Bible Expressions

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s

Matt. 22:21

21* They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

We give to God….and the IRS.

Salt of the earth

Matt. 5:13

13* ¶ “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

We use this to refer to someone who is a person of integrity.


Lev. 16

On the Day of Atonement a goat was selected by the High Priest and in an elaborate ceremony hands were laid on the goat, there was the confession of sins, the sins were imparted to the goat who was then sacrificed.

We use this expression to refer to an innocent person who suffers for the wrongdoing of someone else.

Soft answer turns away wrath

Prov. 15:1

1* ¶ A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

This is a jewel.  It works every time.  Respond to angry individuals with gentle words.


Jud 12:6* then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.

Used by Jephthah and the men of Gilead at the Jordan River to capture the Ephraimites who had not been killed in battle.  The Ephraimites could not pronounce “sh”, therefore identified themselves as men of Ephraim.

We use this saying derisively when we speak of another group’s catchword or rallying cry.

Spare the rod and spoil the child

Prov. 13:24

24* ¶ He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

Parents who love their children discipline them.

Strain at a gnat

Matt. 23:24

24* “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

This was a reference to straining wine to take out the impurities before it was served.

Some people exercise meticulous care over insignificant matters and ignore important things.

Thirty pieces of silver

This was the amount of money Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

We use this expression to refer to gain at the expense of a friend.

Thorn in the flesh

2 Cor. 12:7

7* Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself!

A continual problem is a “thorn in the flesh.”

Through a glass darkly

1 Cor. 13:12

12* For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

We don’t understand things clearly at the present but we will eventually.

Time to be born and a time to die

Ecc. 3:1-2

1* ¶ There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–

2* A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

There is a right moment for everything

Turn the other cheek

Matt. 5:38

38* ¶ “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’

39* “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

The self-righteous religious leads of Jesus day bound in a legalistic way the Law of Moses.  Jesus gives the proper interpretation.

Valley of the shadow of death

Psalm 23:4

4* Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Used often to speak of the death.

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity


2* “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

Used to refer to someone who is overly concerned with appearance.

Voice of one crying in the wilderness

Isaiah 40:3

3* ¶ A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

Jesus uses this verse to refer to John the Baptist in  Matt. 3:3.  John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy.

When individuals take a stand and feel all alone or unsupported they say they feel like the “voice of one crying in the winderness.”

Walking on water

Matt. 14:22-32

They think he walks on water.

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