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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Figures of Speech

If God uses them, perhaps we ought to use them too. 

I'm in Mount Hermon this weekend...

The trees in this place make me yearn to create. When I look at how excellently God has created, something inside of me gets all churned up, looking for a release of creative expression. And longing for excellence. Longing to make something beautiful. Something pleasing.

Since I want to write something beautiful, I thought it would be good to look to see how God writes.

Message is not enough. 

Oooooh. Dare I say that? Yes, I think I dare. Message is great, but it's not enough. If message were enough the Bible could have been written in bullet points. 
  • Do love your neighbor.
  • Don't bear false witness.
  • Do worship God only.
  • Don't have other gods before him.
But, no. God did not write us a series of bullet points. He employed, in scripture, all kinds of figures of speech. Let's look at a few:

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler

The kingdom of heaven is like a pearl
The kingdom of heaven is like a net
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
The seven woes of Matthew 23

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees.... Woe to you scribes and Pharisees.... Woe to you blind guides...
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child
Whoever shed the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed
Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me
I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away
So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
The law of the Lord is perfect,  reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

There are more. What other figures of speech do you see in the Bible? 

photo credit: RobertFrancis via photopin cc

Sally Apokedak
Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She's in the process of of building a dynamite list of authors. She is also active in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.


  1. Wonderful list, Sally. Thanks for posting this. When I was a teacher (in a Christian school), we often referred to Jesus as the Master Teacher. Clearly, God is also the Greatest Author. What a wonderful idea to learn from the words His Holy Spirit inspired.


  2. Oh, this is a good list. I'm going to bookmark it.

  3. I so appreciate this list. Here are seven metaphors Jesus spoke about Himself, all from the book of John:

    I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
    I am the light of the world (John 8:12 and John 9:5)
    I am the gate for the sheep (John 10:7 and John 10:9)
    I am the good shepherd (John 10:11 and John 10:14)
    I am the resurrection, and the life (John 11:25)
    I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
    I am the true vine (John 15:1 and John 15:5)

    There are other metaphors (e.g., "You are the branches"), but I'll stop at the ones Christ applied to Himself. Hmmm.... Might make a good sermon for my next trip to Russia... Thanks for the idea, Sally, and enjoy Mt. Hermon!

  4. I love lists. And learning new literary terms is even better! Thanks.

  5. Sally, do you want a dynamite list or dynamite authors?

    1. I don't understand the question. You have to have dynamite authors to have a dynamite list.


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