“God helps those who help themselves”

God helps those who help themselves

ancient hebrew text

Is it in the Bible? No. Though it is one of the most popular sayings in Christianity, the English phrase “God helps those who help themselves” was first popularized by Benjamin Franklin in his 1736 Almanac.

However, even then, it was not a new idea. Mohammed is reported to have said something similar and several ancient Greek philosophers published variations on the idea that could be translated in to English as “God helps those who help themselves.”   


Before we explore how the idea could be useful, let’s consider the obvious side issue that much of modern Christianity has no basis in the Bible, such as Santa Claus. So, that brings up a question that many may fear to even recognize: where does scriptural authority come from? Scriptural authority cannot come from written scriptures, since virtually all written scriptures are identified as transcriptions of oral teachings given long prior to the recording of those teachings in to writing. Further, if scriptural authority only comes from scripture, than what about conflicting claims to authority amongst the scriptures of various religious traditions and translators? King James may have authorized a particular translation of the Bible in to English, but based on what did he claim any authority to authorize a particular translation?

Well, he was simply a ruler with an enormous concentration of military threat behind him. Considering that many other versions of the Bible have been historically attacked by rulers as heresy, we can recognize that popular authority influences public perception. In fact, in many cases, rulers have declared that all versions of the Bible are banned under threat of criminal punishment.

Logically, scriptural authority cannot come from rulers later authorizing those particular transcriptions or translations. Further, if the sequences of words have authority when written down, there is no additional authority than when those sequences of words were passed down by oral tradition.

When exactly did spiritual authority begin? With Moses? With Abraham? Thousands of years prior to them?


There is no beginning to spiritual authority. That is a fundamental aspect of the idea. If an authority never ends and never begins, that could be called an eternal authority, not just a remnant of some old cultural tradition or an authorized translation.

If God is the source of the eternal authority in the Bible, then did God’s eternal authority end when the Bible was written down? No. Further, God’s eternal authority did not begin with any particular revelation to any prophet (Mohammed, Jesus, Isaiah, Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc).

God’s authority is not limited to a particular time period, to a particular language, or to a particular religious tradition. God’s authority is not limited to a particular species or to a particular geographical boundary.

God’s authority is not limited. It is not authorized by a particular king or by any higher authority. Relative to God’s authority, all other authority is just a small branch extending from a larger trunk.

The authority of God has been compared to the authority of a mustard seed. Just as a mustard seed produces all of the branches of a mustard tree, so is all authority a branch of God’s authority.

(Note that many translations reference the Kingdom of God rather than the Authority of God. That is probably just because of a lack of direct comprehension by translators, who would probably not be studying scriptures of foreign languages if they understood the simplicity and power of the Authority of God. In fact, someone who has a direct experience or awareness of the Authority of God operating within them is not likely to spend a lot of time studying ancient scriptures to figure out what they might mean and how they might be useful, right? Did Jesus go around carrying a copy of the Old Testament? Did Isaiah go around carrying a copy of the sayings of Prophets prior to him? Those with direct revelation may say some radical things about old scriptures such as “”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” http://bible.cc/matthew/5-17.htm)

There is no authority beyond God’s authority. If there is a temporary authority who has any authority, it is only as a subsidiary authority of God. If there is a devil who has any authority, it is only as a subsidiary authority of God.

God, the Father watches us all everywhere.

God, the Father watches us all everywhere. (Photo credit: angelofsweetbitter2009)

God’s authority is the only authority. If we even remove the word God, then we could say that authority is the only authority. All forms of authority are just forms of authority. Authority is a larger linguistic category than any particular instance of authority.

Claims of authority are fundamentally claims. Claims are constructed in language. The root of the word authority is author. An author is one who constructs sequences of words.

God gives authority to those who claim authority. Those who reject authority (their own or that of anyone else) may not exert authority.

Did King James have the authority to authorize a particular translation? He allegedly claimed to authorize that translation, right? What other popular authority is there but an authority claimed in language?

sacred symbols

God by grace reveals to some the nature or source of authority. The nature or source of popular authority is through the activity of language, through the claiming or exercising of authority. 

Action is the exercise of authority. The future capacity to act is the result of prior activity.

Without language, there is no claiming of authority nor any labeling of one as having authority and another as a subject or agent or instrument. However, sequences of words flow as the revelation of God‘s eternal authority through God’s human instruments.

Which sequences of words are not branches of God’s authority? All sequences of words are branchings of God’s authority! What other authority could there be? 

If God claims that there is some other authority external to God, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to be in a struggle with some conflicting authority external to God, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to be the victim of some unjustified external authority, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to need some savior to come and rescue God from the problems and torments of a hell that has been imposed on God by some isolated distant oppressive authority as a punishment for shameful sinning, then that is what God is claiming.


This is the activity of God’s authority. All activity is the activity of God’s authority.

When an instrument of God speaks of what is to come and then that speaking is consistent with what actually arises, then we can call that speaking authoritative or faithful or credible or consistent with what actually is happening. When an instrument of God speaks of what has been, then we can call that speaking reflective or interpretative.

