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Sayings from Scripture

Bible phrases we use in daily speech

It has been said about the King James Version of 1611 that it had a great influence in forming the English language. Those who have been brought up in a Christian culture will slip into a biblical turn of phrase without particularly thinking that they are quoting scripture. These expressions may also be used by non-believers who live their lives without any conscious Christian input.

As a matter of interest we quote below a selection of phrases which have a biblical origin. You are invited to consider whether you think they get used in modern English. Your opinion. Do you ever hear them said, or read them anywhere.?

Secondly, you have the opportunity to test yourself. Do you know what section of scripture they come from? Can you find the place? Or even, without looking it up, quote chapter and verse?


A 'doubting Thomas' A sceptical person, one who refuses to believe something until he has actually seen complete proof or evidence for it.


A 'good Samaritan' Someone who helps others who are in need.


The 'writing on the wall' The existence of signs that warn of imminent failure or ruin.


'The leopard cannot change his spots' The basic nature or character of a person or institution cannot be changed.


'The straight and narrow' The upright, moral and correct way to behave.


'Pride goes before a fall' When a person behaves in an over-confident and vain manner he is soon likely to suffer misfortune.


'Money is the root of all evil' Everything bad has the desire for money underlying it.


'All things to all men' People who try to please everyone, modifying their behaviour to adapt to those whom they are with.


'A fly in the ointment' A person or thing that spoils a situation that is perfect in every other way.


'Not suffer fools gladly' When a person is impatient and unsympathetic towards foolish people.


'The powers that be' The controlling authority, the governing body, the establishment.


To 'wash one's hands of' To say or show that one no longer wants to be responsible or involved in an action.



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