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The Bible has been the most influential text in all of Western culture. It's difficult to understand medieval or early modern or much of modern literature without knowing it...

Prof. Barbara Newman, Northwestern University
from 2006 Bible Literary project


It's not that it's impossible to read some writers without a Biblical background, but that you would miss a whole dimension to their work.

Prof. Steven Goldsmith, University of California at Berkeley
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


I can only say that if a student doesn't know any Bible literature, he or she will simply not understand whole elements of Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth

Prof. Robert Kiely, Harvard University
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


...there is truth in the remark. "without Tyndale[Bible translator], no Shakespeare"...

Prof. David Daniell, University College London
from The Bible in English


You can't really study Western literature intelligently or coherently without starting with the Bible.

Prof. Gerald L. Bruns, University of Notre Dame
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


...a familiar understanding of Christian doctrine in historical perspective thus contributes to a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare's art, but Shakespeare's art

Prof. Roland M. Frye
from Shakespeare and the Christian Doctrine


In English tradition and also for an American tradition begun by Puritan writers, a knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is even more crucial than classical references.

Prof. Ulrich Knoefplmacher, Princeton University
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


There is no book more important for our culture than the Bible, and it is fundametal to the study of English literature and language.

Prof. David Jasper and Prof. Stephen Prickett
from the Bible and literature


The website that helps you learn English more effectively by reading the Bible

The Bible is arguably the most influential text in all of Western culture. English professors from different universities overwhelmingly agree that “an educated person needs to know about the Bible”. The Bible is the source of inspiration for numerous writers, including Shakespeare. It is also a major source of English idioms. If you “go the extra mile” to help your friend, “eat, drink and be merry” during happy hours, you are quoting from the Bible.

This website is your perfect companion for looking up idioms and names originated from the Bible. You can sort it by alphabetical order or by the book in the Bible. It contains a wealth of learning resources for learners and teachers of English. We hope that this website can inspire you with a new way of learning English more effectively, more engagingly and more fun!

What's New


    We are pleased to announce the launch of ACE course online on 3rd Feb 2021 over zoom, from 3:30pm-5p

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  • SELBL Seminar 2010: How to Teach English through the Bible Creatively (10am, 11 September)

    Society for English Learning through Biblical Literature (SELBL www.selbl.org) will hold a seminar

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  • SELBL Fellowship and Prayer Meeting (24 May 7:30-9:30pm)

    Ever thought about preaching in other countries with your professional skills? If you care for missi

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Search idiom or name

A lot of phrases, such as "two-edged sword" and " an eye for an eye", are taken from the English Bible. Learning the stories behind these idioms is fun, and can help boost your vocabulary. Click here to find out now!

What's in a name?

Common names such as Joseph and Rachel have their origins in the Bible. Want to know their stories before picking the right name for yourself? Click here to find out.

  • Publish your work here!

    Want to publish any Bible-inspired writings but don't know where? The Society for English Learning through Biblical Literature welcomes you to share your writings or ideas on teaching English using the Bible.

  • Volunteering

    Want to contribute your talents for a good cause, but don't know where to start? Opportunities are plentiful for those of you with a passion for learning English. Drop us an email at volunteering@selbl.org and we will contact you in time.