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The Writing on the Wall: Everyday Phrases from the King James Bible

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The King James Bible is a treasure-trove of idioms and clichés that have entered everyone's vocabulary-and yet few are aware of the Bible as their source.

Whether your interest is purely linguistic, theological, or devotional, this book assumes no prior familiarity with the scriptures. By providing the context of each book and phrase it becomes a useful guidebook, bringing the Bible alive. With 40 phrases in the first section and 25 in the second, it can even be used through the days of Lent and Advent.

Taking a phrase from each book and exploring its origins and modern usage, Richard Noble gives a fascinating glimpse into this 'inestimable treasure', the first mainstream English translation and still unequalled in linguistic beauty.

123 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 29, 2014

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Richard Noble

39 books

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Jude.
77 reviews
May 31, 2015
Clichés, expressions, and idioms, they can be the apple of your eye, or a thorn in your flesh – but do you know where these seemingly meaningless phrases originate? If not, this is the perfect book to guide you off to the land of nod.

In The Writing on the Wall: Everyday Phrases from the King James Bible, Richard Noble provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of 65 phrases and expressions, now firmly ingrained in everyday speech, which have their roots in the King James Bible. While it may not be for everyone, this book will whet the appetites of anyone with an interest in language, theology, or Christian history.

For each book of the King James Bible, Noble isolates a single well-known phrase, presenting the reader with a brief explanation of the original context of the words, before tracing their usage throughout history to their relevance in language today. If you are interested in everyday English speech, and intrigued by the origins of phrases such as ‘the blind leading the blind’ or ‘by the skin of one’s teeth’ this book is sure to delight your curiosity.

Those unfamiliar with the King James Bible need not be put off, as Noble’s analysis assumes no familiarity with the scriptures on the part of the reader. This said, the more devote among you are sure to appreciate Noble’s summary of the composition of the Old Testament, the relevance of the silent Intertestamental Period and the fascinating revelations of the New Testament.

Noble has created an ideal bookshelf addition for Christians, non -Christians, historians, linguists, wordsmiths, and those who are simply fascinated by phrases. The Writing on the Wall is the perfect book to expand your understanding of the English language – a truly inestimable treasure.

Originally posted on Jade the Obscure
1 review1 follower
February 5, 2015
For Christians and non -Christians alike, historians and linguists and those who have an inquiring mind: this book is a delight to dip into or to immerse oneself in. For each book of the King James Bible one is treated to a well-known phrase in the english vocabulary, its original context and its relevance through history to the modern world. A book for the curious....where do phrases such as 'the blind leading the blind', 'the writing on the wall' and 'wheels within wheels ' originally come from? In his relaxed and informative style Richard Noble treats you to the answers. Each chapter whets the appetite for the next...... We are also given wonderfully succinct and useful summaries of the composition and chronology of the Old Testament, the relevance of the Intertestamental Period and the amazing story of God's revelation in the New Testament.

1 review
February 26, 2015
What an intriguing book. We can’t recall reading another book quite like it. We found out things that we never knew before. We couldn’t believe how many day to day sayings have their source in the bible. Moreover it is obvious that Richard has thoroughly researched his subject. Initially we wanted to challenge his view of the first account of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9 only to find that the Greek New Testament confirms Richards’s comments, although surprisingly the NIV doesn’t. There are, as one would expect, comments that show Richards style of churchmanship but these cannot be faulted. It’s the type of book that you think you might not read all the way through in one go, but use more as a reference book but actually once you started you just had to keep on looking at what else the book contained. However it is definitely a book that you are likely to refer back to. A fascinating study of commonly used phrases . Rob and Jean Clark.
February 9, 2015
'He was in by the skin of his teeth' said the cricket commentator. Have you ever wondered where such a phrase originated? Richard Noble's engrossing book gives not only the meaning but places it in the context of the particular book of the bible. Over 60 phrases from the King James version of the Bible we frequently use are explored. Valuable for anyone interested in the English language or in the biblical background.
In an recent interesting tv programme about William Tyndale, the translator of the bible into English, Melvin Bragg remarked on the number of phrases which have come into everyday use. Here they are to discover more about them and enjoy!,
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