In-Sight: The Marvel of Metaphor

The language of scripture is often metaphorical, not literal.  For example, when Jesus tells us to “hate” our fathers and mothers (Luke 14:26), he does not mean it literally.  But he is describing through metaphor a love of God so intense and complete that it makes all other loves strikingly secondary.
    Metaphor does not mean that the Bible is not true.  Any student of language knows that.  In fact, metaphor is a doorway into deeper truth than literalism can contain.  Metaphor is the language of inspiration as words fire passions more diverse than the single word itself.  Metaphor is the language of meditation, requiring us to ponder a word beneath the surface.
     But perhaps most of all, metaphor is the language used between lovers and their beloved.  Their terms of endearment and pet phrases are meant to say a lot in a few words.  They are meant to reveal how we feel and evoke a response from the one to whom we have spoken.
     As you read the Bible, let the language of metaphor inflame your heart, expand your mind, and enrich your spirit–so that your response to the revelation is, “Yes, Lord, yes!”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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