Idiom of the Day


Next Idiom
About us
Signup: Free English Resources
Sign up

Content Developed by SELBL
(Society for English Learning through Biblical Literature)

A camel to go through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25)
A prophet is not respected in his own country (Matthew 13:54-57)
A still small voice (1 Kings 19:12)
Absent in body, but present in spirit (1 Corinthians 5:3)
Amen (Numbers 5:22)
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:24-25, Matthew 5:38)
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust (Genesis 2:7, 3:19)
Birthright (Genesis 25:33)
Bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1)
Casting pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)
David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:41-51)
Do not judge, or you too will be judged (Matthew 7:1)
Double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)
Doubting Thomas (John 20:24)
Eat, drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15 KJV)
Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8)
Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:8)
Judgment Day (Matthew 10:15, Revelation 20:15)
Light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
Love thy neighbour (Leviticus 19:18)
A happy heart is the best medicine (Proverbs 17:22)
A little bird told me (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1)
All things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Arise as one man (Judges 20:8)
Armageddon (Revelation 16:16)
As white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)
Babel (Genesis 11)
Bind up their wounds (Psalms 147:3)
Blood on one's hands (Isaiah 1:15)
By their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:20)
Carry his cross (Luke 9:23)
Change one's spots (Jeremiah 13:23)
Clear as crystal (Revelation 22:1)
Daily bread (Matthew 6:9-13)
Damascus road experience (Acts 9:18)
Daughter of Eve (Genesis 2:20)
Exodus (Exodus 12:31)
Faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20)
Feet of clay (Daniel 2:33)
Forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16)
Go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41)
Golden Rule (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31)
Grind the faces of the poor into dust (Isaiah 3:14-15)
Heap coals of fire on his head (Proverbs 25:22)
Help mate (Genesis 2:18)
How are the mighty fallen (2 Samuel 1:19)
In the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
In the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Labour of love (1 Thessalonians 1:3 KJV)
Like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7)
Lip service (Isaiah 29:13)
Making bricks without straw (Exodus 5:7-8)
Mammon (Matthew 6:24)
A hair's breadth (Judges 20:16)
Adam’s Apple (Genesis 3:6)
After one's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)
Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)
Apple of one's eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)
At their wit's end (Psalms 107:27)
Behemoth (Job 40:15)
Drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15)
Eat to their heart’s content (Proverbs 13: 25)
Fall by the wayside (Matthew 13:3-8 KJV)
Fall from grace (Genesis 3 / Galatians 5:4)
Fight the good fight (2 Timothy 4:6-7)
First fruits (Numbers 18:13)
Fly in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
Gird your loins (Exodus 12:11)
Go from strength to strength (Psalms 84:7)
Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35)
Hide one's light under a bushel (Matthew 5:15)
Ivory Tower (Song of Songs 7:4)
Labour in vain (Psalms 127:1)
Land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8)
Land of Nod (Genesis 4:16)
Making a spectacle of yourself (1 Corinthians 4:9)
Manna from heaven (Exodus 16:14)
Mark of Cain (Genesis 4:15)
Measure for measure (Matthew 7:2, Shakespeare)
Millstone round one's neck (Mark 9:42)
More blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)
Mote in the eye (Matthew 7:3)
My brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9)
New heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17)
New wine in old bottles (Luke 5:36-37)
No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)
Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:13)
Not live by bread alone (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Olive branch (Genesis 8:11)
Out of the mouths of babes (Psalm 8:1-2
Part the water (Exodus 14:21-22)
Patience of Job (Job 1) (James 5:11)
Press toward the mark / goal (Philippians 3:14)
Pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18-19)
Proclaim it from the rooftop (Matthew 10:27)
Prodigal son (Luke 15:11)
Promised land (Hebrews 11:9)
Puts his hand to the plough and looks back (Luke 9:62)
Rise and shine (Isaiah 60:1)
Root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10)
Ruthless (Ruth)
Sabbath (Exodus 23:6)
Sabbatical year (Leviticus 25:4)
Salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)
Samson (Judges 16)
Scales falling from the eyes (Acts 9:18)
Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:8)
Search one's heart (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Second Coming (Matt 24:30-31)
See eye to eye (Isaiah 52:8)
Separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:32)
Separate the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12)
Shake the dust off one's feet (Matthew 10:14)/ Acts 13:50-51
Signs of the times (Matthew 16:3)
Since Adam / When Adam was a cowboy (Genesis 1)
Son of Adam (Genesis 1:26)
Sour grapes (Jeremiah 31:29-30 and Aesop)
Spare the rod and spoil the child (Proverbs 13:24)
Stolen water is sweet (Proverbs 9:17)
Stumbling block (Leviticus 19:14)
Sweat of your brow (Genesis 3:19)
The Last Supper (Luke 22:7-38)
The blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14)
The deluge (Genesis 7:10)
The eleventh hour (Matthew 20:6)
The four horsemen (Revelation 6:1-8)
The kiss of death (Matthew 26:49)
The lion and the lamb should lie down together (Isaiah 11:6)
The root of the matter (Job 19:28)
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38)
There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Thorn in the side / Thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7)
Throw the first stone (John 8:3)
Tithe (Genesis 14:20)
Troubled waters (Psalms 46:3)
Turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39)
Wages of sin (Romans: 6:23)
Wash one's hands of (Matthew 27:22-24)
Whatsoever a man sows, so shall he reap (Galatians 6:7)
Whited sepulcher (Matthew 23:27)
Wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28)
Wolf in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15)
iota (Matthew 5:18)
one flesh (Genesis 2:23-24)


The website that helps you learn English more effectively by reading the Bible

The Bible is arguably the most influential text in all of Western culture. English professors from different universities overwhelmingly agree that "an educated person needs to know about the Bible". The Bible is the source of inspiration for numerous writers, including Shakespeare. It is also a major source of English idioms. If you "go the extra mile" to help your friend, "eat, drink and be merry" during happy hours, you are quoting from the Bible.

