Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Common English phrases found in the King James Bible

The list below comes from a very nice NPR story celebrating the 400th birthday of the King James Bible.




Though it cannot be said that all of these phrases originated in the Bible, notes NPR, it is likely that the King James Bible was the first time that many of them appeared in English.



Savvy reader Katherine Armour noted that NPR's report ignored the contribution of William Tyndale, whose translation accounts for 84% of the New Testament and 75.8% of the Old Testament books in the King James. (For his trouble, of course, Tyndale was executed. Sic semper literatus.)



A drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15)


A house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25)


A man after his own heart (Samuel 13:14 or Acts 13:22)


A wolf in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15)


An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21; Matthew 5:38)


Apple of your eye (Deuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8)


At their wits' end (Psalms 107:27)


Baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11)


Bite the dust (adapted from Psalms 72)


Broken heart (Psalms 34:18)


By the skin of your teeth (Job 19:20)


By the sweat of your brow (Genesis 3:19)


Can a leopard change its spots? (Jeremiah 13:23)


Cast the first stone (John 8:7)


Chariots of Fire (2 Kings 6:17)


Cross to bear (Luke 14:27)


Don't cast your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)


Eat drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15)


Fall by the wayside (Matthew 13:4)


Fall from grace (Galatians 5:4)


Fat of the land (Genesis 45:18)


Feet of clay (Daniel 2:31-33)


Fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12)


Fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24-26)


Flesh and blood (Matthew 16:17)


Fly in the ointment (adapted from Ecclesiastes 10:1)


Forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:9)


From strength to strength (Psalms 84:7)


Give up the ghost (Mark 15:37)


Heart's desire (Psalms 21:2)


He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword (Matthew 26:52)


Holier than thou (Isaiah 65:5)


How the mighty are fallen (Samuel 1:19)


In the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52)


It's better to give than receive (Acts 20:35)


Labour of love (Hebrews 6:10)


Lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7)


Land of Nod (Genesis 4:16)


Law unto themselves (Romans 2:14)


Letter of the law (2 Corinthians 3:6)


Living off the fat of the land (Genesis 45:18)


Love of money is the root of all evil (Timothy 6:10)


Manna from heaven (Exodus 16:15)


Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)


My cup runneth over (Psalms 23:5)


No rest for the wicked (adapted from Isaiah 57:20)


Nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)


O ye of little faith (Luke 12:28)


Out of the mouths of babes (Psalms 8:2, Matthew 21:16)


Peace offering (Leviticus 3:6)


Pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)


Put words in her mouth (2 Samuel 14:3)


Put your house in order (2 Kings 20:1)


Reap what you sow (adapted from Galatians 6:7)


See eye to eye (Isaiah 52:8)


Set your teeth on edge (Jeremiah 31:30)


Sign of the times (Matthew 16:3)


Sour grapes (Jeremiah 31:30)


Sweat of your brow (Genesis 3:19)


Tender mercies (Psalms 25:6)


The blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14)


The ends of the earth (Zechariah 9:10)


The root of the matter (Job 19:28)


The powers that be (Romans 13:1)


The salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)


The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41)


The Straight and narrow (Matthew 7:13/14)


There's nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)


Two edged sword (Proverbs 5:4)V


oice crying in the wilderness (John 1:23)


Wages of sin (Romans 6:23)


Wash your hands of the matter (Matthew 27:24)


White as snow (Daniel 7:9)


Woe is me (Job 10:15)


Writing is on the wall (Daniel 5: 5/6)


Note: Most of these phrases are direct quotations. Others have slight word order changes that make the modern phrase quicker and catchier.

3 comments:

Rayford Prasad said...

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Lerry G Leone said...

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