(For congregational participation): I want to start with you a little quiz; a warm up exercise – a bit like Catchphrase on the TV – to get the grey-matter working: Complete the following sayings for me:

  1. Nothing but skin and… bones (Job 19:19-20)
  2. I escaped by the skin of my… teeth (Job 19:20)
  3. There’s a time and a place for… everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  4. Going the extra… mile (Matthew 5:41)
  5. United we stand, “divided we… fall” (Matthew 12:25)
  6. Red sky at… night (Matthew 16:2-3)
  7. In the twinkling… of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52)
  8. A man after my own… heart (1 Samuel 13:14)
  9. A little bird… told me (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
  10. A leopard cannot change its… spots (Jeremiah 13:23)
  11. How the mighty have… fallen (2 Samuel 1:25)
  12. Pride comes… before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)
  13. By the sweat of your… brow (Genesis 3:19)
  14. Out of the mouths of… babes (Psalm 8:2)
  15. Eat drink and be… merry (Luke 12:19)
  16. The blind leading… the blind (Matthew 15:14)
  17. Along the straight… and narrow (Matthew 7:14)
  18. Tearing your hair… out (Ezra 9:3)
  19. At my wit’s… end (Psalm 107:27)
  20. The writing is on… the wall (Daniel 5:5-6)

Who can tell me what all of these everyday sayings have in common? (They all come from the Bible.) It may surprise you, but we all know a lot more of the Bible than we might think we do. Many of us, today, don’t realize that the Bible (the KJV in particular) has been enormously influential in the development of our own English language.

R. Ian Seymour

Great Minds Think Alike: For a bit of fun, try this little exercise and see if it’s true, that great minds think alike.

  1. Pick a number between 1 and 10 and stick with it.
  2. Multiply that number by 9. (This will test your multiplication skills!)
  3. Next, subtract 5 from your answer.
  4. Is the number you now have a single-digit number (e.g. 1, 2 or 3) or a double-digit number (e.g. 11, 22 or 33)? If it’s a single-digit number, stick with it and move on to step 5 below. On the other hand, if your answer is a double digit number, add the two digits together. (For example, if your answer was 14, add the 1 and the 4 together to get 5.) Now, is your answer a single or double-digit number? Repeat this process of adding the two digits together until your answer becomes a single-digit number.
  5. Next, using the number you now have, find the corresponding letter of the alphabet, where A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on.
  6. Now, think of a country beginning with that letter.
  7. Then, take the second letter of that country and think of an animal beginning with that letter.
  8. Finally, think of the colour of that animal.

(Were you thinking of a grey elephant in Denmark? Clever clogs!)

For a bit of fun, see if you can work this one out: There are two parrots were sat on a perch: one sniffed the air and said, “Can you smell fish?”

(A perch is also the name of a fish.)

For a little fun try this challenge and see if you can crack the code, without looking at the answer.

(Translation: Too wise you are. Too wise you be. I know you are. Too wise for me.)