Through the ages when farmers cleared wooded areas for making new crops, it was called “new ground,” and when they first plowed the area, it was called breaking new ground. It was first used in this sense in the 1640s according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. This came to mean, figuratively, doing something new and innovative; making new discoveries in any field of endeavor. This same source stated figurative use of “groundbreaking” began in 1884. Idiomatic use of “breaking ground,” however, is clear forty years earlier in an 1844 publication called Draft of an answer to the dissent and protest of certain ministers and elders who have seceded from the Synod of Canada in connexion with the Church of Scotland by the Synod appointed for that purpose.
This saying arose to popularity in the mid-20th century,
and the earliest known printed reference is found in The Saturday Evening Post, 1947, Volume 219, page 137:
“I straighten up. I wink. I do not make
him answer right there in front of God and everybody…”
It was used in the Warner Brothers romantic drama, A Summer Place in 1959 starring Richard
Eagan and Dorothy McGuire, with young Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. “In front of God and everybody this
It became even more widely popularized by jokes and sarcastic
remarks, and the 1986 book, Confessions
of April Grace, In Front of God and Everybody, by K.D. McCrite, brought it to
the forefront of popular culture. The idea behind this is based on the biblical truth that God
is omniscient—He sees everything we do.
We have all heard this
one many times, but a lot of people likely don’t realize where it came from. This cliché actually
came from the words of Moses to the grumbling Israelites in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 8:3:
he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which
thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know
that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of the Lord doth he live.”
meant ‘what is it?’ The saying implies, in a literal sense, that we have
spiritual needs as well as physical ones. It has come to be used as meaning
figuratively that we need a well-rounded diet. As warriors of Christ
we must realize how important his Word is to our spiritual diet and survival. We need to read it continually and hide it in our hearts.
This familiar cliché is biblical in origin. It is found in
two separate New Testament
scriptures. Hebrews 6:10, KJV, 1611,
“For God is not
unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward
his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
The other reference is found in I Thessalonians 1:3. “Remembering without
ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our
Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” (KJV)
It is unknown who penned the Epistle to the Hebrews, but those written to the Thessalonians are identified as being from the Apostle Paul. The similarities in writing style have led many to believe that Hebrews was also St.
Through the ages when farmers cleared wooded areas for making new crops, it was called “new ground,” and when they first plowed the area, it was called breaking new ground. It was first used in this sense in the 1640s according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. This came to mean, figuratively, doing something new and innovative; making new discoveries in any field of endeavor. This same source stated figurative use of “groundbreaking” began in 1884. Idiomatic use of “breaking ground,” however, is clear forty years earlier in an 1844 publication called “Draft of an answer to the dissent and protest of certain ministers and elders who have seceded from the Synod of Canada in connexion with the Church of Scotland, by the Committee appointed by the Synod for that purpose.” It was published by the Kingston Chronicle and Gazette for the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
The word excuse means a pretext of justification. Used came into the English language in the mid-13th century. Several poets have used this as a premise for their
thought-provoking verses. But the actual act of making excuses goes back to
the dawn of human existence. The first biblical example is from the Genesis 3:12
and 13 when Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit, and in turn, Eve
blamed the serpent.
Does it sometimes feel like you are getting “rained on” more
than your share? That bad things keep happening to you and your family? This old adage is from the Bible in Matthew 5:45, KJV. It is used to mean that good and
bad come to all people. “That ye may be the
children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on
the evil and on the good, and sendeth
rain on the just and on the unjust.”
It is easy to see and feel the effects
of what is happening to you.
Back in 1985 Dr. Benjamin Spock, an American pediatrician, the author of the best-selling 1946 book titled Baby and Child Care, advised in a new edition of his book that spanking “taught children that the larger, stronger person has the power to get his way whether or not he is in the right.” He further suggested that the “American tradition of spanking” might contribute to violence in the United States. After that many parents refrained from corporal punishment and the results were that violence increased–just the opposite from what Dr. Spock predicted. Though not a biblical phrase, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is
a rephrasing of the biblical admonition found in Proverbs 13:24:
“He who spareth the
rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes.” (KJV)
As with anything
else in the Bible, this is to be properly understood. A parent who loves his or
her child will not beat the child, but apply punishment sensibly and lovingly. When I was growing up, I was spanked and it taught me that disobedience was not
know that we have all heard this saying, probably all our lives, and know how
true it is. Sometimes His help comes from a source that we would least expect. God
can use anything or anybody to fulfill his purpose and do his will. In the
Bible He used a pagan king, a prostitute, and even a donkey. When
I was a young man I had money provided miraculously more than once.
This is an interesting saying that I have heard practically all my life. Partly because my precious parents were very honest and expected nothing less of me. I heard them both use it about good people when I was growing up back in the 1950s and ‘60s. I have done research on words and phrases for many
years, because I was curious and wanted to know how they got started
The online forum, ‘Phrase Finder’ claims that this
cliché is likely of recent origin and according to James Rogers’ Dictionary of Clichés, 1985 is first
found in print in The Shark was a Boojum (1941).