Shakespeare, Aesop, or King James?
- "There is method to my madness."
- "Love is strong as death."
- "In the twinkling of an eye."
- "A plague on both your houses."
- "Gave up the ghost."
- "We turn not older with years, but newer every day."
- "The wisdom of Solomon."
- "As pure as the driven snow."
- "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
- "O ye of little faith."
- "A cloud of witnesses."
- "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
- "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
- "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
- "When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth."
- "Seek, and ye shall find."
- "Go, and do thou likewise."
- "God helps those who help themselves."
- "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."
- "Train up a fig tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it."
- "What goes around, comes around."
- "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
- "It is easy to despise what you cannot get." (The origin of the idiom "sour grapes.")
- "There is no new thing under the sun."
- "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."
- This phrase is actually inspired by the words of the character Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it."
- Song of Solomon 8:6
- 1 Corinthians 15:52
- Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
- John 19:30
- Emily Dickinson
- Matthew 12:42
- Shakespeare again. His writings are probably second to the KJV in sources for popular English idioms, including "hobnob" and "wear my heart upon my sleeve." This one is a combination of two different quotations: "as white as driven snow," from The Winter's Tale, and "black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow," in Macbeth.
- Abraham Lincoln
- Luke 12:28
- Hebrews 12:1
- Mark Twain
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Matthew 26:41
- George Bernard Shaw
- Matthew 7:7
- Luke 10:37
- Benjamin Franklin, from Poor Richard's Almanack in 1757
- Charles Dickens
- Charles Dickens
- Folk saying, source unknown
- Mohandas Gandhi
- Aesop's Fables, from the tale "The Fox and the Grapes." Fox cannot reach the grapes he desperately wants and says, "The grapes are sour anyway!" Hence, the moral of the story: "It is easy to despise what you cannot get." This is an example of how a phrase originated with the KJV (cf. Ezekiel 18:2), but the idiom got started later.
- Ecclesiastes 1:9
- Aesop's Fables
Taken from Verily, Verily: The KJV–400 Years of Influence and Beauty by Jon Sweeney. Copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
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This is a sidebar to this month's cover story on the King James Version.
Previous Christianity Today articles on the King James Version include:
A Translation Fit For A King | In the beginning, the King James Version was an attempt to thwart liberty. In the end, it promoted liberty (October 22, 2001)
The Most Democratic Book in the World | Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were champions of both the Bible and progressive reform. (Christian History magazine)
1611 Publication of the King James Bible | A team of scholars produced an English Bible translation unsurpassed in linguistic beauty and longevity. (Christian History magazine, October 1, 1990)