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Figures Of Speech In scriptures

The need to be able to give a defence for our faith in the face of lies and half truths put about by Atheists and Agnostics should i believe be blatantly obvious, time and again ignorant people say that the Bible states that the earth is flat which is a complete lie if anyone reads the scripture at Isaiah 40:22 the matter is settled.This small example by Bob Pulliam is an insight into Biblical interpretation and the need to keep the enemy at bay when lies are used to supposedly discredit the Bible. Figures of Speech in scriptures (by Bob Pulliam) Many people never really think about the fact that there are figures of speech in the Bible. In fact, few of us really think about them in our everyday use of language. They actually fill our speech every day, and we should not be surprised to find a profusion of them in the Bible. Here are some of the more common examples in scripture: The Simile... In Matthew 3:16 we read, "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove". The words like a tell us that the Spirit was not a dove, but similar to a dove. This is a simile. It likens one thing to another. It is also seen in Matthew 23:27, where Jesus likened the Scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed sepulchers. Metaphor... The metaphor is a very simple figure of speech to recognize. But when it is not recognized properly it causes doctrinal error. The metaphor represents one thing as something else. It differs from a simile in that the simile only makes them similar. The metaphor speaks of them as being the same. For example, Jesus told the Pharisees to "Go and tell that fox..." (Lk 13:31f). The one intended by Jesus was Herod, a human being. But He spoke of Herod as if he were actually a fox. Jesus told the disciples, "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Mt 5:13). Not like salt... He said they were the salt... Jesus also said, "I am the door of the sheep" (Jn 10:7). Jesus was not a literal door. But He made a powerful point about Him being the point of access for the sheep. A doctrinal error arises by ignoring this figure of speech in Matthew 26:26-28. There we read: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, `Take, eat; this is My body.' Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, `Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.'" Now some would take this to mean that the bread and cup were the literal flesh and blood of Jesus. But why ignore the natural metaphor here? Especially when that concept of Jesus' words are not understood and taught later in the epistles. Quite the contrary. Paul restated the words of Jesus by inspiration and pointed out the purpose for these emblems (I Cor 11:24f). It was not to literally ingest the body and blood of Jesus. It was a memorial. "This do in remembrance of Me." Can we miss the purpose of the emblems in that statement? It is important to recognize metaphors in scripture. Metonymy... This is the use of one name or object for another. We use it today, although most of us never think of the technical term for it. Someone might say, "I read Shakespear last night." Did the man come back to life and have readable text on his body? We understand that what is meant is the works of Shakespeare. Jewish speakers and writers did the same thing with Moses and the prophets. In Luke 16 Abraham spoke of hearing Moses and the prophets. The had been dead for many years. Did he not mean to say, hear the writings of Moses and the prophets. James spoke of preaching and reading Moses in Acts 15:21. Paul said that "Moses is read" (II Cor 3:15). Also in II Cor 3:15 we find Paul using the word Spirit in place of the new covenant that was given by the Spirit. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus used the word sword in place of the violence that is caused by the sword. Synecdoche... There's a mouthful. The synecdoche (sin-neck-doe-key) puts in place of a whole only a part, or puts the whole for a part. It would be like having a list that you are referring to frequently in speaking to someone, and only using the first (or most important) item in the list to keep from repeating the whole. Luke tells about Philip teaching the Ethiopian in Acts 8. We are told that Philip "preached Jesus to him." (v35) Did he only tell him about Jesus and nothing else? We know that he told him more, because as they traveled down the road, the Ethiopian said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (v36) Preaching Jesus included teaching on baptism. But it only says that he preached Jesus. Paul told the Romans that he served God in his spirit (Rom 1:9). Did he only serve God with his spirit, or with his body also? Many times people in the Bible are told to believe on Jesus to be saved. Is that all they need to do? I know of no one who teaches it so. At the very least, you'll hear preachers tell people to pray a prayer of faith. Of course, they don't have the picture straight on how a person is saved as revealed in the New Testament. Nowhere after Jesus' death do we find an alien sinner being saved by simply praying to the Lord. Hyperbole... That's a fancy word for "exaggeration to make a point". Oriental cultures used this figure much more often than we do. The Israelites spoke of themselves as being like grasshoppers before the sons of Anak (Num 13:33). When we find that their height was only on the order of ten feet tall, we know that this was only an exaggeration to make their point (their fear was their point). People want to take John's words quite literally when he wrote, "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen." (Jn 21:25) Even if Jesus had stayed busy 24 hours a day for three years, and every act was written out, they would not literally fill the world. John is using an hyperbole to make a point. His point is that Jesus did an awful lot more that he had recorded in his gospel. Conclusion... Many other figures of speech can be found in scripture. The fable, parable, proverb, personification, sarcasm, etc... It is important to realize that figures of speech do exist in the Bible, and that if they are missed, we can misconstrue an author's words.
churinga churinga 70+, M 4 Responses Oct 1, 2011

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As used by Jesus Christ, the # 1 figure of speech in the sc<x>riptures will rock Christianity to its foundations and also silence the Atheists and Agnostics for good. Referring to the significance of the "last day" of his death on the cross, Jesus said:<br />
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"I have used figures of speech to tell you these things. But the time will come when I will not use figures of speech, but will speak to you plainly about the FATHER. When that day comes, you will ask him in my name, and I do not say that I will ask him on your behalf" (John 16: 25-26 caps. for emphasis).<br />
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We can now see why Jesus earlier said to the Jewish authorities, "You will die in your sins if you do not believe that 'I Am Who I Am' ... what I have told you from the very beginning". The writer of the 4th Gospel adds, "They did not understand that Jesus was talking to them about the FATHER, so he said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that 'I Am Who I Am' ..." (Ibid, 8: 24-28 caps. for emphasis). <br />
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In other words, the Father is an altruistic language used by Jesus Christ for his own divine identity as known by all the prophets. There is no one up there but Jesus!

Thanks! I just wanted to add a little support in your post and effort. 1 Cor 2:13-14 seems very appropriate here:<br />
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"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.<br />
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The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."<br />
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Re Ezekiel33<br />
Good to see you back, this small piece was promted by the blatant lies and misrepresentations from unbelievers that put forth nonesense to supposedly bolster the criticism of the Bible which i believe is a deliberate ploy, wisdom is worth more than money.

Hi Churinga,<br />
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I understand what you are saying. If I may add, God also speaks in personification. Consider how wisdom is likened to a female:<br />
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Blessed are those who find wisdom, <br />
those who gain understanding, <br />
for she is more profitable than silver <br />
and yields better returns than gold. <br />
She is more precious than rubies; <br />
nothing you desire can compare with her (Prov 3)<br />
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Now consider Proverbs 4:7:<br />
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Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. <br />
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Hence, we learn that God speaks in a variety of ways. God tells us to get wisdom which is supreme. He says buy understanding. We thus can use wisdom and understanding to help us use discernment within the sc<x>riptures and also in life!<br />
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