Figurative Language (14-16)

(14) Irony: when we think of the Bible, perhaps we believe it to be of a much more “stoic” nature and thus doesn’t contain literary devices such as jokes or irony. An ironic statement is one that uses specific words, when in actuality the opposite of what the statement says is meant, this is very similar to sarcasm. This figure flies in the face of those who believe that the Bible simply “means what it says.” I would agree that the Bible means what it says, however, the Bible does not always “say” what the same words would mean at face value in today’s context, we must be very careful. In 1Kgs 18:27 “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, ‘Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.'” Elijah did not believe Baal was god.

(15) Pleonasm: this is the repetition of a word or idea for emphasis. It is using more words than necessary to get your point across. It results in a very clear understanding of meaning. Sometimes, we might miss the meaning in that we think the author might be saying two different things rather than two parallel things.  Gen 40:23 “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

(16) Interrogation: is the asking of rhetorical questions that are so obvious they do not demand an answer in reply. Psalm 34:12 “What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?” Everyone wants to have a long and happy life that is good, it’s obvious.

We need to actively read the Bible and realize that though it is a supernatural book in its source, it is written in natural language so that we can understand. This is part of the incarnation of God, he has humbled himself to communicate to humanity in our own language. The Bible was not composed in “Holy Ghost Greek.”

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.

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