complain about the Bible, and then provide a link to this one? I realize people do not share the same set of beliefs most of the time, I get that. One only has to point at any two people in a Christian church that are sitting next to each other, and you will find that their values differ. But is that bad? I realize that the Bible has violence in it, and then tell you to love your neighbor, but that is a topic for another question. This question has to do with finding pearls of wisdom in a book, or if you find the Bible to be a waste of time, and who has quoted from the Bible. Do those sound like hard topic parameters to follow? If you want to start a “Jesus is a hypocrite” thread, be my guest. No one is going to go over to the pizza thread and say “OMGPIZZASUXORZWHYWOULDYOUSTARTTHISTHREAD?SUBWAYISWAAAY BETTERZWHYWOULDYOUEVENEATPIZZAITSFILLEDWITHMUCKTOGETTOTHEVEGGIEZ PEOPLEWHOMADETHEORIGINALPIZZAWEREZHYPOCRITESBECAUSETHEYSAIDTHEYWERE VEGENSTHENUSEDDAIRYPRODUCTSANDMEAT.MEAT!AHHHRRRGH!”
I do not think @Qingu that @NaturalMineralWater meant modern answers to these questions were uneducated, I read that as more along the lines of not studying the Bible, and being uneducated as to what was meant. Please, I hope nobody takes this as being too personal, I just thought that the original question was a good one and I was hoping it would foster a great spot to share “pearls” of wisdom from the Bible, or whether you think it was a waste of time to even read it. That is all that needs to be said here, right?

Qingu's avatar

I have studied the Bible, academically, and I know what the laws I quoted mean. The person NaturalMineralWater was replying to was not misrepresenting them.

MrBr00ks's avatar

I meant I didn’t read @NaturalMineralWater‘s response as intentionally negative. My apologies.

Qingu's avatar

No need to apologize. :) I don’t think it was negative either.

But too often I see Christians claiming that the bad parts of the Bible are just “misunderstood,” or that when atheists like myself or that other dude talk about them we’re “taking them out of context.” That seems to be what he was doing, and it’s simply not the case.

MrBr00ks's avatar

I gotcha.

Jack79's avatar

I think the Bible is a good book whether you believe in it or not, as it is part of Human History, and includes many stories that are, in their own right, part of popular culture in most societies, even non-religious ones. The story of the Ark in which the animals were saved from a huge flood (appearing also in other holy texts), or the story of the little guy David beating the big guy Goliath (similar to Aesop’s fable of the hare and the tortoise), or the parable about the prodigal son, or the poor widow and her obole. The most compelling has of course been the sacrifice of the Son of God for the greater good of Mankind (reminiscent of many other sacrifices in many other religions, eg Prometheus’ torture for giving mortals the gift of fire). And there are many more, most of them recognisable by people of different religions, and often also appearing in their own oral tradition and scriptures.

For me the most important lesson of the Bible was when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. It is unfortunately a lesson most modern priests did not learn.

MacBean's avatar

The ten commandments can be summed up as “Don’t be an asshole.” I think this is a very wise way to live your life.

Qingu's avatar

@MacBean… um.

1. I am Yahweh your God.
—No thanks.

2. You shall have no other Gods before me.
—No thanks.

3. Don’t take my name in vain.
—Yahwah? Moer liek Yah-GA—

4. Respect the sabbath.
—No thanks.

5. Honor your parents.
—I can see how this is sort of “Don’t be an asshole,” except for the many people with abusive parents. By the way, the penalty for disobeying this commandment (and all the others) is death.

6. You shall not murder.
—Okay, this one involves not being an asshole, but remember the Hebrews had a lax conception of what constituted murder and were okay with the occasional genocide.

7. You shall not commit adultery.
—Likewise. Unless you are a man and want a concubine or multiple wives; that doesn’t count as “adultery,” and this rule is basically a property crime since women were considered the property of either their husbands or fathers.

8. You shall not steal.
—Again, a property crime.

9. You shall not bear false witness.
—Okay, not being an asshole.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
—Okay, but again with the property obsession (and I love the tacit endorsement of slavery).

So… maybe half have to do with “don’t be an asshole”? 60% at best?

evil2's avatar

@Qingu when it comes to the jews killing people, i think your mistaking murder and war…they are different and remember when it comes to rights property or otherwise old testament is way different from new testament and look at the time line your dealing with….

Leanne1986's avatar

This post is meant to be about the positive so what’s with all the negativity?

Qingu's avatar

@evil2, murder and war are different. Here is God’s commandments for how you’re supposed to engage in wars.

“When you draw near to a town to fight against it, offer it terms of peace. If it accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you in forced labour.”

So yeah, you win a war, you enslave them. Wise advice! Who doesn’t like free labor?

“If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you.”

Oh. Well, I guess it makes sense to kill all the men of a town that delays its surrender to you. I wonder why we haven’t tried this tactic in Iraq and Afghanistan?

“Thus you shall treat all the towns that are very far from you, which are not towns of the nations here. But as for the towns of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord your God.”

Ah. So in the towns in Israel, you’re literally supposed to kill every single defenseless man, woman, and child.

You’re right, this isn’t “murder.” A better word is “genocide.” Of course, God explains why he wants you to commit genocide. It’s so those damn pagans don’t pollute the purity of your culture. You have to keep your ethnicity clean, after all.

evil2's avatar

@Qingu again i say old testament is not the same as new testament….

75movies's avatar

@evil2 How is the old testament different from the new testament?

