Bible Phrases

Did You Just Quote from the Bible?

Frankly Speaking by Frank Jordan

Today we speak in phrases most have no inkling of origin. You might be surprised how often your phrase is sourced from the Bible!  Let’s explore a few you may not suspect had a Biblical origin.

When something is only a small portion of a total, we say, “That’s just a drop in the bucket!”  Go to Isaiah 40:15 in the Old Testament and read, “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales;…. . (NIV)”   Now you know how God views our world of nations in His evaluation of the total Universe!

Speaking of small, when something tiny spoils a complete thing, we often refer to the small irritant as, “A fly in the ointment.”  Open your Good Book to Ecclesiastes 10:1 and discover, “As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor [NIV].”  For the purist, the King James Version uses the word “ointment” for “perfume.”

At times we are in less than a forgiving nature and spout the words, “I just want an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”  This phrase, is in the Bible in Matthew 5:38, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth;” but originated about 1,800 years earlier in the Code of Hammurabi authored by Hammurabi, King of Babylon, from 1792-1750 BC.

The phrase, “In the twinkling of an eye” refers to the speed with which an event occurs, but was not coined by Disney!  The Biblical phrase from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 gives hope and assurance for those in faith by referring to our new bodies when Christ returns; bodies without disabilities that will never die or become sick.

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

At funerals you sometimes hear the phrase, “They fought the good fight.”  Seldom today do we use the expression in relation to fighting to be faithful to God.  But, the words in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 instruct us: “But you, man of God, flee from all this [mankind’s goals of power and wealth], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith.”  Perhaps our leaders should set these as the fight they seek to win and make the world a better place for all.

As I first viewed my new tiny newborn daughter years ago, I remember thinking, “There is the apple of my eye!”  Did you know that expression, referring to something or someone to be cherished above others, first referred to Moses in Deuteronomy 32:10-12?

The verses read: “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.”  But further in that same Chapter of Deuteronomy are words of warning in verses 18-20 that could be applicable today: “You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. ‘I will hide my face from them,’ he said, ‘and see what their end will be’;…”

Frankly Speaking, in these troubled times may we hope we as individuals and a nation have not also deserted the Rock of ages, causing His face to be hidden from us.  As it was for Moses, if it be His will, may we continue to be shielded, cared for and guarded as the apple of His eye.