I just read a provocative article by John Blake at CNN.com, "Actually, that's not in the Bible," and I left a comment, but with 6,200 comments and rising, I doubt he or anyone else will read my thoughts there. (The article's been shared on Facebook nearly 46,000 times already) So, here is what I said:
I agree with this article, but have two considerations. I think the saying "This too shall pass" is a distillation of a concept in the Book of Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8 that begin. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." It's the idea that there is a season for trouble and and a season for peace and so troubling times don't last forever.In addition to my comment, lots of people are sharing how other sayings have been extrapolated from other Bible passages, such as the idea that Satan is the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but the Genesis story does not actually mention Satan. I shrugged reading Blake's section on Eve and the serpent as one of the misquoted or misrepresented stories because last semester I had to read Cain by Lord Byron, and an objection to saying Satan was in the Garden is one of the foundation pillars of that play. Read Blake's piece at the CNN website.
Also, while I agree completely that the saying "God helps those who help themselves" goes against a greater theme in the Bible that tells people to help the poor and needy, I also think that Ben Franklin extrapolated the idea of helping oneself from 2 Thessalonians 3: 10–"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
But we should remember that in the period in history in which this verse was written, society was still largely agrarian. People were not dealing with (the level of) poverty (we see today) and industrialization had not happened yet which contributes to people not being able to "work" for their food. Also the idea that faith in God is manifested through physical deeds is seen in the Book of James. The problem for many Americans is that they try to take concepts from the Bible, repurpose them for their own agendas, and then try to force them onto the country.