The official website for the book We Want to Believe: Faith and Gospel in The X-Files, also exploring topics related to faith and religion in The X-Files.
Erroneous Biblical Citations in The X-Files
Throughout the X-Files series, there are a number of glaring errors when it comes to biblical references. The question remains, though, is this the result of poor fact-checking? Or -- to give the writers the benefit of the doubt -- are these errors intentional to reflect the limited knowledge of the Bible by the characters themselves?
The message written on the wall in blood reads, “He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. John 52:54.” This causes Mulder to remark on the murderers’ feeble grasp of Scripture. He is certainly right about that -- the correct verse is John 6:54 (the Gospel of John has only 21 chapters).
“One Breath” (2x08)
Scully’s headstone reads, “‘The Spirit is the Truth.’ 1 John 5:07.” Biblical verse numbers under ten aren’t usually referenced with a zero before them. Also, note that many modern translations include this quote in verse 6 rather than verse 7.
“The Calusari” (2x21)
Scully refers to the feeding of the five thousand as a “parable.” Technically, it’s a miracle account; a parable is a story told by Jesus, whereas a miracle is an action he does, such as dividing the loaves and fishes.
Scully refers to St. Ignatius appearing in two places at once in the Bible, to which Mulder replies, “That was in the Bible.” Actually, it wasn’t. There are two prominent historical Christians named Ignatius, neither of which is in the Bible. One is the first-century apostolic father from Antioch, and the other (the one to whom Scully is most likely referring) is St. Ignatius of Loyola from sixteenth-century Spain. (There is a brief reference to Ignatius bilocating in The Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Father Genelli [trans. M. C. Sainte Foi and T. Meyrick; London: Burns, Oates, and Co., 1871], 309–10.)
“The Field Where I Died” (4x05)
Referring to the biblical text quoted by Vernon Ephesian (Rev. 2:10), Mulder correctly identifies Smyrna as the church to which the letter in that text is written; but then Mulder refers to the church of the Ephesians as in “Ephesia.” The name of the city was actually Ephesus.
Mulder and Scully both refer to the book of Revelation as “Revelations” (a common misnomer; the title refers to the revelation to John, indicating one extended vision, or revelation).
In the cult’s final scene, Ephesian quotes biblical passages while he addresses his flock. Scully correctly identifies one of the texts as 1 John 3 (vv. 13-14, 16). However, as that scene is intercut with images of the FBI moving in on the complex, it seems that the shots with Ephesian were inserted out of their original order. After his quotation from 1 John 3, he is heard quoting from Revelation 22:14. Then he goes back to 1 John 3:18-19 (picking up just one verse after the text that Scully identified). When we next see him, he is once again quoting from Revelation 22:14 (right where he left off in the earlier shot) and continues with verse 15. (His final quote is Revelation 1:18, which was seen painted on a door at the beginning of the episode.)
The window at the abandoned hot springs reads “Water from the Rock; Exodus 7:16.” However, the correct reference for the story about Moses drawing water from the rock is Exodus 17:6.
The cult leader who meets with Scully (Josepho) quotes from a biblical passage, which she then identifies as a quote from Ephesians, and he doesn’t correct her. The actual text is Ezekiel 1:4-5 (the names of both books may start with E, but the contents of the two are very different).