“God helps those who help themselves.”

The motto is known worldwide as inspiration for self help, self initiative, and agency in one’s life.

It’s one of the most commonly quoted Bible verses, but it’s nowhere to be found in the Bible! In fact, a poll from the late 1990s showed over 80% of Christians in the United States believed it to be taught in the Bible.

While it doesn’t appear verbatim, some passages do suggest it’s messaging.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

“God blesses those who realize their need for him; and who mourn will be comforted.” Matthew 5:3–4

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

Other passages share the theme of God helping those who helped themselves – helped themselves by seeking and relying upon God!

“So they turned to fight against him; and Jehosh′aphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him.” 2 Chronicles 18:31

“He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechari′ah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5

“The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” Psalm 37:39-40

While the famous motto is not a Bible passage itself, it’s meaning is: we can help ourselves by following God, having Faith with works, seeking righteousness, and aligning ourselves to His will. The motto most definitely shouldn’t be confused with Pelagianism: salvation by works alone.

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