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@MrBr00ks Thank you for injecting a bit of reason into a cloud of madness. =D I know that there are many who absolutely hate religion, the bible, God, and probably even country… I wasn’t interested in hearing from those people really… as you pointed out. I just think that there is a lot of wisdom in the bible and you don’t have to believe the bible to see it.

I asked the question because Abraham Lincoln is often credited with the quote concerning “a house divided against itself cannot stand” .. but .. old Abe wasn’t the one who said that first… however, old Abe knew a good book when he saw it.

@Leanne1986 It’s inevitable on a topic of religion unfortunately. It’s a passionate subject for many. It is for me as I believe in God. However, with this question I wasn’t even going to go into beliefs.. just the positives… to see if atheists, Jews, Christians, and others alike could take a book and look at it through the eyes of an engineer .. to see the good, not the bad. There are always those “glass is half empty” kind of people floating around.

@all I appreciate those who took the time to pick out a pearl of wisdom.. even if they think it was surrounded totally by murk.. it says a lot about your character.

/

master_mind413's avatar

the new testament is just the revised update version from god for the 19th century you do know that god updates every few decades or so he finds it this is the best way so the bible is never outdated ?

we haven’t got the 20th century update yet so all quotes are out of context

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@master_mind413 Why not just say the Bible is a waste of time and move on.. there was no need to type all of that. XD

Qingu's avatar

@evil2, really? You must not be familiar with Jesus’ constant threats of hellfire, torture, and damnation in his parables.

Or his contention in Matthew 5:17 that anyone who follows all the OT laws and teaches others to do the same will be called the “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven.

Or Paul’s claim that the law is “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12).

Or the entire book of Revelation, which is basically a massive bloodbath revenge fantasy against the unbelievers, rendered in horror-movie detail.

Are you saying it would be morally wrong to follow God’s laws from the Old Testament?

Baggins's avatar

The Bible is chock full of pearls of wisdom. Every page has several on them. If everyone followed just the 10 commandments, we’d be in a whole lot better shape, IMHO.

MrBr00ks's avatar

@Baggins, I too believe this, however, George Carlin had some good advice on life as well:

Life Reflections by George Carlin

1. Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.

2. I’m not into working out. My philosophy is no pain, no pain.

3. I’m in shape. Round is a shape.

4. I’m desperately trying to figure out why Kamikaze pilots wore helmets.

5. Do illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?

6. I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

7. Ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad at you, but when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window?

8. Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

9. You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is.

10. I have six locks on my door, all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three of them.

11. One out of every three Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of two of your best friends. If they are OK, then it must be you.

12. They show you how detergents take out bloodstains. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with bloodstains all over it, maybe your laundry isn’t your biggest problem.

13. Ask people why they have deer heads on their walls and they tell you it’s because they’re such beautiful animals. I think my wife is beautiful, but I only have photographs of her on the wall.

14. A lady came up to me on the street, pointed at my suede jacket and said, “Don’t you know a cow was murdered for that jacket?” I said “I didn’t know there were any witnesses. Now I’ll have to kill you too.”

15. Future historians will be able to study at the Jimmy Carter Library, the Gerald Ford Library, the Ronald Reagan Library, and the Bill Clinton Adult Bookstore.

Baggins's avatar

@MrBr00ks Yes, indeed! I am with you on George’s observations. Thank you for that!

Qingu's avatar

@Baggins, would you mind explaining what “pearls of wisdom” you think can be found on the pages with Deuteronomy chapter 22?

In particular, the passages about sexual relations and rape.

texasescimo's avatar

Romans 12:17–21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Proverbs 17:14) The beginning of contention is as one letting out waters; so before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave.
(2 Timothy 2:14–16) Keep reminding them of these things, charging them before God as witness, not to fight about words, a thing of no usefulness at all because it overturns those listening. 15 Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright. 16 But shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness,
(2 Timothy 2:23–25) Further, turn down foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing they produce fights. 24 But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, 25 instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed; as perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth,

texasescimo's avatar

For any that might want to do deeper research, some online Bibles and other resources that I have found are:
http://bible.cc/psalms/83-18.htm /. Several translation, only one verse at a time.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1John5:7-8;&version=31;77;50;51;49; /. 5 versions with up to 5 groups of verses
http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/tyndale/ /. William Tyndales Bible
http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_00.htm Many articles with links to scriptures.
http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/joh1.pdf Online interlinear.
http://www.thebiblereference.com/ /. King James and American Standard with Strongs references
http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines /. Vines concordance
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm Many versions, concordance’s, manuscripts (including the “Textus Receptus” and the “Alexandrian”.
http://www.eliyah.com/lxx.html Fragments of the Greek Septuagint
http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx Query&book=36&chapter= 1&lid=en&side=r&ve rse=18&zoomSlider=0#36–1-1 8–5 Sinaitic manuscript, I believe that it is the oldest complete manuscript.
Here are some differences that I have noticed. http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/7025764

The following have something to do with the Vatican MS 1209 from the 4th century, but as of right now, I don’t see an English parallel. [http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_03
http://www.biblefacts.org/church/pdf/Codex%20Vaticanus.pdf
Further information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Vaticanus
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04086a.htm /./ http://betterbibles.com/2008/07/24/in-the-news-worlds-oldest-bible-goes-online/]

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@texasescimo Thanks for the reference page!

texasescimo's avatar

You are welcome NaturalMineralWater. I really liked your non-judgemental approach in the way that you posed the original question.

Hibernate's avatar

Most proverbs [ Solomon’s book ] have different word translations today.

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