Look Inside: The Writing on the Wall

Added about 2 years ago by Richard Noble

Enjoy a sneak peek inside The Writing on the Wall: Everyday Phrases from the King James Bible by Richard Noble

The frantic nature of the lead up to Christmas can often serve to highlight how busy we are all year round. How often do you find yourself lacking time to read for pleasure or for spiritual development? Perhaps the book you need is The Writing on the Wall.

Each chapter is a quick read being just a page or two. Yet each familiar phrase from the KJV can set the mind running in new directions. Its worldly references can inspire both prayer and meditation. Its pointers to familiar Bible passages can prompt a re-examination. For someone unfamiliar with the Bible its topical perspective can provide a friendly introduction.

The ends of the earth
(Zechariah 9:10)

The writings of Zechariah (520 BCE), both priest and prophet, follow straight on from those of Haggai. The completion of rebuilding the temple recorded in Esra 6:15 was around this time. The contents of the book are rather obscure but they consist of visions and prophesies that point to the coming Messiah, the Roman siege of Jerusalem (12:1-3; 14:1-2) and the end times of the world.

The central message is the proclamation of peace to all the nations and a rule extending from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth (9:10). Prophetic verses of particular interest are: Jerusalem as a centre for all nations to seek and entreat the ‘Lord of hosts’ (8:20-23); a king coming in humility, riding on a donkey1 (9:9); the thirty pieces of silver being paid to a potter2 (11:12-13), and the striking down of God’s own shepherd3 (13:7).

By the skin of one’s teeth
(Job 19:20)

Apart from an introduction and ending in prose, this book is all poetry. It is a vivid account, cast against the background of a heavenly dispute in which Satan taunts God to let him test the faith of Job, a wealthy and god-fearing man whose fortunes seem to result from God’s good favours. Job suffers a series of devastating calamities which strip him of his children, possessions and health. Although he suffers terribly he survives: ‘My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth’. His friends’ attempts to comfort him make matters worse by explaining his woes as God’s punishment for sin. When Job rejects their arguments and then appeals to God, his patience almost exhausted, he is confronted by his own insignificance compared to the vastness of God’s creation. The suffering of innocent and righteous people, the merits of holding enduring faith in adversity and the need to question misfortune are the central issues of this gripping scripture.


Richard Noble became Bursar of Ridley Hall theological college in Cambridge after a career in engineering and business management. Following retirement in 2003, he has enjoyed serving as a prison chaplaincy volunteer and as an authorised Lay Minister in his local parish church of St Mary's Buckden. If you’ve enjoyed this extract you can buy your own copy of The Writing on the Wall here.

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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