TXAB: The Christ Almighty Blog

26 April 2017

Do you know your bible quotes?

After centuries of influence, stands to reason some phrases from the scriptures are kinda familiar.

Generally if you’re gonna call yourself biblically literate, you oughta at least know these quotes from the bible. Probably already do; you just didn’t realize they were from the bible.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Or “come short” in the KJV. Comes from Romans 3.23; means nobody measures up to God’s standard of perfection, but God graciously forgives us and grants eternal life. Ro 6.23

All things to all people. Or “all men” (KJV): Paul’s claim he adapted his circumstances so he can find common ground with everyone, and share Christ with them. 1Co 9.22 Y’know, “when in Rome.” Certain Christians are quick to point out Paul didn’t compromise his beliefs or behavior in so doing.

All things work together for good. In context, “to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Ro 8.28 Various Christians pull it out of context and claim everything always turns out for the best. I remind ’em to read Ecclesiastes sometime.

All we like sheep have gone astray. Isaiah’s warning to his people: They turned away from God, like sheep who disregard their shepherd. Is 53.6

Am I my brother’s keeper? Cain’s excuse to God for not knowing where Abel was, Ge 4.9 though in fact he just murdered him. The phrase gets used to claim we’re not responsible for one other. In reality we often are.

Ask and it shall be given you. Jesus’s teaching that the Father wants to give good gifts to his kids. Mt 7.7

Be fruitful and multiply. God’s directives to his animals after creating them. Ge 1.22 Including to the humans. Ge 1.28

Be sure your sin will find you out. Moses’s warning to two tribes who promised they’d fight with the other ten; that if they broke their promise they’d get caught. Nu 32.23 Christians sometimes use this verse to claim every sin eventually gets found out. And many do… but some don’t.

Beat their swords into plowshares. A prophecy about future peace—or not—found in multiple books of the prophets. Is 2.4, Mc 4.3, Jl 3.10

Bless the Lord, o my soul. A line from Psalms 103 and 104. Ps 103.1, 2, 22, 104.1 Christians like to stick it in worship songs. “My soul” is Christianese for “me.”

Blessed are the peacemakers. Comes from one of Jesus’s beatitudes. Mt 5.9 Usually warriors get admired and peacemakers get dismissed as compromisers, but Jesus’s point is in his kingdom it’s the other way round.

Blind leading the blind. Which doesn’t work without tragic consequences. Lk 6.39 Jesus called the Pharisees blind, Mt 23.26, Jn 9.39-41 because they were too dense to recognize his teaching.

By their fruits you will know them. Or “ye shall know them” (KJV). Comes from Jesus’s warning about fake prophets: Identify them by their bad character, for bad plants usually produce bad fruit. Mt 7.15-20

Camel through the eye of a needle. Jesus compared getting the wealthy into heaven with shoving a camel through a needle’s eye. Mt 19.24 Impossible for us (unless of course we grind up the camel really finely) but not God. Mt 19.26

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Jeremiah’s objection that Jerusalem was unlikely to change its sinful behavior. Jr 13.23

Cast the first stone. Jesus’s ruling when Pharisees brought him an adulterer to judge. Jn 8.7 Under the Law, judgment required two uncompromised witnesses, and custom was they threw the first stones at her. But they weren’t there, so it was an invalid trial. Christians commonly misinterpret this story to mean “Who are we to judge?” or that Jesus doesn’t judge people by the Law anymore.

Cast your bread upon the waters. An expression from Ecclesiastes about generosity; Ec 11.1 since we don’t know the future, it makes no sense to be stingy. Ec 11.2

Children, obey your parents. Paul’s instructions, Ep 6.1, Cl 3.20 as part of how Christian families ought to behave. It’s based on the fact rebellious children could, under the Law, be executed. Dt 21.18-21

Come to me, all you that labor. Or “all who are weary.” Jesus offers rest and peace of mind to the physically and spiritually burdened. Mt 11.28

Consider the lilies of the field. Part of Jesus’s instructions that we not worry about food or clothing; God provides. Lilies don’t fret about clothes, yet look good. Mt 6.28-34

Cup of cold water. Jesus’s point that small acts of generosity—like giving cold water to a thirsty child—get rewarded too. Mt 10.42

Cup runneth over. Part of Psalm 23, about the LORD our shepherd. Ps 23.5 Since sheep don’t use cups, it’s likely about overflowing blessings.

Deep calls unto deep. Properly, “waters call waters”—the psalmist’s description of the echoes of noise produced by a waterfall. Ps 42.7 Christians quote it ’cause it sounds profound.

