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It’s no secret that the English language is “chock full” of idioms, short figurative expressions we use to “paint a picture” with our words. But what may surprise you is that some of the most common idioms we use have scriptural roots. This week we share 13 of our favorites. See how many of these references you already knew!

A two-edged sword

Now used in reference to something with both positive and negative consequences, this expression was used in ancient and modern day scriptures referring to God’s word, as in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” (See also Proverbs 5:4; Revelation 2:12; D&C 6:2)

Another one bites the dust

We’re all probably most familiar with this phrase from Queen’s 1980 hit song, but it is actually derived fromPsalms 72:9, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.”

Go the extra mile

We often hear this phrase when people make more of an effort than is expected of them in executing some responsibility, usually in a work setting. It stems from Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” as he discussed how to serve others: Matthew 5:41, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

A leopard can’t change his spots

Meaning that people cannot change their natures, no matter how hard they try, this expression was likely first recorded in Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”

A man (or woman) after my own heart

People commonly use this phrase to refer to a kindred spirit, or someone who shares some belief, attitude, or feature with them. It comes from the Old Testament, where the Lord rejects King Saul and chooses David to replace him as captain over His people: 1 Samuel 13:14, “…the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people…” (See also Acts 13:22)

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