Sunday, January 3, 2010

Internet Daily Chapel For Week Of January 3, 2010 (text version) At Internet Church Of ChristFeaturing "Figures Of Speech In The Bible - part 1"

Internet Daily Chapel For Week Of January 3, 2010 (text version)
At Internet Church Of Christ
Featuring "Figures Of Speech In The Bible - part 1"

HTML version of this page with more links at =>

A Service Of - Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director
To search all our pages, please click =>

Bible Readings For Each Day

New American Bible (with notes and links) -

Daily Light On The Daily Path -

National Presbyterian Church (USA) -

Figures Of Speech In The Bible - part 1
A Statement Of Opinion From One Bible Teacher
With commentary by Rev. Bill McGinnis

Web Page By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Pastor -
Located at =>

A Statement Of Opinion From One Bible Teacher

Chapter XIII..Figurative Language Of The Bible.

Source: The Bible companion: From the last London edition, edited by
Stephen Higginson Tyng, pages 108-111
as digitized by Google here =>

"I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the ministry of the
prophets," Hosea xii. 10.

This declaration of the Lord God Almighty must be practically regarded,
fully to profit by studying the holy Scriptures. To adopt this mode of
instruction was a merciful condescension to human weakness on the part of
God ; especially in the early ages of the world, when symbolical language
originated from the necessary scarcity of words. Figures of speech, as all
allow, were occasioned by the very poverty of language. The advancement of
society in arts, sciences, and refinement, has produced the addition of a
multitude of words. Still in the highest state of improvement, all
languages continue to be more or less figurative.

Probably there are no writings in existence whose style is not in some
degree metaphorical; which, indeed, really constitutes much of its
essential beauty.

The language of the Bible is highly figurative, particularly the Old
Testament; for which, besides its remote antiquity, two particular reasons
have been assigned. First, the eastern nations, possessing warm
imaginations, and living in climates rich and fertile, surrounded by
objects equally grand and beautiful, naturally delighted in a figurative
mode of expression, far beyond that of the more sober taste of Europeans
in less luxuriant regions. The other is, that many of the books of the Old
Testament consist of Hebrew poetry; in the style in which the author is
allowed, by universal consent, the privilege of illustrating his
productions by images and similitudes, drawn from every striking subject
which may be present to his imagination. Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah,
and other sacred poets, ;i In iii Iki with figures; on every occasion
their compositions are adorned with the richest flowers and the most
instructive metaphors, to impress the minds and affect the hearts of their
readers. But their propriety, design, and beauty, can be appreciated fully
only by possessing a tolerable idea of the country in which the inspired
poets flourished, the peculiarities of its inhabitants, and the idioms of
its language.

The style of the New Testament also, especially the discourses of our
Saviour, are remarkably metaphorical; by mistaking which the most
extravagant notions'have been published as divine doctrine ; some
professors of Christianity adopting a literal application of those
expressions which were figuratively intended. A few examples will show the
incorrectness of a literal interpretation of some of the words of our
Lord. Speaking of Herod the king, Christ says, " Go ye, and tell that
fox," Luke xiii. 32. Here, as every reader perceives, the word fox is
transferred from its literal signification that of a beast of prey,
proverbial for its profound cunning, to denote a cruel tyrant, and that
use of the term conveys, as was designed, the idea of consummate

Our Lord said to the Jews, " I am the living bread which came down from
heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever : and the
bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the
world," John vi. 51. The sensual Jews understood his words literally; and
said, " How can this man give us his flesh to eat 1" ver. 52; not
considering that he intended the sacrifice of his life, which he gave as
an atonement for the sins of the world.

