28 Everyday Sayings You Didn’t Know Came from the Bible

SharePinEmailOur daily conversations are peppered with phrases that carry a rich historical legacy. Many of these have their roots in scripture and offer wisdom, vivid imagery, and moral lessons. A Drop in the Bucket When we say something is just “a drop in the bucket,” we mean it’s a very small part of something much…

Our daily conversations are peppered with phrases that carry a rich historical legacy. Many of these have their roots in scripture and offer wisdom, vivid imagery, and moral lessons.

A Drop in the Bucket

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When we say something is just “a drop in the bucket,” we mean it’s a very small part of something much bigger. This phrase can be found in Isaiah 40:15 and is used to illustrate the insignificance of nations compared to the power of God.

Rise and Shine

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“Rise and shine” is a popular morning greeting derived from Isaiah 60:1, which encourages, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” It’s a call to wake up and greet the day with energy and purpose.

By the Sweat of Your Brow

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Toiling hard to earn a living is neatly encapsulated in the phrase “by the sweat of your brow,” which originates from Genesis 3:19, where God tells Adam that he’ll have to work hard for his food after being expelled from Eden.

The Powers That Be

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When referring to authorities or established powers, we often use “the powers that be.” This expression comes from Romans 13:1, where Paul speaks about the importance of respecting governing authorities.

Turn the Other Cheek

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Found in Matthew 5:39, a core teaching of Jesus on forgiveness and non-retaliation is to “turn the other cheek,” which asks us to respond to aggression not with violence, but with patience and kindness.

The Apple of My Eye

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A term of endearment used to describe someone precious and cherished, “the apple of my eye” is mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:10 to reflect God’s special care for His people.

A Thorn in the Flesh

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Describing a persistent problem or annoyance, “a thorn in the flesh” comes from 2 Corinthians 12:7, in a passage where Paul discusses a personal struggle that continually troubles him.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

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Frequently heard during celebrations, “eat, drink and be merry” celebrates the enjoyment of life and living in the moment, and originates from Ecclesiastes 8:15.

At Your Wit’s End

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Feeling completely overwhelmed and out of options? The phrase “at your wit’s end” comes from Psalm 107:27, and refers to sailors in a storm who have exhausted all their efforts.

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

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Used to describe the necessity of unity, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:25, and emphasizes that division ultimately leads to downfall.

A Leopard Cannot Change Its Spots

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Indicating that one cannot change their inherent nature, “a leopard cannot change its spots” is based on Jeremiah 13:23.

Go the Extra Mile

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To “go the extra mile” means to make a special effort, and is taken from Matthew 5:41 where Jesus preaches about going above and beyond in helping others.

The Blind Leading the Blind

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From Matthew 15:14, and used to describe misguided leadership, “the blind leading the blind” is Jesus’ warning Jesus against following ignorant leaders.

Fly in the Ointment

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A small but irritating flaw in something is commonly referred to as “a fly in the ointment” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

The Wages of Sin is Death

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A severe line from Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death” explains the spiritual consequences of sin and the ultimate separation from God.

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

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Encouraging self-reflection before criticizing others, “judge not, lest ye be judge” from Matthew 7:1 reminds us of our own imperfections and the importance of empathy.

Manna from Heaven

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Referring to an unexpected blessing, “manna from heaven” is lifted from the story in Exodus 16 as God provides the Israelites with food in the desert.

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil

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Often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil,” the correct phrase from 1 Timothy 6:10 instead warns about the dangers of loving money excessively: “the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

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Describing deceitful individuals, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” from Matthew 7:15, warns against those who appear harmless but have malicious intentions.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

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A solemn phrase often used at funerals to signify the finality of death, the origins of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” are found in Genesis 3:19, which speaks of humanity returning to the ground from which it was formed.

Philistine

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Calling someone a “Philistine” implies they are uncultured or indifferent to the arts. The term comes from the biblical Philistines, who were often at odds with the Israelites, as described in Genesis 21:32 and throughout the Old Testament.

Land of Milk and Honey

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Referring to a place of abundance and prosperity, “a land of milk and honey” comes from Exodus 3:8 and refers to the Promised Land that God pledges to the Israelites, a place of plenty and divine blessing.

An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth

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“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes from Exodus 21:24 is associated with justice and retribution. It lays down a principle of proportional punishment, which was later nuanced by Jesus’ own teachings on forgiveness.

Golden Calf

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The term “golden calf” is used to describe an object of misplaced reverence or idolatry. In Exodus 32, the Israelites worship a golden calf when Moses is away receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

Scapegoat

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A “scapegoat” is someone who is unfairly blamed for the wrongdoings of others. This term appears in Leviticus 16:10, where a goat was symbolically burdened with the sins of the people and sent into the wilderness.

Fire and Brimstone

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The phrase “fire and brimstone” evokes images of hellish punishment and divine wrath and can be found among the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24, where God rains down His punishment on the sinful cities.

Man Does Not Live on Bread Alone

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The saying “man does not live on bread alone” emphasizes the importance of spiritual nourishment over mere physical sustenance. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus responds to Satan’s temptation with a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:3.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

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Used to lament the downfall of someone once great, “how the mighty have fallen” from 2 Samuel 1:25, depicts David mourning the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle.

These phrases showcase the influence of the Bible on everyday language and continue to remind us of the historical and cultural significance of these ancient texts. Whether we realize it or not, many of the words we use carry echoes of these timeless biblical stories and teachings​.

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