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Name That Figure of Speech

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, Feb 5, 2018.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    It has often been purported here on the BB that various figures of speech, especially the metaphor, prove that it is okay to interpret "spiritually" (which is not necessarily spiritual) instead of literally. Scholars, even those who do think "spiritual" interpretation is valid for prophecy, disagree.

    Note what the classic textbook by Bernard Ramm says: "The literal interpretation of Scripture readily admits the very large place which figurative language has in the Scriptures, and Feinberg is correct when he writes that 'It is not true that [the literalists] require every single passage to be interpreted literally without exception.' Literal interpretation does not mean painful, or wooden, or unbending literal rendition of every word and phrase. The literal meaning of the figurative expression is the proper or natural meaning as understood by students of language. Whenever a figure is used its literal meaning is precisely that meaning determined by grammatical studies of figures" (Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 141). Note: This text was for many years the standard one for a college hermeneutics course, though there are other options now. So in the eyes of most, it is quite authoritative.

    Note that Ramm's position was amil! So if you are insisting that figures of speech prove that "spiritualizing" the Scripture is valid, Ramm is not on your side, even though he sometimes spiritualizes himself!

    Stay tuned while I define "figure of speech" and then give a (hopefully) fun quiz.
     
    #1 John of Japan, Feb 5, 2018
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  2. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Here's a few for you then, JoJ: ;)

    "You must be born again" (just to get you started).

    "For every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills."

    'For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.'

    'For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past.'

    '....The word which He commanded for a thousand generations.'

    'Your neck is like the tower of David, built for an armoury on which hang a thousand bucklers.'

    '.....That with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.'

    '.......And bound him for a thousand years.'

    What figure of speech is 'a thousand' in each of these last seven verses?

     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Now, what is a figure of speech? Here is a definition:

    “Ancient term for any form of expression in which the normal use of language is manipulated, stretched, or altered for rhetorical effect" (P. H. Matthews, Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics , p. 138)

    I will give just ten figures of speech in the Bible. (Bullinger lists 217.) Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to match the following verses to the possible figures of speech, which will be given in the following post. Here are the verses:

    1. Rev. 1:14--His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

    2. Luke 13:32--Go tell that fox....

    3. Rev. 11:8--the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt....

    4. Is. 24:1--Behold the Lord maketh the earth (Israel) empty.

    5. Is. 24:4--The earth mourneth and fadeth away.

    6. 1 Cor. 15:55--O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

    7. John 21:25--And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

    8. 1 Kings 18:27--Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

    9. 1 Peter 5:6--Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

    10. Acts 9:5-- I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
     
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  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Here are the answers (not in order):
    1. Idiom. This is a word or phrase with a different meaning than the literal meaning, such as “raining cats and dogs."
    2. Personification. This gives a human personality or presence to something which has no life..
    3. Metaphor. A metaphor uses nouns to compare unlike items.
    4. Irony. Using words with an opposite meaning to portray sarcasm.
    5. Metonymy. “Use of one name for another related name.”[1]
    6. Simile. A simile is an expression that uses “like” or “as” to compare two things.
    7. Synecdoche. “Similar to metonymy but physical resemblance is stressed." [2]
    8. Hyperbole. Hyperbole is a purposeful exaggeration.
    9. Apostrophe. “Addressing of an absent object.”[3]
    10. Anthropomorphism. This is when the Bible talks about God as if He were human.

    [1] Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Dallas: Bible Communications, Inc., 1974), 140.
    [2] Tan, p. 140.
    [3] Tan, p. 141.
     
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  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    You make two errors here: (1) Assuming that because various references use "1000" as a figure of speech that all mentions of that word are ergo figures of speech. (That does not logically follow.) (2) You only mention one usage of the word "1000" in Rev. 20. The word occurs six times. That is not how figures of speech are used, but it is how the word "1000" would be used if it were literal--and it is.

