Please bear with…

Although we may no longer be a Christian culture in the UK, there are still remnants of it remaining, not least in the whole area of our language.  Please “bear with me” (“Bear with one another” Galatians 6:2) as I take a tour of a few sayings that have stuck, and unpack some of their original meaning.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover” would seem to be rooted in Jesus’ comparison of the religious moralists of his day to “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead” (Matthew 23:27). Doing so, He pointed to the need for everyone to find forgiveness.

Whether you’re going to or you just want to “Wash my hands of this”, you may not know it was Pontius Pilate who made this expression famous when he was requested to crucify Christ; finding no fault in Jesus’ life “…he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.  “I am innocent of this man’s blood” he said.” (Matthew 27:24.)

Have you ever had a “Damascus road experience”? The original was had by Paul when, “as he neared Damascus on his journey” (Acts 9:3), saw and heard the resurrected Jesus speak to him, turning him from a Christian hunter to a Christian hunted.

The experience lit in Paul an extraordinary missionary zeal, so much so that he went on to write “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22). A few hundred years later that verse undoubtedly led St. Ambrose to encourage St. Augustine for his efforts in Milan, along the lines of; “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

As a result of Pauls and Augustine’s witness many have kept their “fingers crossed” or sought to “touch wood”; both suggested to have been early Christian expressions of confessing a trust in the cross of Christ.

Can anyone think of any others?

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