In the institution of the Lord's Supper, our Saviour said of the bread, "
This is my body; and of the wine " This is my blood," Matt. xxvi. 26.28.
Upon these words the Roman Catholics, since the twelfth century, have put
a forced construction; and in opposition to other passages of the
Scriptures, as well as every principle of nature and sound reason, they
have attempted to establish their monstrous doctrine of
transubstantiation; or, the conversion of the bread and wine in the Lord's
Supper into the real body and blood of Christ, when the priest pronounces
the words of pretended consecration, though to all the senses it remains
just the same bread and wine unchanged. The evident meaning of our Lord
was, that the bread represented his body, and the wine signified his
blood. This mode of.expression may be seen used in the Old Testament, Gen.
xli. 26, 27. Exod. xii. 11. Dan. vii. 24, and by our Saviour himself in
his parables, Matt. xiii. 38, 39. John x. 7. 9. Also, Christ calls himself
the door, John x. 9 ; a vine, John xv. 1; a shepherd, John x. 11.

The most common and remarkable figures of speech in the Bible are the

I. A Metaphor is a figurative expression, founded on some similitude which
one object bears to another, as, to bridle the tongue, Jas. i. 26. For the
sword to devour flesh, Deut. xxxii. 42. To be born again, John iii. 3.

II. An Allegory is a continued metaphor, as the discourse of our Saviour
concerning eating his flesh, John vi. 35.65.

III. A Parable is the representation of some moral or spiritual doctrine
under an ingenious similitude, as that of the Sower, Matt. xiii. 2.23 ;
the Prodigal Son, Luke xvi. 11.32; and the Ten Virgins, Matt. xxv. 1.13.

IV. A Proverb is a concise, sententious saying, founded on a penetrating
observation of men and manners. Brevity and elegance are essential to a
proverb Prov. x. 15. Luke iv. 23.

V. Metonymy is a figure of speech in which one word is put for another;
as, " They have Moses and the prophets," Luke xvi. 29, meaning'not their
persons, but their writings.

VI. Prosopopteia, or Personification, attributes the actions of persons to
things, as in Ps. Ixxxv. 10, it is said, " Mercy and truth are met
together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."

VII. Synecdoche puts a part for the whole of any thing, or the whole for a
part, as Luke ii. 1. "All the world;" and Acts xxiv. 5. " Throughout the
world," by which is meant the Roman empire, or parts of it. In Acts xxvu.
37, the word "souls" is put for the whole persons.

VIII. Irony is a figure in which a different thing is intended from that
which is spoken. Examples of this kind are not very frequent in the Bible;
yet there area tew. Such is the address of Elijah to the priests of Baal,
1 Kings xviii. 27, and the remark of Job to his friends. Job xii. 2.

IX. Hyperbole is a representation of any thing as being much greater or
smaller than it is in reality. For examples of this figure, see Num. xiii.
33. Deut. i. 28; ix. 1.

Source: The Bible companion: From the last London edition, edited by
Stephen Higginson Tyng, pages 108-111
as digitized by Google here =>

Commentary by Rev. Bill McGinnis

Where do we draw the line between Bible verses which are literally true
(where each word means only its exact definition, such as "He began to
speak,") -- and those which are figuratively true (where some words mean
something other than their exact definitions, such as " righteousness and
peace have kissed each other.") ?

What does a particular Bible verse really mean? This is perhaps the most
difficult and most important question for any Christian to answer, because
it has a huge impact on what we believe. For example: Did God create the
universe in six twenty-four hour days? A literal reading says, "Yes, He
did." Science says, "No, He didn't." Does God actually send the
resurrected bodies of all non-Christian humans to be burned alive in Hell
forever? A literal reading says, "Yes, He does." Our common sense of
justice says, "No, He doesn't."

In the coming days and weeks, I hope to be able to go through the most
important Bible verses to discern what they really mean for us today in
the real world we are in. And I hope to share this process with you, as
the Lord enables me to do.

* * *

May the Lord bless this presentation.

Rev. Bill McGinnis <><

Please also see our related pages . . .


Blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

All of our original content on all of our pages is in the Public Domain.
Webmasters: you may link to our pages by any means you choose, including

HTML version of this page with more links at =>

We are . . .
A service of . . .

"Start Each Day The Positive Way," at Internet Daily Chapel - Christian
daily worship service and practical guide.

* * *

No comments: