New Series: 50 Sayings That Feature in the Bible

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
1. OMG. A cry of shock, of pain, of horror, of wonder, of laughter… a throwaway comment, a random plea, an agnostic prayer. And an ancient song writer’s timeless call for help. In hope, in faith, in pain, in despair. ‘O My God, please help, don’t delay, I’m trusting in you.’ Psalm 40 v 17

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
2. The love of money is the root of all evil. Money can do so much good, change so many lives, enable so much to happen. But the love of it, the corrosive yearning, the getting at all costs? There is another saying, God made people to be loved and things to be used. I easily get it the wrong way round. 1 Timothy 6:10

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
3. Jesus wept. Not an exclamation, but a bitter, heartfelt moment. God truly stepping into our shoes. Feeling the pain, the loss, the agony of losing friends and loved ones. Lazarus’s sisters, filled with hurt, and he sits down with them. Not distant, not other-worldly. Knowing tears, hurt, dust, death. He cried too over a broken city, and people’s rejection. John 11 vv 33-37

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
4. An eye for an eye. The Blame Game. Payback time. Yet revenge can be so like drinking poison then waiting for your enemy to die. Steals life, drains energy, saps well-being. The one who hung on a savage cross could have sued the whole of humanity, instead he opened his heart and said, ‘Father forgive them, for they don’t realise what they’re doing.’ Matthew 5 v 38

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
5. An Epiphany. Wise folk make their trek, and continue to do so, encountering the promised king in humble, unexpected guise. And those moments of realisation span the ages. Eyes suddenly opened, minds ignited, hearts leaping, pulses racing, spirits quickening. Seeing, hearing, sensing, as if for the first time. Matthew 2 vv 1-12

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
6. 13 unlucky for some. A table set for 12 disciples and their teacher, friend, guide and hero. A party descending into betrayal, violence, loss and denial. The hero arrested and murdered. Yet was it unlucky? Or was it the most extraordinary plan of all time? The sacrifice that turned back time. Bled life into a dying world. Luke 22 vv 14-20

50 Well Known Phrases That Feature in the Bible
7. The truth shall set you free. The truth about life, people, creation, the world, power, justice, hope and kindness. A single man encapsulating everything. The kind of truth that liberates, that transforms and helps. John 8 v 32, Colossian 1 vv 15-17

50 Sayings from the Good Book
8. The Broken-hearted. The Lord is close to those who hearts are breaking,
he has walked the path of the sorrowful and troubled.
He knows loss and rejection, pain and grief. He understands.
Psalms 34:18, Isaiah 53 vv 4-5

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
9. Cast the First Stone. She hears his voice. ‘Off you go then, whichever one of you has never done anything wrong, you throw the first stone at her.’ She lifts her head, expecting the worst. Sees his smile, and the pile of discarded rocks. ‘I don’t condemn you,’ he says, and he helps her stand.
John 8 vv 1-11

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
10. Knees Knocking. A king who thinks he’s ‘it’. Supreme. Unconquerable. A hand writing on the wall at his party. Suddenly his face turns white, his knees rap together. A literary wake up call. There is someone much more powerful. There is a God and he is not it.
Daniel 5 vv 1- 6

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
11. A Drop in a Bucket. Such a different perspective. A view from a whole other bridge. We can’t help being caught up with the minutiae of the day. He sees the whole of history, every ancient and future speck of dust. The nations, the planets, that brief and vital history of time, like a drop in a bucket to him. Perhaps that man on the cross saw it too, every single thing, as those long 6 hours ebbed away. Isaiah 40 v 15

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
12. Eat, Drink and Be Merry. A cry of anguish, of unfettered frustration. Criminals going unpunished, more than that, getting accolades! Life seeming little more than an endless cavalcade of work, frustration and strain. Questions leak from the writer’s pen. What’s the point? Is there more? Why not just indulge? The writer’s quest goes on…
Ecclesiastes 8 vv 9-16

