Figures of Speech Used in the Bible by E.W. Bullinger is a unique work that is best used alongside Bullinger’s “Companion Bible”. While you read through the Companion Bible, you will come across passages with a note by Bullinger annotating that this passage utilizes a particular figure of speech. While some of them will be discussed briefly in an appendix, you can learn more by opening the PDF for “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible” and searching for the reference for the passage or for the figure specified in the Companion Bible.
While in some cases, it seems figures of speech are just fancy titles assigned to small, commonly understood phrases, sometimes not knowing about the presence of a figure of speech can cause confusion. Here’s a snippet from the entry for the figure of speech “idioma” (more commonly known as idiom)
“Idiomatic usages of Verbs
The Hebrews used active verbs to express the agent’s design or attempt to do anything, even though the thing was not actually done…
…Gal. v. 4. – ‘Whosoever of you are justified (i.e., seek to be justified) by the law; ye are fallen from grace’: for chap. iii. 11 distinctly declares that “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God.”
Phil. iii. 15. – ‘As many as be (i.e., would be, or try to be) perfect.’
I John i. 10. – ‘We make him (i.e., we attempt so far as in us lies to make him) a liar.’ (See also chapter v. 10).”
These three examples show us the importance of understanding figures of speech. Taken literally, these three verses suggest that by the deeds of the law shall some flesh be justified, that there are some (besides God) who are perfect, and that God can be made a liar. All of these are obviously not true. While we take the Scriptures literally whenever possible, when we take it figuratively, we ought to have good reasoning for it. Bullinger provides some great reasoning for some passages in this book.
This PDF is 1166 pages and is easily searchable using CTRL+F.
NOTE: If you don’t have a Companion Bible, I would strongly recommend getting one. It’s one of my favorite study Bibles.
Click Here for Figures of Speech Used in the Bible by E.W. Bullinger
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