God said it, I believe it, that settles it

“God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me!” “Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who aren’t.” “God loves you, and so do I.” These are just a few of the catchy slogans that you’ll hear in the world of Christianese.

Christianese clichés aren’t just about Christians goofing around. In most cases, these clichés contain a reference to some aspect of Christian doctrine or tradition.

For example, check out “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” At first glance, this expression seems to be about one thing and one thing only: closed-mindedness. But there’s a lot more going on here. The people who use this slogan use it to express their complete confidence in the authority of the Bible. It’s hard to criticize someone for firmly believing that the Bible contains God’s instructions to the human race.

In the 1960s and 1970s several different gospel singers recorded a popular song that contained the lyrics “God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it for me.” Del Delker recorded a version that remains special to many people today, but I think I prefer this performance by the Heritage Singers in 1976.

Or here’s another one: “Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who aren’t.” This catchphrase is less controversial and is actually a little more fun. We can see a wordplay between the two meanings of “fall apart.” The Bible can be literally falling apart because its covers and spine are loose and the pages are about to come out. And a person can be figuratively falling apart because they are stressed and anxious and feel out of control. Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who aren’tIt’s a nice visual image that a person whose Bible is in mint condition (because they never read it) might be constantly worried and stressed. By comparison, a person whose Bible is dog-eared and worn out from constant use might have a very calm, happy, peaceful life. Which of the two things do you want to be falling apart? Your Bible, or your life? It’s a playful question with a serious answer.

Finally, we have “God loves you and so do I.” Decades of hearing this term being used on television by prosperity preachers such as Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral have made many of us Christians suspicious when we hear someone use it. And it’s appropriate to recognize code language that might indicate what a preacher’s doctrinal or denominational biases are. For example, if you hear a preacher talking about “name it and claim it,” then keep a tight grip on your checkbook! If you are going to use the phrase “God loves you and so do I,” just be aware that for some people this expression brings up some unpleasant associations. In some cases you can just say the phrase differently so it doesn’t echo the way that televangelists use it. In other cases, you’ll have to find a whole new way to let someone know that God loves them and that you love them too.

What Christianese catchphrases really get under your skin?

 

