Scripture in Your Speech: 18 Things People Say All the Time That Are Actually Taken from the Bible

By Krystal Brown

Did you know that many commonly used (while outdated) sayings that people say all the time actually have origins in scripture, specifically the Bible? Here is a list of 18 outdated things people say all the time that are actually taken from scripture! 

“An Eye for an Eye” 

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You’ve most likely often heard the saying ‘an eye for an eye’ in some of your favorite movies or TV shows. It’s one of the most common sayings taken from the Old Testament. Specifically chapter 21, verse 24. The full saying as it goes is “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand, foot for foot.” Being used in a sense that when there is an offense, that the punishment must match it. 

“Money Is the Root of All Evil” 

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Money is, in today’s day and age, a controversial concept. A lot of times people who acquire too much money, often get too much power from this new found wealth. Causing them to spiral out of control, putting themselves and their money first before other people. No matter if this ruins their friendships and relationships. Hence the warning given to us by the Bible; “money is the root of all evil”. 

“Pride Comes before the Fall” 

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People often face the problem of becoming overly confident when being ‘good’ at something. This leads to them becoming prideful thinking – “I’ll never mess this up, or do this wrong”. The problem with this is that this can make them more likely to experience a downfall or a failure. 

“Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness” 

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In a lot of religious communities, there is the saying that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. They often attribute this saying to biblical teaching. Though it doesn’t have a direct verse, it reflects that maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is seen as a virtue. Both in a physical and moral sense, that through chores we can draw ourselves closer to God. 

“Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged” 

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Taken from the New Testament, in the book of Matthew 7:1. Cautioning against the passing of harsh judgment onto others. It teaches that we should pass on empathy and compassion rather than cruel remarks or thinking. Going hand in hand with what most people learn in school – “treat others the way you would want to be treated” 

“Many Are Called but Few Are Chosen” 

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If you have ever gone job hunting, you’ve run into the prime example of this saying. Many places, especially lines of work, look for specific candidates for certain jobs out of the numerous people who apply. Taken from the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew 22:14. 

“For Everything There Is a Season”

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‘For Everything There Is A Season’ reminds us that life comes with its ups and downs. But there is a right time for everything. A time to be happy, sad, a time to start something new. No matter what the flow of life will continue, and rather than fight against it or question “why” we should embrace the curves that life throws at us. 

“A Little Birdie Told Me” 

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I’m sure you’ve heard your grandparents or even parents say “a little birdie told me” when asking where they found out something from. This is a light hearted term that most people use so that they can withhold the true name of the person that gave them information. It’s mostly used towards children, so that they won’t end up being angry towards whoever ‘snitched’ on them. 

“Drop in a Bucket” 

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“That’s a drop in a bucket compared to something I’ve done.” Heard something similar to that before? It’s kinda like saying your contribution barely makes a dent. You’ve most likely heard this from all kinds of places. Whether it be in everyday conversation, from the media, or other places. Its origins actually come from the Old Testament, in the Book of Isaiah 40:15. “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust” 

“No Rest for the Wicked”

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This is a bit of a more playful expression. Essentially – it means that if you’re up to no good or doing something you’re ‘not supposed to’ , you won’t be able to find peace or relax. If you’ve grown up in a strict household, you’ll definitely understand the feeling of unease that comes with doing something mischievous. Wondering “if/when they find out, what will happen to me?”  

“Rise and Shine”

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“Rise and Shine” your mom chimes in the morning. Being a friendly and motivating way to tell someone “wake up! Get out of bed and embrace the day!” You might not believe it but it is from Isaiah 60:1. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” 

“A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots” 

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‘A leopard can’t change his spots’ is a saying suggesting that people, generally, can’t change their deep rooted character or nature. Sort of like saying someone’s fundamental qualities are fixed to them, just like the spots are on a leopard. We’ve all had someone like this, with most people taking comfort in this saying when realizing that someone refuses to change their ways. No matter what you’ve done to try. 

“Go the Extra Mile” 

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Often we are taught that we should ‘go the extra mile’. Helping to set us aside from others who only do the bare minimum in hopes of being noticed. Going above and beyond what is expected. This actually comes from the verse Matthew 5:41, where it states that “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” 

“Straight and Narrow” 

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Were you a troublemaker as a child? You’ve probably heard the saying “this will get you on the straight and narrow” when being punished. What this actually means is to stick to an upright and honest path. It’s about choosing the right / ethical way rather than straying into any wrongdoing or unethical behavior. 

“Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” 

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” This is from the Gospel of Matthew, 7:15. It is a warning that people who may appear to be friendly on the outside may actually be deceptive or even dangerous on the inside. This saying is so popular that even teachers/educators might use it as a warning towards students regarding plagiarism or cheating in the classroom setting. 

“Fall by the Wayside” 

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“Be Careful not to let your dreams fall by the wayside”. You might hear this when starting a new project or journey. It’s used to describe someone who stops doing or using something due to the lack of interest. Losing sight due to their focus on other priorities. So when used in this sense, you might hear it as an encouraging remark. Telling you to stick with your goals no matter the difficulties to come. 

“The Blind Leading the Blind” 

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This saying is used a lot in today’s society. Especially when it comes to politics. It’s a saying that suggests that someone or a group of people are being guided on a subject by someone just as ignorant on that subject. It’s used to highlight the absurdity of following someone who might not know any more than you do. According to Matthew 15:14 this can be a massive problem, because “if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit”. 

“Move Mountains” 

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Often used to inspire people to tackle difficult challenges, the phrase “move mountains” means to not be thrown off by seemingly impossible tasks. It tells you to stay strong and stay determined no matter what’s thrown at you. All so that you can achieve your goals. This is actually taken from Matthrew 17:20; “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.””