Ask a Franciscan

Where Is It in the Bible?

Q: I have heard people say that the quote “The Lord only helps those who help themselves” appears in the Bible, but they can never give a reference. Is this quote in the Bible? If so, where?

A: That quote is not in the Bible. Perhaps these people are confusing it with 2 Thessalonians 3:10 where St. Paul says, “In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” St. Paul was addressing the situation of healthy people who felt that, because the Lord’s second coming was imminent, they no longer needed to work, but had a right to support from the Christian community.

The Bible needs to be read as a whole book—any part of which can be twisted for selfish purposes. For example, those who were condemned in Matthew 25:41-46 for not feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc., could hardly justify themselves by saying that God assists only those who help themselves.

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