God said it, I believe it, that settles it Also God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me. A slogan that affirms the authority of the Bible and the principle of interpreting the Bible literally.
The expression is often associated with fundamentalism and with *bumper-sticker theology (see various citations).
There is also a slight variation on the expression: God said it, that settles it—whether I believe it or not (see citations for 1981 and 2009).
1950 Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare Labor-Management Relations in the Southern Textile Manufacturing Industry 171 : If the Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it, and we will all profit by its guidance. 1965 Destiny Quarterly Review XXXVI. 265 : The old maxim states it concisely: “God said it; I believe it; that settles it!” 1968 Vanderbreggen Soon the War Is Ending 47 : Be as positive and to-the-point as the person who had been undecided for years, but finally said: God says it! Jesus did it! I believe it! That settles it! 1969 Levy God Bless You Real Good: My Crusade with Billy Graham 123 : God said it is his Word, Christ did it on the cross, I believe it in my heart, and that settles it! 1970 Evergreen XIV. iss. 74–79 114 : Some examples Billy Graham has never said: … “I believe it! That settles it!” That phrase has been used by another evangelist, Jack Wyrtzen, for many years—in fact, it is one of Wyrtzen’s trademarks. 1976 Roland The Improbable Era: The South Since World War II 126 : Some of them proudly displayed bumper stickers bearing the affirmation: “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” 1981 Taylor What Every Husband Should Know 63 : With good intentions I used to say, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!” I have learned better, later. Now I know that God said it, and that settles it, whether I believe it or not. It is not my believing that settles it. 1982 Hagin Seven Things You Should Know About Divine Healing 33 : We Baptists had a motto: “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.” I wrote in red ink in the fly leaf of my Bible: “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.” 1985 Cole Basic Christian Faith 56 : Sophisticates of a certain disposition deride the little chorus that says, “God says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.” They sneer that this is “simplistic.” 1993 Phipps The Wisdom and Wit of Rabbi Jesus 64 : First, he noted a bumper sticker popular with Christian fundamentalists: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” Rabbi Green commented that his tradition could accept this slogan if “now, let’s discuss it” replaced the last clause. 1995 Wilkens Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics: An Introduction to Theories of Right and Wrong 170 : Divine command theory, sometimes called theological voluntarism, can be expressed by the bumper sticker “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” 1997 Seavey The Shock Wave 85 : “God said it. I believe it. That settles it!” I was just a young man in college when I heard a visiting preacher make that statement, which had a lasting impact on my impressionable mind. 2000 Baker-Fletcher Dirty Hands: Christian Ethics in a Morally Ambiguous World 30 : [Consider] the unfounded assumption that one may go about “obeying Scripture” in a literal fashion, or, as the slogan goes in many evangelical and fundamentalist churches, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” 2007 Kimball They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations 201 : An old saying goes, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” It’s still used quite often by some Christians who take a dogmatic stance on an issue based on a single Bible verse. 2008 Bickel, Jantz I’m Fine With God… It’s Christians I Can’t Stand: Getting Past the Religious Garbage in the Search for Spiritual Truth 143 : he lived by the creed made popular by a gospel song in the 1960s: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.” 2009 Fletcher Out of My Valley: A Cancer Survivor’s Journey to Meaning and Hope 78 : I am reminded of a popular saying I first heard in the 70s, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” This is not a true saying. It should be, “God said it, and that settles it.” When God speaks it is settled, whether we believe it or not.
God said it, that settles it In full: God said it, that settles it—whether I believe it or not. See *God said it, I believe it, that settles it.
Bibles that are falling apart In full: Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who aren’t. A slogan that affirms the importance of reading the Bible regularly. The idea is that Christians who regularly read their Bibles may have shabby-looking Bibles but strong and healthy spiritual lives.
The expression is occasionally attributed to Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892), a well-known preacher, but it doesn’t appear in any of his published works, and aside from the occasional attribution of the quote to him (see 1994 citation), there is no evidence to support the idea that he coined the expression or made a special effort to popularize it.
1987 Dodson Contemplating the Word: A Practical Handbook 14 : As I write this book, there is a Bible on my desk. It is scruffy and dog-eared. Its back is broken. Many of its pages are detached from the binding. I call it my scribble Bible, and no contemplative should be without one. A delightful popular poster says that “Bibles that are falling apart are usually read by people who aren’t.” 1994 Evans Our God Is Awesome 213 : Charles Spurgeon said it best. “Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who aren’t.” If you want a life that’s held together, you need to wear your Bible out. 2004 Wood Motel America 88 : Some of the best [billboards] along these roads read, “Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who are not,” and, “God answers knee mail.”
God loves you and so do I Sometimes abbreviated *GLYASDI. A catchphrase that emphasizes two ideas: that God loves everyone and that the person speaking loves and accepts the listener unconditionally.
1977 Ziglar See You at the Top 76 : God would be pleased if you were to take one last look in the mirror before you start your day and say, Now remember, God loves you—and so do I. 1978 Schuller Daily Power Thoughts 16 : God loves you and so do I. And it is good and right for you to say, “God loves me and so do I!” Everytime a negative or critical thought about yourself enters your mind today, repeat that sentence to yourself. 1980 The Wittenburg Door (Oct.–Nov.) 32 : There is nothing more degrading and humiliating than being told in that syrupy God-loves-you-and-so-do-I voice that you really aren’t what you could be, should be or ought to be. 1988 Heller Talking to Your Child About God 11 : But when you can put aside your worries you can say to your child: “God is good and God loves you And so do I.” It seems so simple, but it’s those simple truths about religion that stick with children. 1997 Anderson Lectionary Preaching Workbook 94 : Dr. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, always says during the course of his worship services, “God loves you and so do I.” This phrase has really caught on in some circles. 2004 Lathrop, Wengert Christian Assembly: Marks of the Church in a Pluralistic Age 11 : The sense of engagement with others has become available to us through laugh tracks, “you are there” sporting events, the personable pitches of shopping channels, the television preachers saying, “God loves you and so do I,” the “chat rooms,” even the exchange of virtual identities.
GLYASDI Initialism for *God loves you and so do I.
  • M&D

    “God loves you and so do I” will be part of my prayers. Thank you for the lovely reminder. So often we pray complex prayers using long ago verbiage, when we can simply our love for ourselves and others. God loves you and so do we!

    • It’s so true. The simplest prayers are often the most heartfelt and the most powerful.

  • ryan

    “It’s hard to criticize someone for firmly believing that the Bible contains God’s instructions to the human race.” Actually it’s extremely easy and the main reason people criticize Christians or any other dogmatically believing entity. In fact it’s even EASIER to criticize the author for making such an asinine statement.

    • John Conolley

      Seriously. If God had instructions for the human race, why didn’t he instruct us to wash our hands before eating? Why didn’t he instruct us on how to make soap? It’s really simple: “Boil tallow in water filtered through wood ashes.” (Thx to C.J. Cherryh for that wording.)

  • I commonly use: “Love your enemy. God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

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  • duskglow

    When spoken to a non-Christian, it is *exactly* a sign of closed-mindedness, nothing more, nothing less. It is as important to state what you believe with *love* as it is to state what you believe, and stating it in this manner shows a complete unwillingness to meet someone where they are, which requires some flexibility. It doesn’t require flexibility in how you believe, but it absolutely does require flexibility in how you approach that belief with others, and “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, is a really good way of closing off any dialog and turning the conversation into… “well, ok then. I guess we have nothing more to say to each other. Later”. And that would probably be one of the few things in which a non-Christian would shake the dust off *his* feet.

    And when spoken to a Christian… well, why would you? What’s there to argue?

    It’s a turn of phrase that I just don’t think should ever be used, because it’s inherently confrontational, argumentative, and just plain rude.

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