A Quick Bible Study Vol. 190: Common Phrases Rooted in the Bible – Part 5

A Quick Bible Study Vol. 190: Common Phrases Rooted in the Bible – Part 5

Thanks for joining our study. Today, and back by popular demand, is Part 5 of our continuing series “Common Phrases Rooted in the Bible.” If you are new to this series, I recommend you review Parts 12, 3, and 4. Then, you will be amazed at how many biblically-rooted sayings you frequently use, hear, or read.

The phrases selected for this study appear in biblical order.

“Forbidden fruit”

Definition: An object, activity, relationship, or anything you desire but can’t have and are not supposed to do —  which makes it more desirable. The phrase does not appear in the Bible as a direct quote, but in the Garden of Eden, God defines “forbidden fruit” in His warning to Adam:

“And the Lord God commanded the man, “ ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die ’ ” (Genesis 2: 16-17).

“Man does not live on bread alone”

Definition: True from a dietary perspective and often used in that shallow context; however, its true meaning is theological. The Lord told the Israelites that humankind requires the sustenance of God’s Word, equal to needing food. The phrase first appears when Moses was speaking about what God did for them in the desert:

“‘Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord’ ” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

Then, in the New Testament, Jesus quoted this now-common phrase when tempted by the Devil:

“The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘ It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4: 3-4).

Way back in Vol. 34, I wrote about “What Jesus Says about Bread of Life,” and believers know that Jesus IS the Bread of Life. Also, one of my favorite hymns: “I Am The Bread of Life.” 

“A little birdie told me”

Definition: When in conversation, one does not wish to reveal the source of their information. Once again, this common phrase does not appear in the Bible but was described in context:

“Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say” (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

“See eye to eye”

Definition: To agree with another person. Note that the common saying varies slightly from the Bible verse. Also, raise your hand if you think this passage is a Messianic prophecy:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ The voice of your watchmen–they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion” (Isaiah: 52:7-8).

“Fall by the wayside”

Definition: Over time, something stops being popular, outdated, or forgotten due to a lack of interest. This gospel phrase from Matthew and Mark only appears in the King James or New King James translations, yet it remains part of our lexicon. When Jesus was teaching the Parable of the Sower, He said:

“ ‘And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them” (Matthew 13-4). The verse is repeated nearly verbatim in (Mark 4:4).

“Flesh and Blood”

Definition: Refers to a biological family member but is also stated loosely to describe a close relationship. Jesus speaks the phrase in the gospel of Matthew, and St. Paul requotes it in Ephesians:

“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven ‘ ” (Matthew 16:17).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). See last week’s study for more about “our struggle” that is a continuous war.

“Cross to bear”

Definition: A challenging set of circumstances that could be a tragic event or burden that a person or group is enduring or chooses to endure for a greater purpose. The phrase is not a direct quote, but Jesus describes what it means.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me’ ” (Matthew 16:24).

“You of little faith”

Definition: A humorous retort to someone who is pessimistic about a situation. Jesus teaches:

“ ‘ If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!’ ” (Luke 12:28).

I hope you enjoyed Part 5, and let me know if you want to read a forthcoming Part 6. Question for commenters: Do you think that common biblically-based phrases will “fall by the wayside” given the rapid decline in Bible literacy? If so, that would be “a sign of the times.”

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. “Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.   

Myra is also the Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit. Both are educational donorsupported ministries dedicated to building a permanent Shroud of Turin exhibit in Washington, D.C. Visit the life-sized Shroud replica in D.C. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com.

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign's creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign's ad council. Writing credits include, National Review, Washington Examiner, World Net Daily, Breitbart and many others. Contact Myra at MyraAdams01@gmail.com


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