Everyday Expressions in the Bible

We speak the language of the Bible.

Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
Dec 9, 2019 · 3 min read
A person’s hands holding a Bible, with a crowded street scene in the background
A person’s hands holding a Bible, with a crowded street scene in the background
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Did you know that the Bible is the bestselling book of all time?

The Guinness Book of World Records estimates that 5 billion copies of the Bible have been sold and distributed every year since 2015.

Did you know that hundreds of phrases and expressions we use on a daily basis come from the Bible?

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On a recent visit to Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, I came across an exhibit of everyday phrases, metaphors, expressions, and figures of speech in several languages found in the Bible. Photo by Jon Gilbert

Out of the mouths of babes. (Psalm 8:2; Matthew 21:16)

Woe is me. (Psalm 120.5; Isaiah 6:5)

Blind leading the blind.(Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39)

Fight the good fight. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Turn the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29)

A leopard cannot change his spots. (Jeremiah 13:23)

Sign of the times. (Matthew 16:3)

Adding fuel to the fire. (Ezekiel 21:32)

Holier than thou. (Isaiah 65.5)

How the mighty have fallen. (2 Samuel 1:19)

Skin of of one’s teeth. (Job 19:20)

Double-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:4; Hebrews 4:12)

Root of the matter. (Job 19:28)

The salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

To be the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:9)

Wolf in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15)

My brother’s keeper. (Genesis 4:9)

Face to face. (Exodus 33:11)

See eye to eye. (Isaiah 52:8; Jeremiah 34:3)

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

Better to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

The Bible — the Old Testament and the New Testament — contains hundreds of sayings, metaphors, and figures of speech that help to explain life.

The Bible has an enormous impact on everyday language and expressions.

The Bible has been translated into 698 languages. There are over 450 English versions of the Bible. BibleGateway.com contains 60 English versions.

But the message and the lessons of the everyday expressions that come from the Bible remain the same.

So, don’t fall flat on your face (Numbers 22:31). Instead, from time to time (Ezekiel 4:10), go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41), and discover the Bible’s gift to language in our daily life.

Miriam Diaz-Gilbert (aka Miriam Gilbert) is an adjunct professor of theology and religion studies, a published author working on her memoir, and an ultrarunner training for her 27th ultramarathon.

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