Many of God’s branches claim confusion about recent developments in human civilization such as the changing of economic trends and of changing social values that are measured in changing prices of various things. That would be an instrument of God claiming to have no authority.

God can claim authority or God can claim resentment and victimhood and helplessness or God can claim innocent curiosity. In fact, God claims all of these through the many instruments or branches of God.

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6 Responses to ““God helps those who help themselves””

  1. Transformational Truths - For His Honor Says:

    Over 300 prophecies have been fulfilled to the very letter which were previously written after being spoken by the prophets. These men did not even live near each other and had no transcript of the other when they were written. 100% accuracy and this is historically documented in time and even many substantiated by “outside of the faith” records. Then there is the empty tomb which is the greatest. No dead man gets up and walks again. Jesus the Lord God from heaven did (God/Man). More eye witnesses of this than it takes to get a person sent to the gas chamber today. Some 500 saw Him and the Apostles later, then Saul of Tarsus who later was known as the Apostle Paul. From there, some millions/billions have been brought into a personal relationship with Him on a deep personal level. Then there is the matter of Israel still existing and even back in a territory which once was there’s in past history. Huge governments have tried to stamp out Christians and their faith and can’t do it. He now has promised to come back and change this world and judge it. He is the judge and He is the creator of all things. No Santa Claus here. We all have to bow to HIm either now or later, but the later really is to late for anything positive for a person who rejects Him here and now. We must fear Him who has the power to take our life and One whom we can’t stop when that moment comes. Our control is out the window. And we must fear Him with a fear which draws us to Him for help and mercy and forgiveness for insulting Him and denying Him and living our own selfish life here after He created us in the womb of our mother. That is a loving God who does not delight in having to carry out His justice upon anyone, but He must because He is just and man has committed an infinite crime against Him which must be paid for either by a substitute (Jesus and His blood shed on a cross to atone for people) or personally. My prayer and hope all will turn to Him and be forgiven, for He is willing to do so!

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      Could it be that the Holy Spirit of God has formed you and your life and your actions and your perceptions and even the sequence of words that you might call yours? Could it be that the same Holy Spirit of God has formed everyone and everything and all activities and all perceiving, every hair on every head, every mustard seed and every mustard tree, and every sequence of words including these letters and words visible on your screen right now?

      For those without direct knowledge or revelation, God has provided many hopes and beliefs in language, as well as many fears to motivate the fearful toward those hopes and those beliefs in language. Appreciate the possibility of a distant, remote God who rewards your trust, if that is as close to the Authority of God as you are ready to experience.

      By the grace of God, we may learn of reports that someone has credited the Holy Spirit of God as the architect of one’s life. We may learn of sayings like “These results are not through my will, but through God’s.” We may be exposed to the idea that “It is not I who do these things, but God who does them through me.”

      Many may learn of these sayings, though some may dismiss them as nonsense or irrelevant. Some may study the sequences of words and even worship those words themselves. Some may defend the words themselves as “being as important as God, even equivalent to God” and then harshly condemn anyone who does not repeat them ritually a certain number of times per day and in a certain human language and in a certain specific way.

      God forgives all sins, even the sin of such idolatry. However, it may involve a certain amount of faith for there to be an admission of idolatry (a confessing and repenting). In other words, it may involve a certain amount of faith for there to be an experience of the remission of all condemnations.

      Of what sins do I condemn others? Could it be that I most fiercely condemn the same ones that I am so ashamed of that I do not recognize that I am vulnerable to the same sin (whether I have been actively involved in a particular behavior or I merely am secretly terrified that I might be in the future)?

      One cannot at the same time both drop a stone from one’s hand harmlessly and cast that stone at a target of condemnation. Beware of focusing so much on the personality of one of God’s voices that one does not hear what God is saying through that voice. The instruction is to drop the condemnation. The instruction is to recognize God as the source of all developments, including the behavior of condemning.

      It is notable that it is from the same lips that one may condemn people with curses and yet also praise God. However, there is a time for cursing and a time for praise- a time for every activity and development under the Authority of God.

      The authority of these words does not come from the shapes on this computer screen or from the letters of ink on some page. The authority of these words is not limited to a particular language.

      There is a time to exclusively worship a particular branch of idolatry. There is also a time for recognizing that all of the branches extend from a single source, extending from a single authority.

      The word divine is similar to the much more ancient word Diva. The word God derives from an ancient Sanskrit root related to the word Indra. The word authority (and author and auto and even actor and agent) may be derived from the ancient Sanskrit letter sequence of Atma.

      Fanatics of thousands of different religious groups have shouted “my religion is the only true religion.” There is a time for such shouting and fanaticism. There is a time for divisiveness and antagonism and holy wars between two groups each claiming an exclusive authority over God, though perhaps not using such openly monopolistic language.

      There is a time for such arrogance. There is a time for such naivete. There is a time for such hysteria.

