"the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments," early 14c., from Anglo-Latin biblia, Old French bible (13c.) "the Bible," also any large book generally, from Medieval and Late Latin biblia "the Bible" (neuter plural interpreted as feminine singular), from phrase biblia sacra "holy books," a translation of Greek ta biblia to hagia "the holy books." The Latin word is from the Greek one, biblion "paper, scroll," also the ordinary word for "a book as a division of a larger work;" see biblio-.
The Christian scripture was referred to in Greek as Ta Biblia as early as c. 223. Bible replaced Old English biblioðece (see bibliothec) as the ordinary word for "the Scriptures." Figurative sense of "any authoritative book" is from 1804. Bible-thumper "strict Christian" is from 1870. Bible belt in reference to the swath of the U.S. South then dominated by fundamentalist Christians is from 1926; likely coined by H.L. Mencken.
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]
"lukewarm in religion," 1560s, from Laodicea, ancient city of Phrygia Minor (modern Latakia in Syria) whose early Christians were chastised in the Bible for indifference to their religion (Revelation iii:14-16). The city is said to be named for the 3c B.C.E. Syrian queen Laodice, wife of Antiochus II.
1705, in reference to various popes who took the name Clement (see clement (adj.)). Saint Clement was a 1c. bishop of Rome. Clement VII was the first of the antipopes of Avignon. Especially in reference to the edition of the Vulgate issued due to Pope Clement VIII in 1592, which was the official Latin Bible text of the Catholic Church until late 20c.
or Douay, name of town in northern France, used elliptically in reference to the English translation of the Bible begun there late 16c., sanctioned by Roman Catholic Church. Also called Rhemish or Rheims-Douai translation because it was published in Rheims in 1582. It uses more Latinate words than Tyndale or the KJV. The place name is from the Gaulish personal name Dous + Gallo-Roman -acum.
a name of God in the Bible, c. 1600, from Hebrew, plural (of majesty?) of Eloh "God" (cognate with Allah), a word of unknown etymology, perhaps an augmentation of El "God," also of unknown origin. Generally taken as singular, the use of this word instead of Yahveh is taken by biblical scholars as an important clue to authorship in the Old Testament, hence Elohist (1830; Elohistic is from 1841), title of the supposed writer of passages of the Pentateuch where the word is used.