Modern Expressions in the Ancient Book of Job

Modern Expressions in the Ancient Book of Job

We have many phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions we use, sometimes not knowing where they come from.

  • At the end of the day
  • Over my dead body
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel
  • Lay an egg
  • Behind the eight-ball

Interestingly, several of our modern-day phrases, colloquialisms, expressions can be found in the ancient book of Job.

Catch my breath

When we are struck with trials one right after the other, we say: “I did not have time to catch my breath.” Of course, we do not literally mean we hold our breath. We mean that the trials came upon us incredibly fast.

Job felt the same way. He suffered one trial after another, losing his wealth and family all in the span of a single day (Job 1:13-19). Then he jumped out of the frying pan into the fire (to use another expression), losing his very health (Job 2:7-8). Job laments: “God will not let me catch my breath” (Job 9:18).

By the skin of my teeth

Trials come, and I might say I escaped “by the skin of my teeth.” But the last time I checked, my teeth do not have skin! In saying “By the skin of my teeth,” we mean we escaped the trial by the narrowest of margins.

Job considered this true in his life. After he lost everything but life itself (Job 1:21), Job says that he narrowly escaped his suffering, though it almost killed him. “I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20).

To the ends of the earth

The earth does not have a “end.” But we might convey the idea of a long, long journey, whether that be a journey of suffering, or any kind of journey, with these words: “My battle with cancer took me ‘to the ends of the earth’ to find answers.”

Job understood this phrase. Toward the end of the book, after endless days of searching for answers to his suffering, Job realizes that ultimately only God possesses true wisdom. “For He [God] looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24).

Can you find more phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions in the book of Job? Bend over backwards to find out!

Pastor Dan

We are currently preaching through the book of Job at Grace Community Bible Church. You can find the messages here.