12 Bible-based sayings often used in society

Have you ever noticed how those who want to completely do away with the Bible and Christianity commonly use terms that originated with the Bible?  I find this ironic in an amusing way since atheists and agnostics who hate Christians and hate the Bible inadvertently use these phrases in their conversations.  Maybe they should thank God that he supplied them with a considerable amount of poignant words to use. 🙂

The Bible has had such a huge impact on English-speaking society that phrases found in the King James Version are ingrained in the minds of believers and unbelievers alike and here are some of the terms we often use and the passages they originated from:

There’s nothing new under the sun.  A phrase observing that pretty much everything has been tried in some form or another in times past.  It originated from Ecclesiastes 1:9–“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.”

You can’t take it with you.  An expression noting the fact that you have to leave all of your worldly possessions behind when you die.  This concept comes to us courtesy of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:7–“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

The powers that be.  Refers to those who are in control of things or situations.  It is taken 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.”

To every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.  Used to point out that certain things should only occur at certain times.  Sometimes the phrase is shortened using only the first half or second half of the phrase.  It’s origins are in Ecclesiastes 3:1–“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

The writing is on the wall.  A phrase observing that the end of a situation or period is near.  It alludes to the story of Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, who was foretold of his demise–“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote,” [Daniel 5:5].

Weighed in the scale and found wanting.  Sometimes this phrase is quoted as just “weighed in the scale” or as only “found wanting.”  It’s a quote highlighting the fact that someone or something is not up to snuff and has fallen short of a desired goal.  It is also taken from the story of Belshazzar, last king of Babylon, and is part of the message that was written on the wall to him.  “And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. …TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting,” [Daniel 5:25, 27].

No rest for the wicked.  A phrase used to point out that evil people will always have to work hard to cover their tracks or watch their backs since their punishment is inevitable.  It originated in Isaiah 48:22–“There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.”

Scapegoat.  An innocent person or thing that is punished in lieu of the guilty party.  The term comes from Leviticus 16:10–“But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”

You reap what you sow.  This is another way of saying what goes around comes around.  What you give out to others is what will come back on you.  It comes from Galatians 6:7–“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

I’m on the straight and narrow.  In other words, “I’m trying to do the right thing.”  It is a phrase coined by Jesus in Matthew 7:14–“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Out of the mouths of babes.  A term expressing how impressed an older person is with something a younger person has said.  We find the origin of this phrase in Psalm 8:2 which was quoted by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 21:16–“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”

The blind leading the blind.  A phrase of contempt at how an ignorant or deceived person is leading another ignorant or deceived person in the wrong direction.  Jesus coined the phrase in Luke 6:39–“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

These are just a few of the many Bible-based phrases we hear being used just about every day.  Feel free to share ones that you’ve heard that I didn’t mention.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

2 thoughts on “12 Bible-based sayings often used in society

Add yours

  1. I think that there are two possible viewpoints which must be considered:

    1. The Bible is a bad book; not only is not the word of God or possessing of any supernatural qualities, but it has no literary/artistic merit and should not be read by anyone for any purpose.

    2. The Bible is not the “Word of God”, and does not possess any supernatural qualities beyond any other book.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who adhered to the first viewpoint. It’s the Bible’s divine status that is questioned, not its value as a work of literature.


    1. With regard to the first viewpoint, there are quite a few God-haters who hold this view. But this is only their feeble personal opinions. The God we Bible-lovers serve, i.e. Yahweh, has already proven the worth of his word. The historical, scientific, and spiritual truths he revealed to his prophets who wrote them down centuries ago have come to pass, according to both secular and non-secular sources.

      I’ll provide two witnesses, or facts, as an example. It was once thought that the story of Joseph, the Hebrew who saved Egypt, was a myth. After all, why would an ancient Pharaoh place a non-Egyptian over his kingdom as second to only himself? Then last year, scientists found ancient Egyptian coins that had the name of Egypt, a date, and a value on them. They also had the name of Joseph, his official title, and his likeness inscribed on them as well as some symbols like cows and sheaves of grain which alluded to the dream he interpreted for Pharaoh. So scientists re-thought the fact of his existence and re-thought their assumptions that ancient peoples did not use money, but only bartered goods.

      My second witness are the various discoveries of scientists which have shown that Earth had a beginning. Among these discoveries was the 2nd law of thermodynamics which shows the universe is running down and that everything in it is slowly decaying. The obvious conclusion is that since the universe’s resources are finite, the universe had a beginning and did not always exist as had been previously thought. Then early in the 20th century, Edwin Hubble used this theory as the basis for his discovery that the universe is expanding. The Bible proclaimed the beginning of the universe (Genesis 1:1) and the universe’s expansion (Isaiah 40:22, 45:12) eons before scientists discovered that these ideas were really true. How could someone without the scientific tools and technological advances of scientists who came centuries after them know these things? They had to be revealed supernaturally by someone who had knowledge that surpassed man’s knowledge–by someone who was an eyewitness and played a part in the beginning and the expansion of the universe.

      These witnesses can also be applied to the second viewpoint you mention. The fact that the Bible is God’s word and is 100% reliable has also been proven with the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was truly resurrected after dying an agonizing death. No one has been able to disprove this obvious fact by presenting a body. The fact that Jesus’ disciples changed their mindsets so drastically after encountering their resurrected Lord is also proof and these events mentioned in the New Testament are historically recorded by reliable ancient sources like Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Julius Africanus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Lucian of Samosata, Mara Bar-Serapion, and Celsus.

      Then we have modern proof in the testimonies of modern Christians whose lives were drastically changed after encountering Jesus Christ. In churches all over the world there are Christians who were told they would die from their sickness who have been healed and they have medical records to prove it. Churches have former homosexuals who once believed they would always be gay, but were delivered by the power of Jesus’ name and are living completely heterosexually as God intended. We have former drug addicts and alcoholics who gave up their drugs and alcohol cold turkey when they repented of their sin and surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. I could go on and on.

      The only reason people hold on to these viewpoints is because they are ignorant and haven’t really done their homework. They’re afraid if they truly carry out their due diligence, then they will find out the Bible is really true and they would be placed in the uncomfortable position of making the choice between clinging to their sin or clinging to the God of the Bible who can save them from the bondage to the sins they love so much. They lack the rock solid, reliable faith to embrace the absolute truth of God’s word. So you see the Bible has more merit than any book existing on Earth–past, present, or in the future–whether it is literary merit, artistic merit, scientific merit, historical merit, or the most important of all–spiritual merit.


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