Another ‘Is it in the Bible?’ Saying

Posted on February 18, 2020


By David Ettinger

Let’s Try It Again
Several blogs back, I wrote, “Is the Phrase ‘Holier Than Thou’ Biblical?” The title speaks for itself, and readers enjoyed it.

There are many popular sayings which have existed for centuries and sound biblical. Some are biblical, and some are not. The phrase “Holier than thou,” which is slung around quite freely, is biblical. The phrase “God works in mysterious ways,” though true, is not.

Another popular phrase is, “Money is the root of all evil.” This is not biblical as the actual verse is, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

With this in mind, let’s try another biblically-sounding expression.

True – But in the Bible?
A popular saying pastors and Bible teachers are fond of goes like this: “Should God withdraw His hand for a moment, the universe would perish.”

It’s true! God is not only the creator of all things, He is the sustainer of all things. Unlike Deist belief that God created all things and then stepped out of the picture to let humanity fend for itself, God is intimately involved in the happenings here on Earth (Luke 12:6-7; Matthew 6:25-33).

So, yes, as the sustainer of life, God indeed cares for His creation, and it is absolutely true that should He withdraw His hand of provision for a moment we would all perish. The question is, is there actually a verse or passage which states it.

Well, just like “Holier than thou” is in the Bible, so is this saying. It is found in the Book of Job, and the speaker is Elihu (someone I have issues with, but that’s another blog for another day).

I won’t get into the background of Elihu’s purpose in the Book of Job, but basically, he was – at least in his mind – defending God. He says: “If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust” (Job 34:14-15).

So there it is, another popular Bible-sounding phrase accounted for. If you have one – whether you know its status or not – please let me know in the comments section and I’ll take a crack at it!