Anytime I hear someone use the term “excellent,” as a stand -alone exclamation, I always think about the movie Wayne’s World. In retrospect, any time I hear the phrase; “we are not worthy,” from that same movie, I instead think about all of us on this Earth and what God did for us by sending his Son to die on a cross to forgive and save us from ourselves and our sins. There are many phrases today that I love and many from come movie quotes, like that of Wayne’s World and my favorite movie Casablanca; Here’s Looking at You Kid!” But there are equally as many, probably more, that came directly from the Bible.
So how do you tie these two together. Well, there are a great number of common sayings that actually came from God and from the Bible, and most are not movie quotes. I mention movie quotes because there seems to be a great love and admiration of great lines from movies in the form of posters, t-shirts, motivational signs, and even body art. But you might be surprised by the many common and often used sayings that came directly from the Bible. Today I would like to focus on many of these sayings and their origin. The Bible has influenced and transformed many lives, leaving a mark forever on the lives of millions. The cultural influence of the Bible impacted even the English language, beginning most prominently with the King James Version.
The King James Version of the Bible has a special history because it was a common English version that was popular for many centuries, spanning from when it was first printed in 1611 to still being used extensively today. I like the King James version but I actually prefer New Living Translation (NLV) or the New International Version (NIV). Choosing a version, you can best relate to is a very personal choice. I use the Bible App at YouVersion to research the various translations and make my choices from this app. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to do so as I have not found a better vehicle to research and stay in touch with Gods Word. Here’s the link to this Bible App: https://www.bible.com/.
The following common English phrases find their origins in Scripture, mostly from the King James Version:
‘Bite the Dust’ from Psalms 72:9, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.”
‘The Blind Leading the Blind’ Matthew 15:13-14, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
‘By the Skin of Your Teeth’ from Job 19:20. The Geneva Bible translated the Hebrew Literally which read, “I have escaped with the skin of my teeth.”
‘Broken Heart’ from Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”.
‘Can a Leopard Change his spots?’ from Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
‘Cast the First Stone’ from John 8:7, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
‘Drop in a Bucket’ from Isaiah 40:15 declaring God’s sovereignty and power over the nations, “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as fine dust”.
‘Eat, Drink, and Be Merry’ from Ecclesiastes 8:15, “because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”
‘Eye for Eye, Tooth for tooth’ from Matthew 5:38, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
‘Fall From Grace’ from Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
‘Fly in the Ointment’ from Ecclesiastes 10:1, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.””
‘For Everything there is a Season’ from Ecclesiastes 3. Ecclesiastes 3 is also the motivation for the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds.
‘Forbidden Fruit’ from Genesis 3:3 when Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
‘Go the extra mile’ from Matthew 5:41 that says, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain”.
‘Good Samaritan’ from Luke 10:30-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
‘He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’ from Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
‘How the Mighty have Fallen’ from 2 Samuel 1:19, “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!”
‘Let there Be Light’ from Genesis 1’s creation account.
‘It was good’ from Genesis 1’s creation account.
‘The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil’ from 1 Timothy 6:10 and is actually usually misquoted as many people say Money alone is the root of all evil; as you can see it is the love of money, not money alone. Here is the ESV translation, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
‘Nothing but skin and bones’ from Job 19:19-20, “All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones.”
‘The Powers that Be’ from Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
‘Pride comes before a fall’ from Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
‘Put words in one’s mouth’ from 2 Samuel 14:3, “And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.”
‘Rise and shine’ from Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”
‘The Root of the Matter’ from Job 19:28, “But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the Root of the matter is found in me?”
‘Scapegoat’ from the Old Testament Law (Leviticus 16:9-10) where a goat is chosen by lot to be sent into the desert to make atonement for sin.
‘See eye to eye’ from Isaiah 52:8, “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”
‘Sign of the times’ from Matthew 16:3, “And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
~This one makes me think of the classic song "Signs" by The Five Man Electrical Band...you can here it here at this link (I will post the words at the end of this message): https://youtu.be/5FktneT6l6U
‘Strait and Narrow’ from Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
‘Twinkling of an Eye’ from 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
‘There’s nothing new under the sun’ from the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
‘Wash your hands of the matter’ from Matthew 27:24, “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
‘Weighed in the balance’ from Job 31:6, “Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.”
‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder’ from Matthew 19:6 in Miles Covedale’s translation of the Bible which says, “Now are they not twayne then, but one flesh. Let not man therfore put a sunder, yet which God hath coupled together.”
‘Wit’s End’ from Psalm 107:27, “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.” And the Psalm does not refer to the Whit’s End with the Imagination Station.
‘Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing’ from Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
‘Writings on the Wall’ from Daniel 5. “The writing is on the wall” is now a popular idiom for “something bad is about to happen”.
There is no better testament, new or old, than the Bible to ground yourself in the Word of God. As you can see, people all over the world have been doing so for ages, even though they may not have known it. These common every-day phrases tie us forever to our creator and are so prevalently used that we owe it to God, and just as importantly to ourselves, to get into His Word as often as we can and to try to live in His Word each and every day.
I am so very thankful for such a loving God that he would lead me to, and keep me surrounded by, His Word. Because without His love and passion for all of us, I’m not sure that we in this world would be able to survive, and I’m most certainly sure that I don’t believe this world would exist today. In the following paragraph and run-on sentence 😊, you will see an example of some of these common every-day phrases…see if you can count the phrases I use - how many did you get?
Thanks to You God, that there’s nothing new under the sun. Even though it is a sign of the times for us to be at our wits end, and even though my life is just a drop in the bucket of all the people and the age of this Earth, I know that what you created is good and that you love me so much that I am able to rise and shine, and that you give me the ability to go the extra mile so that I stay the strait and narrow, to be the best I can be and to bring honor and glory to You my lord.
Thank you, God, for Your Word, Your love, Your mercy, and Your incredible grace!!!
PS…For those of you who counted, I used 8 common phrases previously identified in this message – here’s those phrases: Thanks to You God, that there’s nothing new under the sun. Even though it is a sign of the times for us to be at our wits end, and even though my life is just a drop in the bucket of all the people and the age of this Earth, I know that what you created is good and that you love me so much that I am able to rise and shine, and that you give me the ability to go the extra mile so that I stay the strait and narrow, to be the best I can be and to bring honor and glory to You my lord.
Appendix: Here are the words to the hit song "Signs" as mentioned earlier:
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people Need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat And I went in to ask him why He said, "You look like a fine upstandin' young man I think you'll do" So I took off my hat and said, "Imagine that Huh, me workin' for you" Whoa Sign, sign Everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery Breakin' my mind Do this, don't do that Can't you read the sign? And the sign said "Anybody caught trespassin' Will be shot on sight" So I jumped on the fence and I yelled at the house "Hey! What gives you the right To put up a fence to keep me out But to keep Mother Nature in? If God was here, he'd tell you to your face 'Man, you're some kind of sinner'" Sign, sign Everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery Breakin' my mind Do this, don't do that Can't you read the sign? Now, hey you, mister, can't you read? You got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat You can't even watch, no, you can't eat You ain't supposed to be here The sign said, "You've got to have a membership card To get inside" Uh And the sign said "Everybody welcome Come in, kneel down and pray" But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all I didn't have a penny to pay So I got me a pen and a paper And I made up my own little sign I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me I'm alive and doin' fine" Woo! Sign, sign Everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery Breakin' my mind Do this, don't do that Can't you read the sign? Sign, sign Everywhere a sign