January 5, 2011

Just How Much Figurative Language Did Jesus Use?

Most Christians are taught to read the Bible in a very literal sense, unless there is a verse or text that sounds absurd in the literal sense. Most Christians therefore, I contend, have completely misunderstood the truths that the Bible actually teaches. It seems that God / Christ Jesus actually used alot more parables and figurative language then what most people realize. 

In fact, I would go so far as to say that perhaps God has used the "physical" as examples of deeper spiritual truths... not just in the Bible, but in everyday life and throughout history... albeit this is a topic for another day. :-) 

But for now, let's take a look at a few examples of why I say that Father God and Christ Jesus used alot more figurative language in the Bible texts then we realize. 

Consider a few verses... 

Mark 4:33-34 
And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. But without a parable He did NOT speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples. 

Based on just this verse alone, it appears that everything Jesus said to the masses of people / religious leaders was in fact, done so through parables / figurative language... not just what our Bibles have subtitled as "the Parable of ______". 

But it goes even deeper... even with the disciples, much of what Jesus said evidently was in figurative language, which explains why they misunderstood Him so often...

John 16:25 - “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 

Regarding the Father in the Old Testament...
Hosea 12:10 - I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them.” 

Like Father, Like Son... 

All of these examples go a long way towards seeing just how God was / is able to shame the wisdom of those who thought they were wise intellectually (religious leaders/teachers/Rabbi's), as it talks about in various place throughout the Bible. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 comes to mind) --- For if most everything was written in a literal sense, then God wouldn't have been able to shame those who were / are wise in their own eyes (human understanding), because all one had to do was read the texts of what was written. 

Just something to ponder..., especially if you're worried about a literal physical "hell". :-)

Dave Lewerenz

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