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Biblical Connections to Familiar Phrases and Sayings II

The next time you utter one of your favorite sayings, you probably had no clue at the time that you were also quoted words that appeared hundreds of years ago in the Bible. Interestingly, some of the most well known of phrases in the English language have come from passages in the text of Leviticus and Matthew. In this article, you might be surprised what you will find.  

“a leopard cannot change its spots”

Is it possible for a person or animal to alter the characteristics that contribute to their personality or nature? This is the meaning behind the saying “a leopard cannot change its spots.” In the King James Version of the Bible, Jeremiah 13:23 mentions: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”

“a peace offering”

When you’re ready to call a truce and let the past stand without consequence, making a peace offering is a common saying. In Leviticus 3:6 of the King James Version of the Bible, you will encounter: “And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.”

“a sign of the times”

From songs to poems, “a sign of the times” has become a known way to reference a change. In Matthew 16:3  of the King James Version of the Bible, the saying shows its roots: “And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

“a drop in the bucket”

To refer to a small portion of the whole, one may say that it is “a drop in the bucket.” This saying is found in the King James Version of the Bible in Isaiah 40:15: “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.”

“a wolf in sheep’s clothing”

Someone that seems to hide their evil or unpleasant intentions under the guise that they are trying to be friendly, kind, or helpful is often described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” This popular saying has been used for many centuries, as there have been plenty of people that appear kind, but are not to be trusted. Some believe that Aesop coined the phrase before it appeared in the Bible, but before it reached the English language, it gathered a colorful history. In the King James Version of the Bible, Matthew 7:15 mentions: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”