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
13. For Everything a Season. The Byrds sang their memorable ‘60s refrain but, long before this, a writer wondered about the meaning of it all. Life, death, planting, uprooting, building, tearing down, warring, peace-making, loving, hating. The roundabout goes around, we get on, we get off, but why? What’s it all for? The God-fearing wise man was not afraid to question, to wonder, to search. Ecclesiastes 3
Matthew 7 vv 7-8

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
14. Forbidden Fruit
. They reach up, have to stretch a little, for that tainted prize. It’s a story that plays out day after day. The grass so green on the far side of the fence, the delusions we fall for that it’ll make everything all right. We’re all in the same boat. The banana skins litter the way and we can’t help but step on them. And later, we’re all in the same boat again, one taking us to safety, when a second Adam arrives with the antidote. Yes!
Genesis 3 v 3 & Romans 5 v 15-18

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
15. Fall From Grace. When we try and open the door of grace, pushing it under our own efforts, we waste our drops of sweat. End up collapsed and crumpled under the soul-corroding weight of our own efforts. This is a door which another can open for us. A man of sorrows, a prince of peace, a king of kindness.
Galatians 5 v 4

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
16. Good Samaritan. An unexpected friend, a dark hero. Someone expected to add to our troubles, not solve them. While others keep busy, this rebel takes a breath, and more, comes close to help. Spends money, risks their life, uses precious time to do what they can. Who would have thought it? A friend in enemy’s clothing.
Luke 10 vv 30-37

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
17. Those Who Live By The Sword. In a garden of shame and sacrifice, a guy formerly known as Simon draws his sword to spark revolution. But this is another kind of uprising, and the chief revolutionary calms his friend. ‘Sacrifice is needed, not more violence,’ he says, reaching out to heal the wound. ‘There’s another way to live.’
Matthew 26 v 52

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
18. Let There Be Light. An early version of Alexa, Echo and Homepod. A sentence spoken giving birth to the brightest spark. A light that shines in the darkness. A universe exploding with colour, creativity, inspiration, splendour and fertility. Something from nothing. Boom! And there was light. And the darkness could not overcome it.
Genesis 1 vv 1-5 & John 1 vv 1-4

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
19. Fly In The Ointment. A single fly blights a bottle of perfume. Oh dear! One bad apple and all that. We all make mistakes and blot the old copy book. Trip over our own feet of clay. Or stick them in our mouth. No one is perfect. There is only one way to go off a pedestal… down. All have fallen short… everyone trips and stumbles… but now we have a daily hope, a hand to keep picking us up. Someone who can catch flies and clean up the ointment.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 & Romans 3 v 23

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
20. Rise and Shine. Not merely a morning wake-up, but a regular wake-up call.
There is a light and it’s shining for us, on us, towards us. Wooing, beckoning, nudging us. A working, walking man steps out of the shadows of a Lenten wilderness, inviting us to wake our senses, our inner beings, our hearts, minds, wills and strength.
To re-orientate a little towards life and hope.
Isaiah 60 v 1, Luke 1 v 78-79

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
21. Palm Sunday. The folks are in town for a festival, the streets are heaving. Not long back the Romans came through, swaggering and heavily armed. Now there’s another commotion. Another leader, this one without arrogance or weapons, he’s armed with a smile, and a humble greeting. He pauses to acknowledge folks. No coercion here,
no audience paid to be there. They want to see him.
They want this kind of king. Honest, courageous, kind.
There is cheering, laughter and eyes wide
with hope and wonder.
Mark 11 vv 1-11

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
22. Nothing New Under the Sun. It rises and sets, peaks over the horizon, and sinks back down again. And the inventors and artists and writers and scientists and tailors and chefs and all the other imagineers dream and wonder and spend their hours putting things together, dismantling them, and rebuilding. There are extraordinary moments, wondrous productions, but for the philosopher, there’s a deeper hunger, a restless longing to find something more, the Imagineer behind it all.
Ecclesiastes 1 vv 3-9

