1. "There is method to my madness."
  2. "Love is strong as death."
  3. "In the twinkling of an eye."
  4. "A plague on both your houses."
  5. "Gave up the ghost."
  6. "We turn not older with years, but newer every day."
  7. "The wisdom of Solomon."
  8. "As pure as the driven snow."
  9. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
  10. "O ye of little faith."
  11. "A cloud of witnesses."
  12. "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
  13. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
  14. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
  15. "When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth."
  16. "Seek, and ye shall find."
  17. "Go, and do thou likewise."
  18. "God helps those who help themselves."
  19. "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."
  20. "Train up a fig tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it."
  21. "What goes around, comes around."
  22. "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
  23. "It is easy to despise what you cannot get." (The origin of the idiom "sour grapes.")
  24. "There is no new thing under the sun."
  25. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."


  1. This phrase is actually inspired by the words of the character Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it."
  2. Song of Solomon 8:6
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:52
  4. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
  5. John 19:30
  6. Emily Dickinson
  7. Matthew 12:42
  8. Shakespeare again. His writings are probably second to the KJV in sources for popular English idioms, including "hobnob" and "wear my heart upon my sleeve." This one is a combination of two different quotations: "as white as driven snow," from The Winter's Tale, and "black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow," in Macbeth.
  9. Abraham Lincoln
  10. Luke 12:28
  11. Hebrews 12:1
  12. Mark Twain
  13. Martin Luther King Jr.
  14. Matthew 26:41
  15. George Bernard Shaw
  16. Matthew 7:7
  17. Luke 10:37
  18. Benjamin Franklin, from Poor Richard's Almanack in 1757
  19. Charles Dickens
  20. Charles Dickens
  21. Folk saying, source unknown
  1. Mohandas Gandhi
  2. Aesop's Fables, from the tale "The Fox and the Grapes." Fox cannot reach the grapes he desperately wants and says, "The grapes are sour anyway!" Hence, the moral of the story: "It is easy to despise what you cannot get." This is an example of how a phrase originated with the KJV (cf. Ezekiel 18:2), but the idiom got started later.
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:9
  4. Aesop's Fables

Taken from Verily, Verily: The KJV–400 Years of Influence and Beauty by Jon Sweeney. Copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

Related Elsewhere:

This is a sidebar to this month's cover story on the King James Version.

Previous Christianity Today articles on the King James Version include:

A Translation Fit For A King | In the beginning, the King James Version was an attempt to thwart liberty. In the end, it promoted liberty (October 22, 2001)
The Most Democratic Book in the World | Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were champions of both the Bible and progressive reform. (Christian History magazine)
1611 Publication of the King James Bible | A team of scholars produced an English Bible translation unsurpassed in linguistic beauty and longevity. (Christian History magazine, October 1, 1990)

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