Have you ever ‘made a peace offering’, ‘seen the writing on the wall’ or ‘given up the ghost’? Perhaps you’ve been ‘made a scapegoat’ or got through a challenging task ‘by the skin of your teeth’? All of these predicaments could arguably be made more bearable with support from ‘the apple of one’s eye’ – and all of them, would you believe, are described by everyday phrases from the Bible. In his intriguing book, The Writing on the Wall, Richard Noble highlights 65 everyday phrases which have come from books in the Bible with a punchy, conversational introduction to the book in question, and then a more detailed analysis of the phrase. Thus ‘the writing on the wall’, which mysteriously appears in Daniel, predicts the end of the line for Belshazzar. The ‘scapegoat’ in Leviticus is literally a goat which must atone for the less than holy sons of Aaron. And ‘the apple of one’s eye’ in Deuteronomy is just that – a figurative description of the pupil of the eye (‘the apple’), belonging to a person we cherish above all others. Richard Noble’s fascinating journey takes us from the ‘Land of Nod’, where Cain was banished to wander (perhaps more soporifically) in Genesis to the ‘patience of a saint’, which is tried repeatedly in the Revelation of St John the Divine. If you want a bit more cohesive narrative for your Bible studies, then this is the place to get it. The alternative, perish the thought, is to ‘give up the ghost’ as in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, or to reach the point of being ‘at one’s wits’ end’, as happened to the seafarers in the Book of Psalms. Richard Noble has identified a total of 550 well-known sayings from the King James Bible, which are introduced by him and listed on the kjvsayings.com website. A surprising feast! NC Richard Noble is guest speaker at the Friends AGM on 29 March at 6.00 p.m.