65+ commonly used English terms, proverbs, & idioms from the KJV

KJV 1611 creative commons licenseMay 2, 2016 marks the 405th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, a masterpiece that has stood the test of time to remain popular even in the 21st century. This is no surprise since it’s God’s word in English and the Lord promised his word would last forever. In honor of my most favorite book of all time, I thought I would demonstrate what a powerful impact it has had in the English-speaking societies by highlighting a list of ideas, terms, and phrases originating from the KJV that are still popular in both Christian and non-Christian circles today, thanks to the God-fearing translators who released it 405 years ago. For a book to be deemed old-fashioned by its critics, it sure has a lot of sayings that are still very much in fashion. Have fun reading them.

A broken heart (Ps. 34:18)

A child shall lead them (Isa. 11:6)

A drop in the bucket (Isa. 40:15)

A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25)

A labor of love (1 Thes. 1:3)

A man after my own heart (1 Sam. 13:14)

A multitude of sins (Jas. 5:20)

A prophet is not without honor save in his own country (shortened sometimes to prophet without honor) (Matt. 13:57)

(Add) fuel to the fire (Ezek. 21:32)

Apple of his eye (Deut. 32:10)

As God is my witness (Romans 1:9)

Ask and ye shall receive (John 16:24)

At my wit’s end (Ps. 107:27)

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (aka, the Golden Rule) (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31)

Eat, drink, and be merry (Eccl. 8:15; Luke 12:19)

Fight the good fight (1 Tim. 6:12)

Fly in the ointment (Eccl. 10:1)

He/she does not suffer fools gladly (2 Cor. 11:19)

Head on a platter (Matt. 14:8)

His/her/my/ your cup runneth over (Ps. 23:16)

Holier than thou (Isaiah 65:5)

How the mighty have fallen (2 Sam. 1:25)

If you live by the sword, you die by the sword (Matt. 26:52)

I’m on the straight and narrow (Matt. 7:14)

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

Iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17)

It’s high time you do so-and-so (Rom. 13:11)

Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matt. 7:1)

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7)

Let the dead bury the dead (Matt. 8:22)

Let there be light (Gen. 1:3)

Like lambs to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; Jeremiah 51:40)

Love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) Often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil.”

Man cannot live by bread alone (Matt. 4:4, Luke 4:4)

Many are called, few are chosen (Matt. 22:14)

My brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9)

Never let the sun go down on your anger/wrath (Eph. 4:26)

No man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13)

No rest for the wicked (Isa. 48:22)

Oh, ye of little faith (Matt. 6:30)

Out of the mouths of babes (Matt. 21:16)

Physician, heal thyself (Luke 4:23)

Pride comes/goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18)

Putting words in my mouth (Ex. 4:15)

Scapegoat (Lev. 16:10)

Seek and ye shall find (Matt. 7:7)

Shaken to its foundations (Ps. 18:7, Isa. 24:18)

Sign(s) of the times (Matt. 16:3)

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7)

Spare the rod and spoil the child (Prov. 13:24)

Stumbling block (Lev. 19:14)

The blind leading the blind (Luke 6:39)

The half was not told me; the half has not been told (Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings 10:7)

The labourer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7)

The leopard can’t change its spots (Jer. 13:23)

The powers that be (Rom. 13:1)

The writing is on the wall (Dan. 5:5)

There’s nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9)

Thorn in my side (Num. 33:25)

Thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7)

Throwing pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6)

To every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. (Eccl. 3:1)

Trial (tried) by fire (1 Pet. 1:7)

Turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39)

Weighed in the scale and found wanting (Dan. 5:27) Sometimes this phrase is quoted as just “weighed in the scale” or as only “found wanting.”

White as snow (Dan. 7:9)

Wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15)

You cannot put new wine in old bottles/wine skins (Matt. 9:17)

You can’t take it with you (1 Tim. 6:7)

You reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7)


Geoffrey Grider, Everyday phrases we use that came from the King James Bible, Nowtheendbegins.com, November 20, 2015.

List of proverbial phrases, Wikipedia.com.

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