Words > 14 popular phrases you had no idea were from the King James Bible

14 popular phrases you had no idea were from the King James Bible

There are many famous Bible verses about love, faith, strength, family, and friendship. But who knew it was full of so many popular phrases? Many of the idioms we use every day originated from the King James Bible. Here are 14 terms you probably use all the time along with how they originally appeared in the King James Bible.

1. Bite the dust

They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

Psalms 72:9

2. Wits' end

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.

Psalms 107:27

3. The haves and the have-nots

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Matthew 13:12

4. Baptism of fire

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.

Matthew 2:11

5. Streets paved with gold

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Revelation 21:21

6. Blind leading the blind

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Matthew 15:14

And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?

Luke 6:39

7. Casting pearls before swine

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6

8. Cast the first stone

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

John 8:7

9. Old as the hills

Art thou the first man that was born? Or wast thou made before the hills?

Job 15:7

10. Head on a plate

And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.

Mark 6:18

And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. Matthew 14:8

11. Thief in the night

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:2


12. Sackcloth and ashes

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:21

13. Apple of my eye

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Deuteronomy 32:10

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

Proverbs 7:10

Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.

Lamentations 2:18

14. The skin of my teeth

My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

Job 19:20

The King James Version of the Bible, published in 1611, was translated from Hebrew and Greek by a committee of churchmen led by Lancelot Andrewes, a scholar who knew 15 modern and six ancient languages. The beautiful English of this version has had great influence and is generally ranked in English literature with the work of Shakespeare. However, much of its wording is taken from earlier translations by William Tyndale, a 16th-century scholar who was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.

What are your favorite Bible phrases?

Complete English Grammar Rules is available for purchase as Paperback and Kindle eBook.
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