Do this in remembrance of me. Jesus’s instruction when, at the last supper, he handed out bread and wine to his students. 1Co 11.23-26 Christians repeat this in our ritual of Eucharist, or holy communion.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The “golden rule,” based on Jesus’s instructions to do as you’d be done by. Mt 7.12

Dust to dust. Based on God’s statement to Adam and Eve in judgment, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Ge 3.19 KJV Humans were made from the ground; we turn back into much the same stuff when we rot. Hence it’s often said at funerals, along with “earth to earth, ashes to ashes,” which kinda mean the same thing. Yeah, it’s a downer, but we also believe in resurrection.

Every one of us will give an account of himself to God. Paul’s instructions against judging one another, for each of us answer to God. Ro 14.12 Of course, Christians misquote this to talk about judgment day.

The earth was without form and void. The state of the world right after God initially created it. Ge 1.2 Means chaotic and empty; God still had to shape it.

Eat, drink, and be merry. The recommendation of Ecclesiastes—to enjoy life while it lasts. Ec 8.15 Jesus quoted it in his parable about a wealthy but ungenerous fool. Lk 12.19

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. The Law’s standard of reciprocity. Dt 19.21 The ancients usually went with life for an eye, out of revenge. God mitigated this by mandating no more than an eye. But Jesus’s ideal is forgiveness. Mt 5.38-39

Faith as small as a mustard seed. Which, Jesus says, is enough to move a mountain. Mt 17.20 Mustard seeds are tiny.

Faith, hope, and love. Or “faith, hope, and charity” (KJV). Three things, or “three graces,” which should be found among Christians; love’s the best of them. 1Co 13.13

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Jesus’s prayer about the soldiers who were crucifying him. Lk 23.34

Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. A statement in both Psalms and Proverbs; Ps 111.6, Pr 9.10 in both cases “fear” means respect, ’cause we’re not gonna grow wise unless we take God seriously.

Fearfully and wonderfully made. Properly, “solemnly, miraculously made.” The psalmist’s description of how God created him within his mother. Pr 139.14

The first shall be last. In Jesus’s kingdom, priority is given to those who serve others, not those who get served; Mk 9.35 to the needy, not the wealthy; Mt 19.30, Mk 10.31 to latecomers Mt 20.16 and gentiles. Lk 13.30

Fishers of men. After Jesus invited fishermen to follow him and be his students, he told them they’d now be catching people. Mt 4.19

For God so loved the world and the rest of John 3.16—a verse many Christians confuse with the gospel, which is about eternal life in God’s kingdom, and not solely eternal life.

For such a time as this. When Esther, consort of the shah of Persia, balked at talking to the shah about rescuing her people, her cousin reminded her this was probably why she was in the place she was. Es 4.14 It’s a statement about God’s unseen hand in world events.

Forgive us our trespasses. Part of the Lord’s Prayer, as found in the Book of Common Prayer. Mt 6.12 The KJV has “debts,” but “trespasses” in Jesus’s explanation: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Mt 6.14 KJV

Get thee behind me Satan. Jesus’s order to Satan during his desert temptation, Lk 4.8 and to Simon Peter when Peter unwittingly tried to tempt Jesus away from his death. Mt 16.23 It means “know your place.”

Give us this day our daily bread. Part of the Lord’s Prayer; our request for daily provision. Mt 6.11

Glory to God in the highest. In Latin, Gloria in excelsis Deo (and everybody pronounces in excelsis wrong; it’s /in ɛs'kɛl.sis/, and don’t forget /i/ is an “ee” sound). What the angels sang to the shepherds at Jesus’s birth. Lk 214 Properly it’s translated “Glory to the highest God.”

Go and sin no more. What Jesus told the adulterer after her accusers left. Jn 8.11 Christians tend to say this after forgiving someone who’s ritually confessed.

Go into all the world. Part of Mark’s version of Jesus’s “great commission,” in which he sent his students to spread the gospel. Mk 16.15

Go the second mile. Roman soldiers could order any non-Roman to carry their gear for a mile. Jesus taught his followers to go an extra mile; Mt 5.41 go above expectations.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard. A proverb about how the ant behaves wisely, Pr 6.6 gathering food despite “no commander, no overseer or ruler.” Pr 6.7 NIV (Which in fact it has, but the writers of Proverbs never bothered to follow ants back underground.) Basically it’s a rebuke of the lazy.

God is love. Part of John’s description of God, 1Jn 4.7, 16 and a reminder if we lack love we don’t really know him.

