Sound familiar?

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Bible Related, Did you know?, History Related
Tags: , , ,

Many phrases in common usage today originated from the Bible believe it or not:

Armageddon: This word comes from Revelation 16:14-16 which mentions all the powerful kings of the world gathering together to wage war against God at a location called Armageddon. We use this word to describe an end of the world conflict, but it is actually the location for which this conflict is to occur.

Scapegoat: The term scapegoat actually pertains to a real goat. Israel’s annually celebrated Day of Atonement involved a high priest laying his hands on a goat to symbolically transfer people’s sin onto it. The goat was later released into the wilderness. That same day another goat was sacrificed as a sin offering. These sacrifices cleansed the Israelites of their sins, or in other words, the goat took the heat for the sins. And that is where scapegoat; “someone who takes that blame for others,” comes from.

Fat of the Land: Comes from Genesis 45:18 where Joseph tells his brothers, “I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.”

Eye for an eye: Ever heard, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth?” It is in the Bible actually, in Leviticus 24:19-20 as a form of justice. Those who read it often point out this law of God as mean-spirited. Religious author J. Stephen Lang clarifies, “ …the Old Testament law was pretty compassionate. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was a limit. It meant ”tit for tat”- but no more. The common custom (human nature never changes) was (and is) to get more than even. But the enlightened law of Leviticus said, No, if you’re injured you can’t take two teeth because you lost one tooth. It was actually a progressive law. Jesus took it a step further.”[1] Jesus did clarify in Matthew 5:38-39 that this law was to be held at an even higher ethic, “whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also.”

Blind Leading the Blind: This phrase actually originated from Matthew 15:14 where Jesus says, “If the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

The Writing On the Wall: This phrase originated from Daniel 5, in which the Babylonian ruler Belshazzar is at a feast when a mysterious words begin to appear written on the fall, terrifying Belshazzar. The message was translated by Daniel to mean that the rein of Belshazzar was coming to an end. That night Belshazzar was killed and Darius took over the Babylonian Kingdom.

Adam’s Apple: Not so much directly from the Bible, but Bible based. An ancient tradition believed that when Adam ate the forbidden fruit a piece of it became lodged in his throat forever passed on to all men. Interestingly the Bible never says what kind of fruit was eaten, but because of the term Adam’s apple, people always associate another common phrase, “forbidden fruit,” with an apple.

Woe is me: This comes from Isaiah 6:5, “Woe is me, for I am undone!”

A Lamb to the slaughter: Is from Isaiah 53:7 in which God’s chosen servant “was lead as a lamb to the slaughter…” This is a popular interpretation of prophecy of Christ.

Holier than thou: We use this phrase to point out someone’s self-righteousness. The Bible actually condemns this attitude in which Isaiah 65:2-5 points out that there are people that say, “Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.”

Apple of the eye: This is a Hebrew term which references the center of eye, our pupil. Something that remains the focus of attention is obviously being watched and therefore in the center of the eye. It’s used in Deuteronomy 32:10 and Psalm 17:8.

We reap what we sow: This comes from Galatians 6:7 KJV.

Fly in the ointment: Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor.”

The Powers that Be: Come from Romans 13:1 KJV.

Misused phrases:

Money is the root of all evil: Close, but the Bible actually says, “the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10. Money is not evil, but loving it and obsessing over it is. And it is not the root of all evil, but all kinds of evil.

God helps those who help themselves: This is actually nowhere in the Bible. It come from Benjamin Franklin and was popularized by John F. Kennedy.

The Truth Will Set You Free: A very popular verse that is from the Bible but is leaving out the most important part. Jesus says in John 8:31-32 that those who believe in him and follow his teachings will know the truth and the truth shall set them free. In other words, the only truth that is going to set you free is the truth of Christ’s teachings.

So many of these phrases and words in common usage are all traced back to the Bible. I wonder how many Bible haters use these words everyday J

[1] Lang, J.S., (2010) 1001 Things You Always Wanted To Know About the Bible But Never Thought To Ask, (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc.) pp.3.

  1. Noel says:

    True! The Bible has a lot of teachings that even non-believers quote all the time. The Golden Rule is another universal concept that most people agree with, some even claim that it is a truth beyond the Bible, that it is a concept that existed before Jesus was born.

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