“新旧约圣经”, 14世纪初, 来自英拉丁语 biblia, 古法语 bible (13世纪) “圣经”, 也是一般的任何大书, 来自中世纪和晚期拉丁语 biblia “圣经” (中性复数解释为女性单数), 来自短语 biblia sacra “圣书”, 是希腊语 ta biblia to hagia “圣书” 的翻译. 拉丁语来自希腊语的 biblion “纸, 卷轴”, 也是普通的“一本书作为较大作品的分部” 的意思, 见 biblio-.
早在约223年, 基督教的经书在希腊文中就被称为 Ta Biblia. Bible 取代了古英语 biblioðece (见 bibliothec), 成为“经书” 的普通词. 形象意义上的“任何权威的书” 是从1804年开始的. Bible-thumper “严格的基督徒” 是从1870年开始的. Bible belt 指当时由原教旨主义基督徒统治的美国南方的大片地区, 出自1926年; 可能是H. L. 门肯创造的.
Her first husband was a missionary to China, and died miserably out there, leaving her with a small baby and no funds. Her second seems to have left her nearly as quickly, though under his own steam: her souvenir was another infant. For years she toured the Bible Belt in a Ford, haranguing the morons nightly under canvas. [H. L. Mencken, review of Aimee Semple McPherson's “In the Service of the King: The Story of My Life,” The American Mercury, April 1928]
Walter Scott and Pope's Homer were reading of my own election, but my mother forced me, by steady daily toil, to learn long chapters of the Bible by heart; as well as to read it every syllable through, aloud, hard names and all, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, about once a year; and to that discipline — patient, accurate, and resolute — I owe, not only a knowledge of the book, which I find occasionally serviceable, but much of my general power of taking pains, and the best part of my taste in literature. .. . [O]nce knowing the 32nd of Deuteronomy, the 119th Psalm, the 15th of 1st Corinthians, the Sermon on the Mount, and most of the Apocalypse, every syllable by heart, and having always a way of thinking with myself what words meant, it was not possible for me, even in the foolishest times of youth, to write entirely superficial or formal English. .. . [John Ruskin, “Fors Clavigera,” 1871]