We know that the Bible says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” because every Christian we know says the Bible says that.
We know that the Bible says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” because we love going around saying the Bible says that.
As a result, we always know something’s in the Bible if most Christians believe it.
And let’s face facts; the more that Christians quote verses and doctrines, the more certain we are the Bible says it.
Because… it’s not like we could possibly read it for ourselves. It’s not like the printing press has been invented yet. No way exists yet for us regular people to read God’s Word.
Reading God’s Word ourselves would also be cheating. And why would we ever need to because again: if most Christians believe it then it’s true! Case closed.
I’ve been writing a book over the past few years called, “It’s Not in the Bible! – If Most Christians Believe It, It’s Probably Wrong.”
I’ve outlined it. I’ve written much of it. But one reason I may never finish is I keep adding new chapters to it. This is because I keep hearing Christians spout off verses and doctrines that simply do not appear in God’s Word.
Gregism: The more Christians quote a verse, the less likely it’s in the Bible.
How Many Verses Do We Need Anyway?
We have more than 31,000 verses that God breathed life into. God never minds if we steal quotes from His book. He likes it when we do that. He wants us to plagiarize His book when we write. He wants us to quote from His book every chance we get, and He doesn’t at all care about things like chapter and verse reference numbers. That’s right, if you want to quote from His book, you don’t need to give the citation. Therefore, go around quoting Him! That pleases Him.
Given how much God loves our reading His verses, what do we Christians do so much of the time?
We just make up our own verses.
And we create doctrines out of thin air.
My my. We’re so much smarter than God, aren’t we?
With more than 31,000 verses, could we just start using a few maybe that actually are in His book?
Note to self: When I get to Heaven, tell God that He should have used twice as many verses, 62,000+ verses, because then, there might be one or two Christians actually cared enough about to quote.
It’s Not in the Bible: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
The Bible doesn’t say that.
We just hear it, we just say it, we just believe it.
Note to self: (Million Dollar Bumper Sticker Idea) If Christians Say It, Then I Believe It
Why read it for ourselves when our friends and family tell us what the Bible says?
Here’s what Paul wrote:
“…we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Co. 5:7-8, NASB).
Things We Actually Do Know from 2 Co. 5:7-8:
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 does not say, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (Go ahead, look it up in your favorite translation. It’ll still not say what you know it says.)
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 does say Paul prefers that he was in Heaven and not walking around the earth.
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8’s use of the to prefer verb in the present, active, indicative tense simply indicates a statement of fact. Paul’s preference is to be in Heaven. We can also glean from this passage that it’s his wish we preferred that too.
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 never says, never indicates, and never implies that the instant we die, the instant that believers are absent from their bodies, that they’re instantly present with God. It just doesn’t say that.
Note: To make it say that, you must do what you’ve always done, and what every Christian you’ve ever known has done (me also), and mis-quote the verse. Isn’t it fun to pack a heavy doctrinal statement into a made-up verse that supports your doctrine? It’s sort of the Christian’s way of participating in sound bites like everybody in the media gets to do. How fun!
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 does not say that we’re not instantly present with God. It makes no reference to that timing. Other verses may very well teach a solid doctrine that we’re immediately present in heaven the moment we die. I’m in no way making a case for or against that here. Here, I just want everybody to stop lying (ignorantly) about what the Bible says. I also want everybody to stop making doctrine fit verses that don’t contain that doctrine.
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 does not say that lots of time will pass either. Again… it just doesn’t say anything about this! Paul isn’t teaching the mythological “soul sleep” doctrine. Just because Paul doesn’t say here we’re not instantly in heaven when we die doesn’t mean there’s a huge time lapse. It simply doesn’t address that issue. And the die-then-instant-Heaven issue is the only issue Christians use this verse for! For exactly what it never says in any way. Get it? The only thing the verse doesn’t reference is the only thing we use the verse for.
- We know 2 Co. 5:7-8 does only say that Paul preferred to be in Heaven when he wrote those inspired verses…
…And that’s all we know from it.