Do You Know the Meaning of These Famous Biblical Phrases?

By: Becky
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you're an expert in Bible lingo? Take this quiz!

One of the reasons that many people don't know the meaning of biblical phrases is that the people of the Bible had different verbal mannerisms than we do today. All the thees, thous and arts can be confusing. Still, there are distinct meanings to the parables of the Bible, as well as the individual phrases within those parables. Although words are subject to some interpretation, most experts agree at least on the basic meanings.

Part of the problem with the interpretation of biblical phrases is that there have been numerous translations of the Bible over the centuries. Each translation relies heavily on the translator's ability to interpret the meaning of the words being translated, as well as the translator's point of view. But, let's not blame it all on the translator. Some biblical phrases simply do not translate well into every language. It is thought that the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet..." was originally written as "Thou shalt not take..." Now, most people will agree that there is a distinct difference between covet (to wrongfully desire) and take (to... well... take).

If you think you can decipher the true meanings of these biblical phrases, let's get started!

A bird in the hand is worth two in the ____.

The phrase "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," can be found in the Bible in Ecclesiastes IX as "a living dog is better than a dead lion." The point of this phrase is to take the sure thing.

A ____ in the bucket.

The phrase, "a drop in the bucket," can be found in the bible in Isaiah 40:15. This phrase refers to the drop as a small part of a whole.

A fly in the ________.

The phrase "a fly in the ointment," can be found in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 10:1 as "dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor." This phrase means that something small can spoil the whole thing.

A house divided against itself cannot _____.

The phrase "a house divided against itself cannot stand," can be found in the Bible in Matthew 12:25 as a "house divided against itself shall not stand." This phrase means that strength is found in togetherness.

A ______ of love.

The phrase, "a labor of love," can be found in the Bible in both Thessalonians, and Hebrews. The phrase means undertaking work for the benefit of someone you love.

Can a _______ change its spots?

The phrase, "can a leopard change its spots," can be found in the Bible in Jeremiah 13:23. The phrase is meant to indicate that one's innate self cannot be changed.

A man after my own _____.

The phrase, "a man after my own heart," can be found in the Bible in both Samuel and Acts. The phrase refers to a kindred spirit.

A multitude of ____.

The phrase, "a multitude of sins," can be found in the Bible in both James and Peter. This phrase refers to one having numerous bad qualities.

A nest of ______.

The phrase "a nest of vipers," can be found in the Bible in the book of Matthew. A nest of vipers refers to a gathering of bad people.

A _____ in the flesh.

Ouch. The phrase "a thorn in the flesh," can be found in the Bible in 2 Corinthians 12:7. Sometimes said today as "a thorn in my side," this phrase refers to a persistent problem.

A wolf in sheep's ________.

The phrase, "A wolf in sheep's clothing," can be found in the Bible in Matthew 7:15 as "beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." This phrase means that those who mean you harm may pretend to be good.

All things must _____.

The phrase, "All things must pass," can be found in the Bible in Matthew 24:6-8 as "and ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." This phrase means simply that nothing last forever.

All ______ to all men.

The phrase, "all things to all men," can be found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 9:22 as "... "I am made All things to all men, that I might by all means save some." This phrase refers to something that can satisfy the needs of everyone.

Am I my brother's ______.

The phrase, "am I my brother's keeper," can be found in the Bible in Genesis. The phrase is meant literally as the one who takes care of one's brother/sibling.

An eye for an eye, a _____ for a ______.

The phrase, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," can be found in the Bible in the book of Matthew. The phrase refers to the belief that a wrong must be balanced out by equal compensation.

You reap what you ____.

The phrase, "you reap what you sow," can be found in the Bible in Galatians as "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Even in the Bible, they believed in karma.

Ashes to ashes; ____ to ____.

The phrase, "ashes to ashes; dust to dust," can be found in the Bible in Genesis 3:19 as "... for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." This phrase reinforces the belief that we were created from dust and will return to dust after death.

At your wits ___.

The phrase, "at your wits end," can be found in the Bible in Psalms 107:27 as "they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end." This phrase describes someone who does not know what to do.

Beat _______ into ploughshares.

The phrase," beat swords into ploughshares," can be found in the Book of Isaiah. This phrase encourages the listener to stop war and do something peacefully productive.

Bite the ____.

The phrase, "bite the dust," can be found in the Bible in Psalms as "they that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him and his enemies shall lick the dust." This refers to death.

Eat, drink, and be _____.

The phrase, "eat, drink, and be merry," can be found in the book of Ecclesiastes. It literally means to have a good time.

Faith will ____ mountains.

The phrase, "faith will move mountains," can be found in the book of Matthew. This phrase means that faith is powerful.

Fall from _____.

The phrase, "fall from grace," can be found in the Bible in the book of Galatians. This phrase describes being viewed as no longer highly valued.

Fight the good _____.

The phrase, "fight the good fight," can be found in the Book of Timothy. The original phrase was, "fight the good fight of faith," and was said to encourage Christians to spread the word of Christianity.

For every thing there is a ______.

The phrase, "for every thing there is a season," can be found in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1 as "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." This phrase means that everything will come and go in time.

Forbidden _____.

The phrase, "forbidden fruit," can be found in the Bible in Genesis as "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. " Forbidden fruit refers to something that is prohibited.

From strength to ________.

The phrase, "from strength to strength," can be found in the Book of Psalms. This phrase refers to making progress in stages.

How the mighty have ______.

The phrase, "how the mighty have fallen can be found in the Bible as "how are the mighty fallen!" This phrase refers to those who were once powerful.

In the twinkling of an ____.

The phrase, "in the twinkling of an eye," can be found in the Book of Corinthians. This phrase means in an instant.

Lamb to the _________.

The phrase, "lamb to the slaughter," can be found in the Book of Jeremiah. This phrase refers to the innocence of someone who does not realize that something bad is about to happen.

The land of ___.

The phrase, "the land of nod," can be found in the Book of Genesis. This refers to sleep.

Let not the sun go down on your _____.

The phrase, "let not the sun go down on your wrath," can be found in the Book of Ephesians. This means you should not be angry for more than a day.

Living off the ___ of the land.

The phrase, "living off the fat of the land," can be found in the Book of Genesis as "and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land." This means to live well off of what the land has to offer.

The love of _____ is the root of all evil.

The phrase, "the love of money is the root of all evil," can be found in the Bible in the Book of Timothy. This phrase is often misquoted as "money is the root of all evil."

Man cannot live on _____ alone.

The phrase, "man cannot live on bread alone," can be found in the Bible in Deuteronomy, Matthew, and Luke as "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke)." This means that man needs more than food to sustain his spirit.

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