Wrong Quotes

‘The proof is in the pudding’.

Have you ever wondered what those words mean? I’ve heard them many times, but as far as I know, it should be said this way: ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’.

You might ask, ‘What’s the difference?’ Well, think about it for a moment and see if you can work it out! If you’re a pedant like me, you can probably recall a few more maxims or proverbs that are often misquoted. The speaker is usually thinking of the correct meaning, such as, ‘You’ll find out what this is like if you give it a try‘, without realising that their words don’t match it. Incorrect quotes are embedded in our lives.

In the days when I listened to the radio more often, I was surprised how many times scripture was quoted by those who wouldn’t have called themselves religious. Of course, they never referenced the Bible, or the person who said it in the first place. I doubt if many of them had any idea of the origins of their words and unfortunately the scripture was often used inappropriately. 

I admire public speakers who are good at one-liners, especially original ones. Do they just come out with them on the spur of the moment, or do they compose them after much meditation?! Sadly, they can sometimes reduce the facts to half-truths. Many memorable, wise truths are worth taking time to explain, rather than cutting them down into a short, sharp punchline. But there will always be writers, speakers or journalists who will take them out of context, twist them for their own ends, or add their own words. This is a large part of modern living. 

I recall writing in my diary the words that the officiating minister said at one point in a family wedding ceremony. I was so sure that what I wrote was accurate, but when I listened to the recording of the service, I was amazed at the difference in the speaker’s actual words from what I thought I’d heard! 

There’s a rule in the scriptures that is repeated more than once. It says that any accusation against a person should be attested to by two or more witnesses. This doesn’t mean two or more people who’ve heard it on television or read it in the newspaper. It means people who were there when the event happened, or the words were said. Those who are prepared to testify against someone, must also be willing to have their testimony tested. If they’re not going to put their reputation on the line, their word isn’t worth anything. Adhering to this principle would eliminate many everyday conversations! It boils down to speaking the truth.  

Jesus had to remind people, such as the Jewish leaders, not to misquote the scriptures. I wonder what they made of some of his sayings when they’d gone off by themselves. Here’s an example: 

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him to life on the last day. For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink. (Read John 6: 47-58). That’s a hard one to swallow! But those who believe in Jesus understand it. He told the truth…Jesus is the Truth. 

Centuries ago, it was important to know if a pudding were safe to eat! Some say that’s where the saying about ‘eating the pudding’ originated. It’s the eating of it that proves its worthiness. Jesus said we have to eat of him. Have you tasted him? I have, and he’s proved to be so very good! 


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