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
23. Safe and Sound. Day after day he’s been looking, watching, hoping, waiting. Now, as he watches his son laughing and dancing, smiling and free again, the father’s heart skips a beat. What a relief! The boy is back in the place where he has a hope and future. A chance to flourish once again. Now there’s just the small matter of his curmudgeonly, judgmental brother… far from safe and sound.
Luke 15 v 25-27

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
24. A Stone’s Throw. He leaves his friends in the dark, steps away a few paces, just about a stone’s throw, to find space and pray. An angel appears and helps him look ever deeper into the abyss he is about to cleanse. Prophetic drops of blood splash from his forehead onto the ground. He pours out his heart, his anguish, his honest fears. And once again he sets his course, sailing across sea of pain, towards the one solution for a broken universe. He will do it, not because he is powerful, but because he is human, vulnerable, generous, innocent and kind.
Luke 22 v 41

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
25. Wash Your Hands of the Matter. The Roman governor looks at his hands, they’re clean, and yet… there’s a kind of impression, one that all this scrubbing won’t remove. It lingers, along with the memory of that moment when he looked at the man from Nazareth and handed him over to be killed. He called for the bowl then, ordered water and a towel, and yet… just what was going on that day, he wonders?
Matthew 27 v 24

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
26. Good Friday. Good in the most unexpected sense. Because it looked very bad indeed. Just another Messiah who had failed. Just the Roman Empire winning yet again. Just a few misguided disciples skulking in the shadows. Just the end of hope. Just the light overcoming the darkness. Just blood, death and tears. Just another execution. Except… for the earthquake, and the torn curtain, and the soldiers responsible making a U-turn…
Matthew 27 45-54, Isaiah 53

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
27. Easter Saturday. A day for those who struggle. Peter and his mates lamenting their mistakes in the dark, Judas heading for trouble, Mary and Joanna desperate to do something to help, Thomas wondering what the last three years were about. Where are they heading now? No action, no triumph, nothing to show for all they’ve done. Not even a waiting time, as they can see nothing on the horizon. They hide, they wonder, they question. Like those 400 years between the Old and New Testaments there is silence. And they hover on the brink of uncertainty. Something is happening, but they do not know it…
Matthew 27 vv 55-61, Psalm 6 vv 3-7, Blank page between the OT & NT

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
28. Easter Sunday!
The sun rises.
And the Son rises.
And the stone rolls.
And the world turns.
And the universe is rebooted.
John 20 vv 1-18

28. Easter Sunday!!
He steps out. It’s quiet. Too quiet. Where is everyone?
He warned them he was coming back. No party? No music and dancing? He smiles. There’ll be laughter soon enough. And wonder. And jaws dropping in astonishment. He slips between the bushes as he hears the footsteps. His smile broadens. This will be quite a day. He can hardly wait…
John 20 vv 1-18

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
29. Signs of the Times. The religious experts pitch up armed with their demands. ‘Can’t you see what’s in front of you?’ Jesus asks. ‘You demand your own signs – but there is a sign right here. You can read signs regarding the weather – but not signs of the times.’ The time is now. The son of man has arrived. Will they take notice? Two hurry from the city, a stranger slips alongside. Will they read the signs he offers?
Matthew 16 vv 1-3, Luke 24 vv 13-34

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
30. Pride Comes Before a Fall. Flat on his face he glances back, sees no banana skin, or crack in the pavement. Something else must have upended him, left that bruise on his pride. Ah… pride. Yes. That invisible tripwire. Just when he was doing so well, had achieved so much and patted his own back so repeatedly. Must have patted once too often and knocked himself senseless. Oops. Thank goodness for a way back.
Proverbs 16 v 18 & Romans 7 v 24-25

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
31. Straight and Narrow. The road to life is unique. The gate precious. There for everyone but how many start the journey? Two roads converge, and we are invited to take the one less travelled. Straight, narrow and challenging,
but bristling with life, purpose and hope.
Matthew 7:14