Find out more from SELBL

Register as new member

Note: * Must Fill
Tell us about yourself
* My Name
* I live in
Do you go to church?
* I work in
Would you like to conduct English corners in your workplace or at school?
Would you like to publish details on your English corners by on this website?
Name of organization
Contact person
Telephone no. / Fax no.
Email / Website
Select an ID and password

* User ID

* Email
* Password

Use 6 to 32 characters, no spaces, and don"t use your name or ID.

* Re-type Password
Would you like to receive our latest updates by electronic means?
I have read and agree to the SELBL Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and agree to receive communications through email
Cancel Create my Account

What the professors say?

Professors and scholars from various disciplines do not just read the Bible, they recommend us to read and use it in schools if you are English teachers.

Let's see what they say


A brief timeline of English Bible

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
4th Century During the 4th century, St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin- the Vulgate, meaning "common" or "of all people".
10th Century In the 10th century, some accounts from the New Testament were translated into English.
14th Century In the 14th century, John Wycliffe, professor of theology and philosophy at the University of Oxford, translated the whole Bible into English from Latin.
1525-1534 William Tyndale (1494-1546) became the first to translate the Bible into English from the original languages.
1611 When King James came to power in 1603, he authorized a revision of earlier versions due to their stylistic and doctrinal inconsistencies. This is the King James Version. (KJV) or Authorized Version of 1611.
19th century to the present Modifications to the King James Versions include Revised Version (1885), Revised Standard Version (1952), the New Revised Standard Version (1989), and the English Standard Version (2001).
Today popular English Bible versions include the Living Translation (1971) that translates into contemporary English based on American Standard Version of 1901; the Good News Bible (1976), a modern-day readable translation produced by American Bible Society; and most popular of them all, the New International Version (1978), a translation that goes between the more literal translation of King James Bible and the more informal Good News Bible.

Bible and it's influences

The Bible was a source of inspiration for many great writers, most notably William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He used over 1,300 documented biblical references in his plays written from 1589-1613. Studies on the biblical references of Shakespearean plays began as early as 1794.

Views are diverging regarding Shakespeare's personal faith and theological viewpoints. Some tend to "theologize" Shakespearean plays, hence restricting his plays to a narrow Christian dimension, there are others scholars who treated his plays as mostly secular, and the biblical references merely reflect the discourse at the time.

There is no proof as to Shakespeare's religious orientation. All that we know is that he was baptized and a conforming member of Church of England. He drew inspiration from Geneva Bible. As Geneva Bible was not read in church, his biblical knowledge was assumed to have come from private reading.

Despite the divergent views on his faith, one thing is indisputable - the knowledge of the Bible can help us understand Shakespeare better.

Roland M. Frye, trained in theology and literature and having graduated from Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, admitted in his book Shakespeare and Christian Doctrine (1963) that "a familiar understanding of Christian doctrine in historical perspective thus contributes to a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare's art, but Shakespeare's art is not devoted to theologizing the theatre."

Christian elements are richly embedded in certain Shakespearean works, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice, among others. An understanding of the Bible will help you appreciate the underlying meanings in Shakespearean plays better. (The following needs not to be translated)

Let's take a look at some biblical references in Shakespearean plays:

On Creation

On Abel and Cain

On Job

Some verses in Shakespeare are directly taken from the Bible. Let's look at these parallels:


How can Bible-reading help improve your English?

You may ask, amongst so many different books and teaching materials available in the market, why do we choose the Bible?

The Bible is a rich source of rhetorical devices. The Old Testament of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, a language rich with the use of parallelisms, metaphors, alliterations etc. When it was translated into present day English, these rhetorical devices were preserved. Some of the best known examples are:

Pride goes before destruction,
A haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
But a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22)

Stolen water is sweet;
Food eaten in secret is delicious! (Proverbs 9:17)

Lazy hands make a man poor,
But diligent hands bring wealth. (Proverbs 10:4)

The Bible contains a wealth of idioms. Do you know that everyday phrases such as "go the extra mile" and "pride comes before a fall" all come from the Bible? And behind each of these idioms is a story or a parable. You can memorize the idioms better after reading the Bible. This is because you learn not just the literal meaning of the phrase, but the stories behind these everyday idioms. Simply said, the Bible is a useful phrasebook that you can carry along.

The Bible is a rich source of inspiration for famous writers. Are you aware that William Shakespeare based his plays on the stories of the Bible? He wrote the plays at the time when the English Bible populated the country. If you are not convinced, look at the similarities between these verses taken from Shakespearean plays and the Bible:

Well-known authors that had been inspired by the Bible are far too numerous to count. Some of the examples are John Bunyun, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Ernest Hemmingway etc...

Reading the Bible makes you a better movie critic. If classics such as Shakespearean plays are not your cup of tea, what about Matrix? Narnia? A lot of biblical images are used in popular Hollywood films. If you haven't read the Bible, you probably can't read the biblical meaning from characters such as Morpheus. Even the name of the leading actress, Trinity, is derived from the Bible. What's more, a lot of film titles are directly taken from terms originated in the Bible too. Examples are : Apocalypse (in the Book of Revelation), Babel (in the Book of Genesis) etc...

Perhaps best of all, the Bible is free! With online Bibles freely available on the Internet, you can find a number of versions in English - KJV, NIV, NRSV, BBE, GNB etc...

If you want more classroom interaction instead of studying the English Bible by yourself, why not join English Bible classes in church that are usually free of charge?