Most popular phrases that originate from the Bible

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Most popular phrases that originate from the Bible are quotes, clichés widely used, mostly unknown to the people saying them, that came from the Bible.

Old Testament

  • By the skin of my teeth (Job 19:20)
  • A drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15)
  • Gird your loins (Jeremiah 1:17)
  • An eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24)
  • A broken heart (Psalms 34:18)
  • My Cup Runneth Over (Psalms 23:5)
  • As white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)
  • At their wits' end (Psalms 107:27)
  • Beat swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4)
  • Can a leopard change its spots? (Jeremiah 13:23)
  • To the ends of the earth (Job 37:3)
  • To everything a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  • Bite the dust (Psalms 72:9)
  • Fly in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
  • Rise and shine (Isaiah 60:1)
  • As old as the hills (Job 15:7)
  • Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:9-10)
  • The apple of my eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)
  • Woe is me (Job 10:15)
  • Everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:3)
  • How the mighty have fallen! (2 Samuel 1:27)
  • Pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)
  • Soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31)
  • A fool said in his heart (Psalms 14:1)
  • My cup runneth over (Psalms 23:5)

New Testament

  • Turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29)
  • Eat drink and be merry (Luke 12:19)
  • A cross to bear (Luke 14:27)
  • Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
  • In the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52)
  • It's better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)
  • The powers that be (Romans 13:11)
  • Charity begins at home (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10)
  • Fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12)
  • A labor of love (Thessalonians 1:2)
  • Separate the wheat from the chaff (Luke 3:17 (Phillips))
  • The truth will set you free (John 8:32)

Slightly altered quotes that originate from the Bible

  • No rest for the wicked (There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked. - Isaiah 48:22)
  • Rest in peace (Those that walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death - Isaiah 57:2)
  • The writing is on the wall (And this is the writing that was written - Daniel 5:25)
  • A wolf in sheep's clothing (Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. - Matthew 7:15)
  • Burning the midnight oil (This directly relates to Jesus's parable of the 10 virgins, five that were wise and five that were foolish - Matthew 25:1-13)
  • Go the extra mile (If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles - Matthew 5:41)
  • Practice what you preach (Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? - Romans 2:21)
  • Gone to the dogs (Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. -Revelation 22:15)
  • Good things come to those that wait (The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. - Lamentations 3:25)
  • Sleeping the sleep of the righteous (When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. - Proverbs 3:24)
  • You'll see the light (to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. - Acts 28:18)
  • A Shining city upon a hill (You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. - Matthew 5:14)


The fact that so many well known phrases and sayings can be attributed to Bible verse speaks to the truth found within Christianity. The power of the Word is still found with us, in our daily language, and can be used to describe so much of the world around us - more so than any other text.

See also