Figurative Language (3-4)

A couple more types of figurative language. These are fairly familiar to us.

(3) Simile: this is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the words “like”, “as” (or even “than”).

(4) Metaphor: this is similar to a simile, but it’s an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another.

Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using “like” or “as”.

A simile is an explicit contrast as in “the kingdom of God is like…”

A metaphor is a direct comparison “I am the door”

It’s very important to realize that the Bible is a literary document. It is written in a common language, though it’s in uncommon book. We can’t take anything at “face value” because our literary values are different than when the Bible was first written. Taking God’s word “literally” should mean that we take the words to mean what they do within their literary context, not simply “it means what it says” – because after all, when you make a statement like that last one, what you really mean is “it means what it says, TO ME.”

Let’s not have such a subjective view of Bible interpretation. It’s an impossible task, but let us at least strive for objective hermeneutics.

About John Harris

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Church, Hermeneutics. Bookmark the permalink.