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Figures of Speech Used in the Bible by E. W. Bullinger


Have you ever wondered what the difference between a parable, a proverb, a fable, an allegory, a type, or a symbol was? Did you ever wonder what the difference between a simile, a metaphor, an idiom, an oxymoron, an ellipsis, an irony, or a climax was? These are all examples of figures of speech used in Figures of Speech Used in the Bible by E. W. Bullinger.

The introduction of this book very briefly explains what figures of speech are, how the ancient Greeks started them and the Romans continued them. The introduction gives a brief history of how these figures were brought back to life after having almost died out in the Middle Ages. The history of them is not essential for their use, but is there if someone is interested.

Figures of Speech used in the Bible names each of the 217 figures of speech in the Table of Contents and shows how they are classified. The book then it gives each figure the correct pronunciation, it's etymology (breaking the word down into it's prefixes, suffixes, and root, and what they mean), and then each place that figure of speech is used in the Bible. The etymology given in the book for each word is only a few lines long.

As an aside, the etymology of words is not something to fear. In fact, using medical terms all day at work and studying words in the Bible as I do complement each other. They for the most part can both be broken down into Greek and (some Latin). Etymology is valuable in medicine. If one knows that cholesterol comes from CHOLE [BILE] + STEROL [STEROID] then they have more if a reason to avoid cholesterol. The reason CHOLE was used in the word is that it is a fatty steroid in bile. In some cases, the Greek and the medical terminology match each other. In medicine a blind spot (area of darkness) is called a scotoma (some places say it comes from SKOTIA) and in the Greek of the Bible SKOTIA means darkness. For more information on a good book that contains medical etymology, see my opinion of The Language of Medicine.

The value of a figure of speech is having a better understanding of what is written. For instance, a parable (beside + to throw or cast) is a placing along side for the purpose of comparison. Examples are where Christ is likened to a lion because of his strength. Christ is not a lion, but is set along side one for comparison. Christ is also compared to a thief at His coming again. He is not a thief, but he is compared with one. This because He will be just as unexpected at His coming as a thief is.

This is a book that requires thought, but for those interested in understanding God's written revelation, it is a reference worth having.

Other valuable books by E. W. Bullinger include The Companion Bible, and A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament.

1160 Pages Hardcover

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