“No Bible, no breakfast!” That’s grade-A spiritual discipline right there. But is it truly possible to pray to God before that first cup of coffee? Read on…
It’s always exciting for me when I trace a particular Christianese phrase or slogan back to the Christian who originally coined it. In the case of “no Bible, no breakfast,” the originator of the phrase is the Chinese evangelist Leland Wang (born Wang Zai). He converted to evangelical Christianity in his early 20s, around the year 1921, and he went on to become a zealous missionary to his fellow Chinese countrymen. He has been called the “D.L. Moody of China.”
His personal motto for daily Bible reading was “no Bible, no breakfast,” and he shared that motto with the thousands of people he preached to over his lifetime. And here, about a century later, that pithy phrase is still being used.
The expression no Bible, no breakfast assumes a morning schedule of prayer and Bible study. But if you are someone whose spiritual quiet time happens more easily at night, then there are other phrases you can use, such as no prayer, no pillow, as well as no Bible, no bed.
no Bible, no bed Sometimes abbreviated NBNB. A slogan that stresses the importance of reading the Bible daily; the idea is that one shouldn’t go to bed until one has read from the Bible.
Similar slogans are: *no Bible, no bunk; *no prayer, no pillow.
no Bible, no breakfast Sometimes abbreviated NBNB. A slogan that stresses the importance of reading from the Bible daily; the idea is that one shouldn’t eat breakfast until one has read from the Bible (or, to put it another way: if one doesn’t have time for the Bible, then one certainly doesn’t have time for breakfast).
The slogan is attributed to Leland Wang (1898–1975), a Chinese evangelist (see citations for 1939 and 1951).
Similar slogans that stress the importance of daily Bible reading and prayer are: *no Bible, no bed; *no Bible, no bunk; *no prayer, no pillow; *no read, no feed; *speak to no one until you have spoken to God; *talk to God about men before you talk to men about God.
See also *devotions; *quiet time.
• 1939 The Missionary Rev. vol. 62 587 : Mr. [Leland] Wang … is known as the author of the slogan “No Bible, no breakfast.” 1951 Haskin A Practical Primer on Prayer 000 : Promise yourself, as did Leland Wang, noted and loved Chinese evangelist, “No Bible, no breakfast!” After you have gone without breakfast a couple of times, you will get up in time for both. 1975 Gutzke A Look at the Book 000 : “No Bible no breakfast” is an old motto many earnest Christians have followed regarding the importance of Bible study in a Christian’s daily life. 2000 Rice Prayer: Asking and Receiving 281 : One great missionary had a motto, “No Bible, no breakfast.” If he couldn’t find time to read the Bible and pray, then he would not take time to eat
no Bible, no bunk Syn *no Bible, no bed.
no prayer, no pillow Syn *no Bible, no bed.
no read, no feed Syn *no Bible, no breakfast.