Good tidings of great joy. Sometimes “glad tidings,” from a Christmas song which mixes up Gabriel’s statement Lk 1.19 with this one. Comes from when the angels announced Jesus’s birth to the shepherds. Lk 2.10

He who is not with me is against me. Jesus’s statement that if we’re not on his team, we’re not helping. Mt 12.30 But contrast it with “He who is not against us is for us,” Lk 9.50 his reminder to John that people who aren’t in our group aren’t necessarily anti-Jesus.

Heap burning coals on his head. Or “coals of fire” (KJV). In Proverbs, a reminder that when we’re kind to enemies instead of vengeful, it makes ’em nuts. Pr 25.21-22 Which has inspired loads of Christians to become passive-aggressively over-kind, which is a whole different type of evil vengeance.

Hear o Israel: The LORD is our God; the LORD is one. The shemá, the Hebrew declaration of faith in the One God, Dt 6.4 and part of what Jesus considers the greatest command. Mk 12.29-30

The heavens declare the glory of God. A reminder that creation reflects the greatness of its Creator. Ps 19.1

Honor thy father and thy mother. One of the Ten Commandments, instructing us to respect (if not obey) our parents. Ex 20.12, Dt 5.16

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus’s explanation for why the Pharisees’ accusation that he used devilish power was stupid: If he threw out devils with devilish power, the devil was fighting itself, and was therefore desperate and doomed. Mk 3.23-25 More Americans know this phrase from Abraham Lincoln, who liked to quote it in discussing how slavery couldn’t remain legal in only part of the United States.

I stand at the door and knock. Jesus’s offer to have a relationship with Christians who want it. Rv 3.20 Evangelists are awfully fond of quoting it.

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Based on Moses’s statement about God going with the Hebrews, Dt 3.16 the writer of Hebrews rephrased it as God declaring it to his children, He 13.5 who include us.

If I perish, I perish. Esther’s statement when she steeled herself to approach the shah of Persia. Es 4.16

If you love me keep my commands. Or “commandments.” Jesus’s instruction to his students Jn 14.15

In his own image or In the image of God. A description of how God created humans, both male and female. Ge 1.27 Christians debate what Genesis means by that, but generally we figure it means we have free will like God.

In my Father’s house are many mansions. Jesus’s description of the kingdom he’s preparing for us. Jn 14.2 The word monaí properly means “apartment,” which is what “mansion” also meant when the King James Version was translated. Of course, nowaday’s Christians assume they’re getting really big houses… somehow within God’s extra-really-big house.

In the beginning. How Genesis, and therefore the bible, starts. Ge 1.1 John borrowed those words to start his gospel. Jn 1.1

Into your hands I commit my spirit. Or “commend” (KJV). Jesus’s last words before dying, addressed to his Father, according to Luke. Lk 23.46

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another; Pr 27.17 a proverb about accountability.

It is finished. Jesus’s last words before dying, according to John. Jn 19.30

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Something Jesus taught which Paul quoted, Ac 20.35 ’cause the gospels actually don’t include it.

Judge not lest you be judged. Or “that ye be not judged” (KJV). Part of Jesus’s warning against double standards, Mt 7.1 which Christians misinterpret to forbid any kind of judgmental statement.

The just shall live by faith. Paul’s idea that people are made right with God through trusting him, Ro 1.17, Ga 3.11 loosely based on a statement of Habakkuk. Ha 2.4

Kill the fatted calf. A fatted, or fattened steer is the one a rancher intends to eat next, and is feeding well so it’s got some meat (and fat) on its bones. In Jesus’s story of the prodigal son, Lk 15.11-32 the son’s father throws a feast and has his fatted calf slaughtered.

The last shall be first. In Jesus’s kingdom, priority is given to those who serve others, not those who get served; Mk 9.35 to the needy, not the wealthy; Mt 19.30, Mk 10.31 to latecomers Mt 20.16 and gentiles. Lk 13.30

Lay not up treasures on earth. The KJV has “for yourselves” in there; it’s part of Jesus’s teaching about treasures in heaven. Mt 6.19-21

Lead us not into temptation. Part of the Lord’s Prayer; our request for rescue from sin. Mt 6.13

Let my people go. Moses’s order to Egypt’s pharaoh, Ex 5.1 for the LORD wanted the Hebrews freed. Since the pharaoh ignored it, God’s plagues followed.