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
32. Man Doesn’t Live by Bread Alone. In the wilderness Jesus sees it all too clearly. People need more than the things they can see and touch. Their hearts are restless, their spiritual pockets empty. Food is vital, physical things good. But nothing hits the spot like the words of his Father. Nothing gives back hope, nothing strengthens and sustains like the promises of God.
Matthew 4 v 4

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
33. Weighed in the Balance. Job, a good man in the depths of trouble steps into the light. “Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know my integrity.” A challenge in this world of half-truth and fake news. The way we walk versus the way we talk. Lord save us from pretence, and help us see ourselves clearly. How we need the gentle, powerful, helpful integrity of Jesus, not pointing out our flaws, but infusing our bumbling lives with his enabling, forgiving presence.
Job 31:6

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
34. Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. Can you pick grapes from stinging nettles?’ Jesus surveys the crowd, narrows his eyes and warns them about those who would claim to be helping them, when they are only in it for themselves. ‘You can tell by the fruit a person bears,’ he says, ‘don’t be fooled by those who merely look good. Good trees bear good fruit.’
Matthew 7 v 15

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
35. Doubting Thomas. A week is a long time at the first Easter. Ten of them, grinning, chuffed, full of stories about seeing a miracle; one of them, feeling like the square peg. The man who speaks his mind. Honest Tom. Needs more than their stories, needs a closer look. Doesn’t realise what’s around the corner. Hands, feet, wounds, worship. And it’ll inspire him so much he’ll be up and off changing the world. With those words ringing in his ears, ‘Blessed are those who believe without seeing…’
John 20 vv 24-29

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
36. Render unto Caesar. They want to trap him, to bring him down. Get him to speak out against the oppressors and be arrested. But he is smarter, wiser. They give him a coin proclaiming that Caesar is God. Should they pay taxes? ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.’ Underneath his reply, another message. Caesar is not God. Jesus smiles. They are shocked, amazed even. Leave thinking.
Luke 20 vv 20-26

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
37. Success is getting up again. We get knocked down. We all do. We fall of the track. Get distracted, side-tracked. Lost in life’s labyrinth. We all limp, we all meander. Seven times, 70 times, 7000 times. But God is at work in our weaknesses and failings. Sometimes more than in our strong moments. ‘Success is getting up one more time than you fall.’
Proverbs 24 v 16, 2 Corinthians 13 v 4, 2 Corinthians 4 v 7

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
38. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down…on your anger. Difficult to say sorry. Sometimes the hardest word, as Elton once sang. We may want to hug it to ourselves, not realising it’s like a venomous snake, bringing danger to our well-being. As the sun draws close to that horizon, we pray for the strength, for the courage and humility once again, to say sorry.
Ephesians 4 v 26

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
39. I Was Only Joking.
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Someone.
Someone who?
Someone who lies to a friend then says, ‘I was only joking.’
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Someone.
Someone who?
Someone who can lead us into the truth about life, the universe and everything.
Proverbs 26 v 19, John 16 v 13

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
40. Let Tomorrow Take Care of Itself. He understands. Looks at the crowd and knows that they worry. About so many things. So many things that might happen. ‘Concentrate on today,’ he urges, ‘tomorrow will run away from you. But God is I Am. The present. He is here in the now. Focus on today and let tomorrow take care of itself.’
Matthew 6 vv 25-34

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
41. Salt of the Earth. He lifts a handful of dust. ‘You are like salt for the world,’ he says, letting the dust fall as he speaks. ‘Sprinkled through life. Preserving the goodness, quietly making a difference. Stopping things from rotting. Spread everywhere. Adding flavour. Just getting on with it. Not necessarily receiving applause or adulation, who praises the salt? Sings songs or composes poetry about it? Yet it’s vital. Brings quality.’
You are vital. Keep going.
Mark 9 v 50, Luke 14 v 34

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
42. Walking on Water. He’s remembered for his sinking, but prior to that he was taking steps, doing while the others just watched. Peter saw Jesus in a storm and followed his invitation. ‘Keep your eyes on me and take one step at a time.’ Only when he looked down did he sink. We all look down, we all sink, but we’re all invited to walk with Jesus. As Peter sank the carpenter’s hand was there, lifting him up. ‘It’s alright. I am here. Don’t be afraid.’
Matthew 14 vv 24-33

