Sunday, May 24, 2009

Literal and Figurative Language in the Bible And Bibliolatry

Here's a section of an interesting article on Literal and Figurative Language in the Bible
Retrieved from "":
Figures of Speech in the Bible

Simile: A comparison using "like" or "as." Example: "As lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:27).

Metaphor: One thing described in terms of some other thing. "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

Anthropomorphism: God described in human terms. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth" (2 Chronicles 16:9, New King James Version).

Words of association: One word stands for something else. Examples: "Circumcision" meaning the Jews (Galatians 2:9, King James Version); "sword" for all weapons (Romans 8:35).

Personification: Personal qualities assigned to an object. "The mountains skipped like rams" (Psalm 114:4).

Euphemism: Substituting an inoffensive word for a possibly harsh or crude one. "Adam lay with his wife Eve" (Genesis 4:1) means that they had sexual intercourse.

Hyperbole: Exaggeration. "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out" (Matthew 5:29).

Irony: The literal meaning is opposite the real meaning. "You have become kings...! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!" (1 Corinthians 4:8).

Interesting stuff---it doesn't help any more that the idioms of the bible as found in the original languages: Hebrew and Greek are hard to translate into English in an exact way either as any translator of foreign language knows. For example if one were to translate the English idiom "break a leg" into German, it would literally mean to break one's leg rather than a figure of speech for good luck which is why we should be careful when we rip verses of the bible out of context lest we fall into error such as when King James Onlyists interpret: ΤΟ ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ ΑΓΙΟΝ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ 1:1-Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος in English as meaning that the 1769 revision of the 1611 edition of the King James Version of the bible is coequal and coeternal with the Father to the point of proclaiming that the bible is the second person of the Trinity: Jesus---as only Jesus is the Λόγος. See also: THERE IS ONLY ONE PURE KING JAMES BIBLE:
for even more bibliolatry.

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