    Now that I've answered your point, I hope you won't derail my thread. You already knew my position. :p
     
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  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    By the way, some would say that "born again" is not a figure of speech but a literal reality, in that Jesus meant a genuine spiritual birth. If it is a figure of speech, it is a metaphor.
     
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  7. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    1. Rev. 1:14--His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; Simile?

    2. Luke 13:32--Go tell that fox.... Metaphor?

    3. Rev. 11:8--the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt.... Metonymy?

    4. Is. 24:1--Behold the Lord maketh the earth (Israel) empty. Synecdoche?

    5. Is. 24:4--The earth mourneth and fadeth away. Personification?

    6. 1 Cor. 15:55--O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Apostrophe?

    7. John 21:25--And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. Hyperbole?

    8. 1 Kings 18:27--Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. Irony?

    9. 1 Peter 5:6--Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Anthropomorphism?

    10. Acts 9:5-- I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Idiom?
     
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  8. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    My main problem with him was that I think he held to limited inspiration, as he wanted to still hold to evolution and problems in history and science, but OK in all spiritual manners!
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Right, he did have those problems.
     
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  10. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Ok, this will cause me to actually think.

    Maybe, I will be wrong, so don't hesitate to drag out that red pencil and place a huge red "X" next to the errors.

    In one education system, they do not allow teachers to grade with red.

    :)

    "Like" or "as" indicate the use of a simile.

    The assignment of a place, thing, or idea in place of a person is a metaphor.

    Spiritualizing by assigning a character of another of like physical would be metonym.

    Idiom from the standpoint of stating something has occurred yet not what has actually occurred.

    Personification by giving human attributes to what is not human

    This isn't included in your list, but perhaps this is a statement of allusion within a statement of irony?

    hyperbole, for John does not use exaggeration in the manner of "evangelically speaking" but does allow himself this privilege of what might be actually true if actually done.

    apostrophe as one mocking what does not exist

    No figure of speech but the truth, although I suppose it could be anthropomorphic.

    metonym by suggesting the "pricks" is the conviction of the Holy Spirit.


    Hmmmm.

    I didn't do too good.

    Should have had a better teacher who gave me the information to study before the exam.

    Or, maybe this is a pre-exam to give the professor guidance in what weaknesses to address.

    :)
     
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  11. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    That definition of synedoche doesn’t really match what I've been taught in English class. Is that a linguistics specific definition?

    A part being used to describe the whole was what I was taught, with "head" for cattle or "hands" for workers being the commonly used examples.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    And still learned from his textbook, despite those areas of his problems!
     
  13. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    It is so much easier to just recognize a figure of speech then to actually determine what the title of the figure of speech may be!

    Kind of like memorizing the states and capitals doesn't mean one can locate them on a map.

    Back in the 1900's, one of the neat courses of study I greatly enjoyed was on Victorian Prose and Poetry. But, the information has long faded. Somewhere, I may still have the textbook if it wasn't ruined in the great garage flood.
     
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  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    That definition was from Paul Lee Tan, if you'll notice my footnote. Your definition matches one in a linguistic dictionary I have: "Figure of speech in which an expression denoting a part is used to refer to a whole: also, in the traditional definition, vice versa" (Matthews, Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics, p. 396).
     
  15. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Ok so which ones are right and wrong?

    Jerome's answers are different from mine!

    He is smarter then I am, but I'm unanimous in thinking I am right.

    :)
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I'm waiting for others to take the quiz before giving the answers. I will say, though, that you missed "1 Kings 18:27--Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."
     
  17. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    Ah, ok. I tried the footnote, it didn't work for me.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    The footnotes should show right below the ten definitions.
     
  19. SheepWhisperer

    SheepWhisperer Active Member

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    Job 38
    1
    Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

    2Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

    3Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

    4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

    5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

    6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

    7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

    9When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,

    10And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,

    11And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
     
  20. SheepWhisperer

    SheepWhisperer Active Member

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    Psalm 23
    1
    {A Psalm of David.} The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

    3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

    4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

    5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
     
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