King James Bible


  • Intro

    The year 2011 marks 400 years since the publication of the King James or Authorised Version of the Bible. Around 250 phrases from the King James Bible are now part of present-day English, many of which appear in the Gospel of Matthew shown here. Among the expressions still heard are 'Salt of the earth' (chap V, verse 13) and 'An eie for an eie, and a tooth for a tooth' (chap V, verse 38).


    The compilers used the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 as their main source (in its 1602 edition), but also drew on the best of earlier translations including Tyndale’s New Testament (1526). The result was a conservative text that kept some outdated words and phrases. This Authorised Version was used in most English and Scottish churches until the mid-20th century, and so its language achieved greater prestige than previous translations.


    The Holy Bible, 1611.

    Shelfmark: C.35.l.13.(1.).

  • Transcript

    Biblical influence

    Around 60 expressions in present-day English can be traced back to the Gospel of Matthew in the King James Bible – more than in the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John combined. Expressions still used today include:

    • salt of the earth (Matthew 5.13)
    • light ... under a bushel (Matthew 5.15)
    • an eye for an eye (Matthew 5.38)
    • treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.20)
    • sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6.34)
    • pearls before swine (Matthew 7.6)
    • sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7.15)
    • be of good cheer (Matthew 9.2)
    • the lost sheep (Matthew 10.6)
    • a pearl of great price (Matthew 13.46)
    • the blind lead the blind (Matthew 15.14)
    • the signs of the times (Matthew 16.3)
    • a millstone ... about his neck (Matthew 18.6)
    • the last shall be first (Matthew 20.16)
    • den of thieves (Matthew 21.13)
    • out of the mouth of babes (Matthew 21.16)
    • many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22.14)
    • whited sepulchres (Matthew 23.27)
    • thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26.15)
    • the spirit ... is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26.41)

Find out more about the King James Bible Here

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