Words of Wisdom:

"When all else fails, bring in the duct tape." - Ycclarleafflo

Good Earth

  • Date Submitted: 10/31/2011 07:07 AM
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Literary Forms of the Bible
It is helpful to understand the styles of writing used in the Bible, especially since some of those styles are no longer commonly used.
A parable is a simple story that helps us understand a spiritual or moral concept. Jesus was the master of the parable, and a large part of His teachings come to us in the form of the parables he told to his disciples and other people. The plain facts of a parable story are usually meaningless in themselves. It is by analogy or similarity with the story that we gain an understanding of the spiritual or moral lesson of the parable. In the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-8) Jesus tells a story about a man who sowed seed on a farm. Some of the seed fell on rocks or pathways or among thorns where it could not grow. Other seed fell on good ground where it produced a bountiful crop. However, the point of this story has nothing to do with farming techniques. As Jesus explained in Luke 8:11-15, the seed represents the Word of God, which is offered to all people. Like the seed that fell in bad places, the Word of God does not produce good results in people who reject it for one reason or another. But, like the seed that fell on good ground, the Word of God grows strong within people who are receptive and it bears good (spiritual) fruit.
A simile uses "like" or "as" to give us a mental picture of something by comparing it to something else. "As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God." (Psalms 42:1) and "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27) are examples of similes.
A metaphor is just a simile with the "like" or "as" left out. "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11) does not mean Jesus herds sheep. It is a metaphor meaning Jesus is our master and protector in the same way as a shepherd is master and protector of his sheep. "You are the light...

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