Home > Hermeneutics > Another means and method employed by the Spirit to arrest our attention and focus our minds upon distinct portions of the Truth is His use of a great number of “figures of speech”

Another means and method employed by the Spirit to arrest our attention and focus our minds upon distinct portions of the Truth is His use of a great number of “figures of speech”

Another means and method employed by the Spirit to arrest our attention and focus our minds upon distinct portions of the Truth is His use of a great number of “figures of speech.” In them He has arranged words and phrases in an unusual manner for the purpose of more deeply impressing the reader with what is said. The learned author of The Companion Bible (now almost unobtainable) dealt more fully with this subject than any English writer, and from him we now select one or two examples. The figure of anabasis or graduation, in which there is the working up to a climax, as in

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33, 34).

So again in 2 Peter 1:5-7, “add to your faith virtue… charity.” The opposite figure is that of catabasis or gradual descent, a notable instance of which is found in Philippians 2:6-8.

The more common form of emphasis is that of repetition. This is found in the Word in quite a variety of ways, as in the doubling of a name: “Abraham, Abraham” (Genesis 22:11). There were six other individuals whom the Lord thus addressed: “Jacob, Jacob” (46:2), “Moses, Moses” (Exodus 3:4), “Samuel, Samuel” (1 Samuel 3:10), “Martha, Martha” (Luke 10:41), “Simon, Simon” (22:10), “Saul, Saul” (Acts 9:4). Then there was our Lord’s pathetic “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (Matthew 23:37), and His cry of anguish, “My God, My God” (Matthew 27:46); as there will yet be the urgent “Lord, Lord” of the lost (Luke 13:25). Such intensified forms of expression as “the holy of holies,” “the song of songs, vanity of vanities,” and the unspeakable “for ever and ever,” express the same principle. Again,

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14);

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Yet more emphatic is the “holy, holy, holy” of Isaiah 6:3, the

“O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:29), and because it will not, the “I will overturn, overturn, overturn” (Ezekiel 21:27), with the resultant

“Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 8:13).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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