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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

Go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41)

bible verse

“if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthews 5:41).


To go the extra mile means to work harder than is necessary.

origin and application

Nowadays we often come across this catchphrase “go the extra mile” in commercial advertisements which carry the promise to serve customers better. This phrase is in fact derived from Jesus’ famous sermon on Mount Beatitudes “if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthews 5:41). In the original verse, it carries a sacrificial sense – that is, to love your enemies and walk an extra mile when they force you to walk one mile.
The notion of sacrifice implied in this phrase is somewhat toned down nowadays when used in the commercial context. To go the extra mile means to work harder than is necessary to serve your clients. Another idiom from the same sermon but which still retains the sacrificial meaning to this day is “turn the other cheek”.


mile    sacrifice    work   

Related Information

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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.