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God helps

Posted by ESC on October 31, 2002

In Reply to: "God helps those who help themselves." posted by ESC on October 31, 2002

: : Although often attributed to the Bible, I don't think that is where this phrase originated. A little help please?
: : I would also like to take this opportunity to say, as a lover of the English language, that I enjoy your site very much and appreciate all of the help given by the contributors. Thank you.

: Nope. Not from the Bible.

: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES - "Some faith adages roll off the tongue, like 'God helps those who help themselves.' But the saying is not biblical and, in fact, violates a primary scriptural teaching that only God determines a person's destiny, according to religion analyst George Barna (the phrase).is an ancient proverb that shows up in the literature of many cultures, including a 1736 edition of Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. But it does not appear in the Bible and suggests a spiritual self-reliance inconsistent with Christianity, said David Kinnaman, vice president of Barna Research Group." Mr. Kinnaman's comment was contained in a Washington Post article by Bill Broadway published in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader on Sept. 2, 2000. Barna included the phrase in a list of 14 used in a survey of religious beliefs conducted by his California-based research organization. "The results of Barna's yearly surveys on faith and culture are meant tot help Christian pastors and groups focus their ministries," the article states.

Another source lists several instances of the phrase's early use including the Aesop's fable "Hercules and the Wagoner," 6th century B.C.E., and playwright Aeschylus' 'The Persians,' 472 B.C.E. From "Words to Live By: the Origins of Conventional Wisdom & Commonsense Advice" by Charles Panati, Penguin Books, New York, 1999)

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