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Interpreting Metaphors in Scripture

The word Metaphors is “a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. Here are the basics:

  • metaphor states that one thing is another thing
  • It equates those two things not because they actually are the same, but for the sake of comparison or symbolism
  • If you take a metaphor literally, it will probably sound very strange (are there actually any sheep, black or otherwise, in your family?)
  • Metaphors are used in poetry, literature, and anytime someone wants to add some color to their language.[1]

I guess we can understand current metaphors; we are surrounded by them. However, if we are not aware of the culture of the Biblical days we can get lost in metaphors because we can’t relate to them… at all. The Scripture encourages us to “study” (2 Timothy 2:15). This reality brings me to a place of humility and personal searching. How many things have I interpreted in the Bible through my Puertorrican eyes? How many things am I missing by doing so? 

No doubt that we have become lazy in our interpretations of Scripture; I know I have! This laziness is dangerous because, as believers, we are trusting God’s Word with our own lives. How many of us have been misguided? How many people have we misguided?

I am currently taking a class entitle The Unseen Realm; what a blessing! Dr. Heiser challenges us to work harder; to dig deeper and to see things, in my case, beyond my Puertorrican eyes and from the prospective of the original writers… from the prospective of God. That involves looking at a culture, a language, and a grammar I don’t understand… again… it brings me to a place of great humility. Help me Holy Ghost! 


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