I am sure that you are familiar with the following words and phrases:
“scapegoat” a person who is blamed for the mistake or wrongdoing of someone else
“drop in a bucket” a very small amount; less than nothing
“the powers that be” important people that have authority over others
“put words in one’s mouth” to falsely attribute a statement to someone
“fall from grace” to fall out of favor; to have one’s reputation tarnished
“labor of love” work done for the benefit of others rather than for material gain
“the blind leading the blind” a situation wherein an incompetent person is guiding an equally incompetent person
“eat, drink and be merry” to enjoy life as much as possible because life is short
“rise and shine” wake up and get going
These are expressions we use in our daily conversations. But do you know that these phrases originated from the Bible, particularly the King James Version? Here are the passages where these expressions came from.
The Reader’s Digest declares that “No book in history has contributed more phrases to the English language than the King James Bible.” In fact, there are at least 122 everyday expressions in the English language that have their origins in the Bible.
How did this happen?
The answer to this question requires a lengthy study on the history of literacy, Bible translation and the Reformation. However, let me give a very simple explanation. Vishal Mangalwadi in The Book that Made Your World, observed: “When Europeans became literate, the only book most families owned was the Bible, and it became the source of their language and their worldview.”
Therefore, when English-speakers engaged the Bible through the centuries, particularly the King James Version, they incorporated many expressions and concepts from the Bible in their daily conversations. So, the next time you hear someone use expressions like “baptism of fire,” “thorn in the flesh,” “by the skin of your teeth,” “flesh and blood,” “how the mighty have fallen,” etc. you could tell them, “Oh, I am glad you quote the Bible when you speak!”
A Word to Pastoral Trainers
Today, let us strive toward influencing the development of our respective languages by intentionally including the Word of God in our daily conversations. To help make this happen, we must increase our Bible engagement. Colossians 3:16 reminds us to:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The more we have the Word of God in our hearts and minds, the more likely will we find it in our speech.
About the Author
Dr. Lloyd Estrada is the Bible Engagement Advocate of the World Evangelical Alliance. He has also served as pastor, church planter and missions mobilizer over the past 30 years. He is an Elder of Greenhills Christian Fellowship. Lloyd and his wife Dahl have been married for 30 years now. They have two adult sons. Dr. Estrada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.