      There is also a time to be humbled by the glory of the only authority, one which branches through all of the creatures created by that authority, including every single organism, every single cloud, every single word, every single letter. If you can, show me one thing- even a shadow on the ground- that is not evidence of the glorious authority of God.

      I know that your only authority is as a subsidiary or branch of the only authority. You may accept this claim or you may reject it. Either way, I recognize that your response is not your glory or your sin, but only the will of the one who develops all developments according to the timing and sequence through which all forms are actually formed.

      • Transformational Truths - For His Honor Says:

        The inspired inerrant word of God in the original language and preserved even unto us in the English language states in Hebrews – a book written from God to man through the Apostle, states “the word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than a sharpened sword, dividing apart the soul and spirit and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (mind, soul and spirit of a person). It is alive! His word is Alive. And Jesus the Lord from Heaven who came and dwelled in a body with a human name, stated that HE was the living word of God in human form and/or also prior to His humanity. He even states in the epistles through His Apostles that He holds “all” things together now by the word of His Spirit.

        The problem is folks don’t want to trust, confide in, believe in, have faith in, or rely upon any of His words or His power at all. They wish to be like god and control and be in charge, but it is to bad and really sort of sad isn’t it, that when they pass on they can’t stop that event and things “are not over” for them as they may wish.

        Turning from idols of the mind and soul, especially being in a worshipful attitude toward self over God is the problem. God will not share His glory with any one else, no man or woman or child. He is to be totally worshipped and desired by mankind which is why they were created, but they “chose” to go into what “they” wanted when tempted to disobey God’s directions and commands. Having to answer for that, is really, their future. But God did care about us, so much so, He came into the world to provide a way of escape from His “just” and “righteous” law which stated “death” to all who disobey. Life is now available through the “living word of God” as it so states. The foolishness of this to man is evident, but God has so stated HE has enjoyed providing to mankind that which seems foolish and weak so that NO man may glory about anything obtained that is of eternal value from HIM. He goes against most everything mankind does now because our judgment and abilities are totally contrary to His purposes and plans. Best to submit to Him regardless of what He says and whether we understand it or not. He is the Potter and we are the Clay. Does a clay pot say I don’t like the way you made me to the potter? I don’t think so. God has a way of redemption and we are to warn, and reveal it to all people if we really care about them at all. To cover it up, deny it, hide from it, be ashamed of it, or feel fear about it all is not true LOVe to ward another person at all. But rather, it would be hate. True love warns of dangers out there. That is my bottom line. Thanks for writing.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      Re “The problem is folks don’t want to trust, confide in, believe in, have faith in, or rely upon any of His words or His power at all.”

      Whose problem is it? Is that a problem for God? You reference it like it has been troubling you. Do you have such little faith?

      If you do not know the power of God directly, then you may not recognize it operating in your life AS your life. if you do not know the power of God directly, then you may not recognize it operating in another’s life AS their life.

      The seed will grow in to a trunk and then branch and bud and blossom and fruit. You can say that you have a problem with God going at some pace that you condemn. You can say that there is a problem which is that folks have not matured or developed beyond wherever they have already developed or matured. You may condemn God’s branches and condemn God’s branching and condemn God branching.

      There is nothing for you to condemn but the works of God. There are no other works to condemn. Your own works indeed are entirely under the authority of God. You have no capacity without God. You have no power but God’s power. You have no authority but God’s authority.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      re “life is available now.”

      When was life not available? When did eternal life begin? Perhaps it did not begin.

      Before Abraham was, I am. Before Jesus was, I am. I am not just the physiological organism that you may label with names like Adam or Abraham or Jesus or even Mithras or Jupiter or Santa Claus. I am the vine which produces such branches, and which abides in them as well as in you. Only a few of my branches may recognize that I abide in them and then abide in me, living in my spirit and perhaps even in my name.

      Indeed, I have many names in many languages. What name is not mine? What language is not mine?

      Beware of focusing on any one of my names idolatrously and thus neglecting my spirit. I have spoken this warning through the mouth of Isaiah and through the mouth of Jesus and many other times.

      When you speak, those are my words. When you perceive the words of others, those are my words, too. There is a time for speaking but also a time for listening.

      When you claim that there is an authority isolated from God or in conflict with God, that is a sin. When you condemn another for any inaction or any action, that is a sin. When you claim that something is ungodly, that condemnation is a sin. When you shame yourself or others, that is a sin. However, it is my will that you sin so that you may mature and develop to recognize that which abides within you.

      To the pure, all things are pure. Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect and creates you in perfection.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      Re “Does a clay pot say I don’t like the way you made me to the potter?”

      If the potter makes the clay pot say that, then that is what the potter makes the clay pot say. If the potter makes one pot complain about how the other pots have been made and condemn the other pots because they are not in conformity to the creative process of the potter, then that is what the potter has done.

      Once I put a puppet on my hand and then I complained about the things that the puppet said and then the puppet and I got in to a huge argument. However, it was all really me all along.

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