Jesus is probably the most quoted person in the world, his words often cited to support a particular political view. For example, Americans seeking to limit government assistance often quote Jesus as saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” That statement was first made by Algernon Sidney and later attributed to Benjamin Franklin. On the other hand, statements the Bible says Jesus actually made do not always coincide with how people view Jesus. The statement attributed to Jesus in John 14:28 that “the Father is greater than I” seems inconsistent with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, in which Jesus and God are one.
Of following 26 authentic quotations, 13 are statements the Bible says Jesus made and 13 were made by someone else. To make determining which quotations were made by Jesus more challenging, each quote from Jesus is taken from a version of the Bible using language from the time period of the other choice. All of the quotes are without context, which is often the case when quotations are used to support a particular point of view. Links to the statements of Jesus are provided so you can examine their context.
1. “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” Jesus or Ayn Rand.
2. “The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” Jesus or Ayn Rand.
3. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Jesus or Karl Marx.
4. “For everyone who asks receives.” Jesus or Karl Marx.
5. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Jesus or Friedrich Nietzsche.
6. “The ‘kingdom of Heaven’ is a condition of the heart – not something that comes ‘upon the earth’ or ‘after death.” Jesus or Friedrich Nietzsche.
7. “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus or Friedrich Nietzsche
8. “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in Henry VI.
9. “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet.
10. “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.
11. “Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?” Jesus or William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.
12. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.
13. “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in King Lear.
14. “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar.
15. “This above all else. To thine own self be true.” Jesus or William Shakespeare in Hamlet.
16. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus or Benjamin Franklin.
17. “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” Jesus or Benjamin Franklin.
18. “Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us. Love is God.” Jesus or Lew Wallace.
19. “Some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” Jesus or Harold Camping.
20. “Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.” Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi.
21. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Jesus or Jefferson Davis.
22. “This too shall pass.” Jesus or Islamic mystics.
23. “Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this.”
Jesus or Abraham Lincoln.
24. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” Jesus or Charles Dickens.
25. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Jesus or Charles Dickens.
26. “He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it.” Jesus or Dante.
1. Jesus in Matthew 20:15 (New International Version)
2. Ayn Rand
3. Karl Marx
4. Jesus in Matthew 7:8 (New International Version)
7. Jesus in Luke 17:20-21 (New King James Version)
8. Jesus in Luke 11:46 (King James Version)
9. Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet
10. Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice
11. Jesus in Luke 19:23 (King James Version).
12. Jesus in Matthew 5:42 (King James Version)
13. Jesus in Luke 22:36 (King James Version)
14. Jesus in Matthew 10:34 (King James Version)
15. William Shakespeare in Hamlet.
16. Jesus in Matthew 9:12 (New International Version)
18. Lew Wallace in Ben Hur
19. Jesus in Matthew 16:28 (New Living Translation)
20. Mahatma Gandhi
21. Jesus in Luke 12:53 (New International Version)
22. Islamic mystics
23. Abraham Lincoln
24. Jesus in Luke 16:22 (King James Version)
25. Jesus in Acts 20:35 (New International Version)
26. Dante in Inferno
Donald E. Knebel is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP, resident in the Indianapolis, Indiana office. He is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Law Department. Mr. Knebel serves as adjunct professor and senior advisor to the Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He frequently posts his observations here at Civic Blog. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Barnes & Thornburg LLP or the IU Maurer School of Law.