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
43. Gird Your Loins. Paul looks at the Roman soldier nearby. Normally the sight would send a chill down his spine. But not today. He’s penning a letter and this warrior has given him an idea. Armour, weaponry. The man is ready for a battle. So is Paul. He makes a mental note. ‘Put on God’s armour for the daily action. Put on the helmet of God’s salvation, lift the shield of faith and trust, carry the sword of God’s word, the shoes for walking the way of peace. And gird your loins with truth. Wear it like a belt.’ Life comes at you and Paul wants to encourage folks to be ready, to keep going, to know they don’t battle on alone.
Ephesians 6 v 14

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
44. Fight the Good Fight. Paul looks back, sees a man running the race of his life, sees sweat, toil, hardship, good humour, hope, lives rescued. Sees a fight. Not with fists or bruises or words dripping with venom. But with the tools of patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, courage and compassion. It’s not been easy, no ‘fight’ is. But he’s battled on, he’s fought the good fought. It’s been worth it.
1 Timothy 6 vv 11-12, 2 Timothy 4 v 7

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
45. Wits’ End. We may feel sometimes like these exiles scattered far and wide, spread thinly across hostile deserts and seas, in hungry lands and dark places. Souls and bodies dry, crying out for home and help. At our wits’ end. And in those difficult dry places we look up and call for help. Holy pleas brought on by the realisation that we are not enough, needing more than our own resources. Calling to the One in heaven who has walked in our shoes.
Psalm 107 v 27

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
46. Red Sky At Night. He sees the sky beyond their heads, the evening writ large in crimson. He nods towards it, knows that they can see the future in nature’s astonishing daubing. But can they see the way ahead in the colours of his life? Can they read the good news writ large in his way of life?
Matthew 16 vv 1-4

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
47. A Scapegoat. A way to dispose of all those mistakes, misdemeanours, wrongs and hurts. A poor animal sent out into the wilderness, carrying our faults away. Now another scapegoat has appeared, risen on a hill, on a dark cross. Risen in a garden on a bright morning. One man the ultimate scapegoat. One place to take our mistakes and failings and hurts.
Leviticus 16 vv 9-10, Isaiah 53 vv 4-6, Psalm 103 v 11-12

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
48. Be Still… In a world turning at 1,000 miles per hour, in a life which sometimes feels faster than that, in a culture of achievement and pace… 8 words beckon to us. Call us to draw aside. To step out of the traffic. Even for a few seconds. In the street, on the beach, at home, in the supermarket, at work, walking, running, chasing our tails. To stop for a moment, side-step the pressure, and focus on the God who is with us, who understands, who can give us purpose and assurance.
Psalm 46 v 10, Psalm 33 v 4

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
49. The Wheat and The Weeds. Easy to just see weeds. Look at the field and worry about the bad stuff. But the wheat is growing too, in the world, in our lives, in the church, in unexpected places. The weeds sell newspapers, the wheat changes life for the better. Even in the smallest of ways. And the Farmer sees and knows and celebrates it.
Matthew 13 vv 24-30 & 31-32

50 Sayings That Feature in the Good Book
50. Beginning and End. The start and finish. The universal dawn and dusk. The whole of history a single picture to the artist who created the canvas. The players take their parts, in proud and humble moments. Some turning to face the maker of galaxies, catching a glimpse in the shadows and reflections of the great and tender architect. ‘Behold,’ he says, his face shining like the sun, ‘I am the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. The awesome creator and the good shepherd.’ In the birth of the day and at its end, in strength and weakness, in the dark and the light, the great and the small, the flourishing and the fading, for the trusting and the doubting, the hopeful, the hurting, the lost and found. Those with buckets of faith, those with a single, tiny drop…
Revelation 21 v 6, Revelation 1 v 8, Ezekiel 34 vv 11-16

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