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