As a fun pastime, I began researching and recording adages. With the passage of time these incredible sayings that speak a broad truth seem destined to fade into the sunset – never to be heard again. Compelled to share their origins and Biblical applications, here is the first of many.
From the blog’s title, can you guess today’s adage? J
Some say this phrase can be traced back to the Victorians who would insert other reading materials between the pages of a Bible. So, they outwardly appeared holy and devout, but that might have been a far cry from the truth.
Then the adage made an appearance in the Piqua, OH newspaper, Piqua Democrat, in June 1867:
“Don’t judge a book by its cover, see a man by his cloth, as there is often a good deal of solid worth and superior skill underneath a* jacket and yaller pants.” Martin Luther King may have harkened back to this when he said to judge not by skin color but by …“the content of their character.”
In the 1944 edition of African Journal American Speech, the phrase read: “You can’t judge a book by its binding.”
But in the 1946 novel, Murder in the Glass Room, authors Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller penned: “you can never tell a book by its cover.”
And let’s not forget Bo Didley’s 1962 hit, written by Willie Dixon: “You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover.”
The above research cites interesting information, but the Old Testament book of Samuel gives the best, original, and accurate use of this adage.
For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b, NKJV)
God sees beyond the outside. No matter who we are, how much we “paint the barn,” or hide behind book covers, He cuts through it all and discerns our hearts.
No need to put on airs. In fact, the only way we can “dress for success” is to put on Jesus’ righteousness (2 Cor.5:21). When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, God doesn’t look at us any other way than through Jesus—clean, pure, holy.
We’re no longer judged (condemned). We’re covered!
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*According to knowyourphrase.com, the words were small and difficult to read