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The Preacher's Urban Legends

Trevin Wax writes as a bible teacher, exposing a few of the “urban legends that get repeated in sermons.”

He writes:

Those of us who are entrusted with the task of expositing the Scriptures in a local church must take care to verify our sources, illustrations, and stories. No matter how helpful an illustration may be, it is dishonoring to God if it is untrue.

…a good word for those of us that teach the Bible!

Here is his list:

  1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
  2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.
  3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.
  4. There was this saying among the sages: “May you be covered in your rabbi’s dust.”
  5. Voltaire’s house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.
  6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.
  7. NASA scientists have discovered a “missing day” which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.

So how did we get these? Read his explanations for each one.

Have you heard any of these? Have you used any? I’ve totally used the “eye of the needle” one before (long ago). Oops.

What are some other legends that you may have heard or used?


Recommended Resources:

Title: 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe
Author: Larry Osborne
Published: Multnomah (2009)

People don’t set out to build their faith upon myths and spiritual urban legends. But somehow such falsehoods keep showing up in the way that many Christians think about life and God. These goofy ideas and beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth . . . until life proves they’re not. The sad result is often a spiritual disaster–confusion, feelings of betrayal, a distrust of Scripture, loss of faith, anger toward both the church and God.
But it doesn’t have to be so. In this delightfully personal and practical book, respected Bible teacher Larry Osborne confronts ten widely held beliefs that are both dumb and dangerous.