Acts 26:18 (Bogus Internet Version)

I had a student provide this quote, supposedly from Acts 26:18,  in an assignment:

The first step of education is to have one’s eyes opened and be turned from darkness to light.

I Googled it and found it has circulated quite widely online. But it doesn’t correspond to the meaning of the Greek text of Acts 26:18, although parts of it are based on it. And so I thought I would mention it here and see if anyone else has encountered it, and knows where it comes from originally.

I doubt it is originally from even a paraphrase of the Bible, since it would not fit the context in Acts. My guess would be that  it started out with someone quoting part of Acts 26:18 in relation to education, and then more of the sentence being brought within the quotation marks and mistakenly attributed to Acts.

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  • I found links between that “translation” and some organizations like WallBuilders, Salt and Light, Black Robe Regiment, etc.

    maybe the “translation” came from “Conservative Bible Project”?

  • sbh

    A 2003 piece called “What the Bible says about Education” on the Gospel Defence League website begins:

    The first step of education is to have one’s eyes opened and be turned from darkness to light. (Acts 26:18) It is not good that the soul be without knowledge. (Proverbs 19:2) Only in God’s light can we see light. (Psalm 36:9)

    Note that these are not presented as quotations but are rather statements supported by biblical passages, as shown by the fact that the piece puts quotation marks around other passages that are apparently quotations.

    I suggest that somebody mistakenly thought the first sentence was a quotation from Acts rather than a statement by the author and so the “quotation” was born. It is odd though; I can understand fake quotations being attributed to Patrick Henry, say, or Thomas Jefferson, in that their works are voluminous and scattered, making it hard to check on them, but the Bible is printed in a single volume, and at that, in a volume that is not hard to obtain. You would think somebody would check.

    • Gospel Defence League is an African arm of the Christian Action Network. They’re sort of like the ACLU, if the ACLU were run by a bunch of hate-mongering fundamentalists. They’re partially responsible for the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda. I’m not at all surprised now to see how this got picked up by the blogs and websites that I found as if it were an actual quotation from Acts.

    • Excellent detective work! It does say a lot about how much those who have shared the quote know and care about what the Bible says…

      • the_Siliconopolitan

        It seems to me, that most who enjoy sharing Bible quotes, know that the Bible says, what they want it to say. Hasn’t it always been that way?