18 pieces of common wisdom God wrote first
Most of us use God-inspired concepts and truth every day without even realizing it. Our friends and bosses who don’t believe in Jesus still lean on God’s wisdom for success in the business world and in their personal lives.
If you listen carefully, you’ll find that many of the common sayings we use to navigate hard situations and achieve goals are based on truth from the Bible.
Don’t believe me? Take a look:
18 Sayings God Said First
1. You get out what you put in.
Whether you hear it in the gym, from a parent, or teacher, we say this to encourage extra effort. You can find this same idea throughout the Bible in references to sowing and reaping. In Jesus’ day, farming was more common than it is now, making it a perfect metaphor for teaching the importance of giving your best effort and being wise about where you place your effort.
“Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop” (2 Corinthians 9:6, NLT).
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows … Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up ...” (Galatians 6:7-9).
2. No pain, no gain.
This phrase puts personal trainers at risk of being smacked with a dumbbell. Refusing to face pain will leave you right where you are, but pushing through pain will make you stronger in the long run. Pushing through is also called perseverance, and it’s a theme that runs throughout Scripture.
“...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
3. You will become who you hang out with.
This is every parent’s go-to when their kids’ come home with questionable sidekicks. The influences around us will shape us, which is why we also hear this warning from earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20, NLT).
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
4. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Most kids hear this on repeat, and most adults need to hear this on repeat. The Bible reminds us that our words are powerful, and careless words always do more harm than good.
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23, ESV).
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1, NLT).
“‘For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech’” (1 Peter 3:10).
5. Two wrongs don't make a right.
We have all secretly questioned this concept at some point. I spent most of my childhood trying to prove it wrong. (Sorry, Mom!) But the truth is revenge belongs to the Lord. So when we respond to evil with more evil we create twice the harm. Evil + evil = double evil.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well … Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
6. Go the extra mile.
We say this encourage people to do more than what is expected. But this idea of serving people well and doing excellent work was something Jesus taught His followers way before your customer service trainer taught it to you.
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41).
7. Think before you speak.
I need this piece of advice tattooed on my forehead. Our initial thoughts or feelings do not always need to be verbalized. Learning to pause before we speak can stop us from sinning and from sounding like a fool.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19, NLT).
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37, ESV).
“Wise people think before they act; fools don’t — and even brag about their foolishness” (Proverbs 13:16, NLT).
8. There is a time and a place for everything.
Like eating a piece of fruit before it is ripe, good things are only good if experienced at the appropriate time.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
9. Talk is cheap.
It is easier to say you will do something than to actually do it. The Bible teaches us to do what we’re going to say we’re going to do, because integrity honors the Lord.
“Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead” (Ecclesiastes 5:7, NLT).
“It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin” (Ecclesiastes 5:5-6, NLT).
10. It’s like the blind leading the blind.
Ever watch people try to teach something they do not know how to do themselves? It’s painful to sit through. The Bible talks about this same, sad reality and warns us not to turn to someone who is equally incapable of handling a situation for help.
“Then Jesus gave the following illustration: ‘Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch?’” (Luke 6:39, NLT).
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:13-14, KJV).
11. Don't cast your pearls before swine.
No one in their right mind would give their pearls to pigs. Likewise, it is not a great idea to give something of value away to someone who does not understand it’s worth. In the Bible, we see this as a warning against giving what is sacred — like our hearts — to those who won’t handle it with care.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).
12. United we stand, divided we fall.
If a group of people is not united, they are easily destroyed. This has been a popular, patriotic motto since the American Revolution. But it was first used to describe the unity God wants for His people.
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25-26, KJV).
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
13. The writing on the wall
When we see something negative approaching, we’ll often talk about “the writing on the wall.” These are obvious clues that something bad is coming. Often, God gives people the divine insight to see what’s ahead. Daniel, one of several prophets in the Bible entrusted with that gift, saw the literal writing on the wall.
“Suddenly, the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking...That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain” (Daniel 5:5-31 and Daniel 6:1-28).
14. Eat, drink, and be merry.
...says every card and decoration you see at Christmas and Thanksgiving. This invitation to enjoy yourself is an invitation God issues to His children in Scripture as well. Working hard is a good thing, but it’s not the only thing.
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
15. Many hands make light work.
If everyone pitches in to accomplish a task, it gets done faster. That’s true in life and in Scripture.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
16. Pride comes before a fall.
People who think too highly of themselves will eventually encounter a situation that knocks them off of their high horse. We aren’t as high and mighty as we may think we are. Only God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He warns us against thinking we are in His league.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
17. Money can’t buy happiness.
One look at the statistics of lottery winners will verify this one. The high that comes from materialistic gain only lasts so long before we need for something more, something newer, or something different to boost our morale again. The Bible warns us that money can’t make us happy, and teaches that only Jesus can bring joy that lasts.
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?...I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners...” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-13).
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
18. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Thank you, Kelly Clarkson, for burning this phrase into all of our minds. But the idea that going through something hard makes us stronger isn’t just a catchy song lyric. When we’re talking about a life with Jesus, it is true. God has the ability to supernaturally works all things together for our good — even the bad things.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20, ESV)
All truth worth listening to comes from God. His wisdom is constant, unchangeable, and always proves true — even in a world that rejects Him as the source. God always gets the first and the last word.
Want to discover more of what God says in the Bible? Start a study and share what you’re learning along the way. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org