Let the dead bury their dead. Jesus’s statement to a wavering follower who wanted to bury his father first. Mt 8.21-22 In that culture you buried people the same day they died, so what the student must’ve meant was to wait—possibly years—for his father’s death. Jesus considered it a lame excuse.

Let there be light. God’s first statement in Genesis, and therefore the bible. Ge 1.3 It’s how he created light.

The letter kills but the spirit gives life. Paul’s explanation that following the Law by its wording, not by God’s intent, was doing it wrong. 2Co 3.6

Light of the world. Jesus’s description of himself Jn 8.12 and his followers. Mt 5.14

The lion shall lie down with the lamb. Actually an abbreviation of “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Is 11.6 KJV It’s a prophecy of future peace.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. Jesus’s warning to Simon Peter when he got stabby during Jesus’s arrest. Mt 26.52

The LORD bless you and keep you. Part of Aaron’s benediction. Nu 6.24 Various churches use it to bless people as they leave.

The LORD is my shepherd. The start of Psalm 23, David’s psalm comparing God to a sheepherder.

Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The command Jesus considered the most important. Dt 6.5, Mk 12.29-30

Love your enemies. Something Jesus taught, Mt 5.44 which Christians are regularly fond of reinterpreting so we don’t really have to love enemies.

Love your neighbor as yourself. The command Jesus considered the second-most important. Lv 19.8, Mk 12.31

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD. The start of Psalm 100.

Man shall not live by bread alone. But by every word which comes from God’s mouth; part of Jesus’s answer to Satan during his desert temptation. Mt 4.4, Dt 8.3

Many are called but few are chosen. Jesus’s ending to his parable of the wedding. Mt 22.1-14 God wants everybody in his kingdom, and there are some he particularly wants.

The meek shall inherit the earth. Comes from one of Jesus’s beatitudes. Mt 5.5 Usually the meek gets shoved around, but Jesus’s point is in his kingdom they don’t.

Money is the root of all evil. Really, the love of money; and it’s the root of many kinds of evil, 1Th 6.10 as Paul warned Timothy.

My God my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus’s quote from the psalms Ps 22.1 as he was hanging on the cross. Mt 27.46 In context it was to answer people who were mocking him by also quoting that psalm, Mt 27.43, Ps 22.8 but various Christians wrongly interpret it to mean the Father actually abandoned Jesus at that point: He couldn’t abide our sins upon him.

No man can serve two masters. Namely God and Mammon, referring to money. (Not that Americans don’t try.) Jesus taught we’d wind up choosing one over the other. Mt 6.24

Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit. Zechariah’s prophecy describing how Zerubbabel, Judea’s governor, was gonna achieve his promises: Zc 4.6 Not by his own might or power, but by God’s.

Nothing new under the sun. As Ecclesiastes regularly put it. Ec 1.9

Our Father who art in heaven. The start of the Lord’s Prayer. Mt 6.9

Pearls before swine. Not the comic strip; Jesus’s teaching to not throw pearls to pigs, who not only won’t appreciate it, but come after you. Mt 7.6 Some people just won’t appreciate what we find valuable.

Physician heal thyself. A first-century saying Jesus quoted, Lk 4.23 which likely expressed people’s skepticism about other healers of the day, and definitely expressed his hometown’s skepticism towards him.

A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country. Jesus’s comment about how people think about locals who achieve distinction; himself particularly. Mt 13.57, Mk 6.4, Jn 4.44

The resurrection and the life. Jesus’s description of himself; Jn 11.25 namely how resurrection and eternal life come through him.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. One of the Ten Commandments, instructing us to rest every seven days. Ex 20.8-11, Dt 5.12-15

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. Jesus’s ruling when the Pharisees wanted to know if it violated the Law to pay Roman taxes. Mk 12.17 If Caesar’s on the coins, duh; pay your taxes.

Salt of the earth. What Jesus called his followers, Mt 5.13 provided we flavor the world around us.

Seek and you shall find. Jesus’s teaching that the Father wants to give good gifts to his kids. Mt 7.7

The sheep and the goats. Jesus compared judgment day to a shepherd separating a flock into sheep and goats; the compassionate “sheep” go into his kingdom, and the apathetic “goats” into everlasting fire. Mt 25.31-46

The skin of my teeth. A phrase Job used to describe barely escaping disaster. Jb 19.20

A soft answer turns away wrath. A reminder to be tactful. Pr 15.1

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Jesus’s description of his students when they couldn’t stay awake to pray with him in Gethsemane. Mt 26.41 Much as people want to follow, sometimes we aren’t physically up to it.

A still small voice. How God was described as speaking to Elijah. 1Ki 19.12 Christians incorrectly think he still talks like that.

Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life Mt 7.14 Or “the straight and narrow,” as popular culture puts it.

Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. Jesus’s complaint the Pharisees nitpicked minor details in the Law, yet accepted huge loopholes. Mt 23.24

Suffer the little children to come unto me: It means permit the children to approach Jesus; he was outraged his students prevented people from bringing their kids to him. Mk 10.14-15

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Declaration of the Father when Jesus was baptized, Mt 3.17 and when he was transfigured. Mt 17.5

This is my body which is broken for you. How Jesus described the matzo he handed out during his last supper. 1Co 11.24

This is the day that the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. A popular verse. Ps 118.24

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Simon Peter’s declaration of who Jesus is. Mt 16.16

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. One of the Ten Commandments, forbidding any other god but YHWH, the One God. Ex 20.3, Dt 5.7

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Another of the Ten Commandments; this one forbidding perjury. Ex 20.16, Dt 5.20

Thou shalt not commit adultery. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding cheating on one’s spouse. Ex 20.14, Dt 5.18

Thou shalt not covet. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding wanting what one can’t have. Ex 20.17, Dt 5.21

Thou shalt not kill. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding murder. Ex 20.13, Dt 5.17

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding the manufacture of idols. Ex 20.4-6, Dt 5.8-10

Thou shalt not steal. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding theft. Ex 20.15, Dt 5.19

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. Another of the Ten Commandments, forbidding “swearing to God” yet breaking such oaths. Ex 20.7, Dt 5.11

A threefold cord is not quickly broken. A proverb about teamwork. Ec 4.12

Through a glass darkly. Paul’s description of how we currently view the universe as if looking through a not-so clear mirror (or looking-glass). 1Co 13.12 Later—say, when Christ returns—things’ll be clear.

Thy will be done. Part of the Lord’s Prayer, expressing our conformity to God’s will. Mt 6.10

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. The psalmist’s description of God’s Law. Ps 119.105

A time to be born and a time to die. In Ecclesiastes, part of the description of how various things happen in life. Ec 3.2

To everything there is a season. Often known from the Byrds song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, but how Ecclesiastes begins its description of how various things happen in life. Ec 3.1

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he’s old he won’t depart from it. Pr 22.6 A proverb about training the kids early. Too many Christians treat it as if it’s a biblical promise, but proverbs are conditional: They usually happen this way. We all know exceptions.

Turn the other cheek. Jesus’s instruction to not resist evildoers, Mt 5.39 which of course Christians try to evade.

The two shall be one flesh. A description of marriage, or at least marital relations. Ge 2.24

Unto us a child is born. Part of Isaiah’s prophecy of Messiah. Is 9.6

Valley of the shadow of death. Part of Psalm 23, about the LORD our shepherd. He led the psalmist through this place, and his presence meant the psalmist didn’t fear evil. Ps 23.4

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. How Ecclesiastes begins in the King James Version. Ec 1.2 Basically, everything people consider of value is meaningless. Stop chasing that stuff and you’ll be a lot happier.

Voice of one crying in the wilderness. Properly, “voice of one calling” (NIV). Part of Isaiah’s prophecy of comfort, Is 40.3 which John the baptist claimed applied to him. Jn 1.23

The wages of sin is death. But God’s gift is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro 6.23 Paul’s statement that sin earns death.

The way and the truth and the life. Jesus’s description of himself; namely how nobody gets to God the Father other than through him. Jn 14.5-6 Lest you thought another religion without Jesus in it is just as good.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Or “let no man separate.” Jesus’s ruling about divorce, Mt 19.6 reinforcing the idea God hates divorce.

When I was a child I spoke as a child. Paul’s description of growing up, of maturity, namely in spiritual matters. 1Co 13.11

Where two or three are gathered in my name. Jesus states when Christians agree in his name, he’s there among us. Mt 18.20 Christians incorrectly assume this means Jesus is spiritually present in all our religious activities, like prayer or a church gathering. In context it’s about Jesus endorsing the removal of an unrepentant sinner from his church. Mt 18.15-20

Where you go I go. Or “Whither thou goest, I will go” (KJV). Ruth’s promise to Naomi when they left Moab for Judah. Ru 1.16

Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. Jesus’s warning that it’s easier to go nowhere than somewhere. Mt 7.13

Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus’s description of fake prophets. Mt 7.15

You cannot serve God and Mammon. Jesus’s reminder we’d wind up choosing one master or the other; God or Mammon, referring to money. Mt 6.24