by A.E. Knoch


God, Who studded the sky with jewels and carpeted the earth with colors, has written His revelation in language which reflects the beauties of His visible creation. The diction of the East and of the Scriptures is full of fine figures, over which we walk with ruthless tread, seldom stopping to admire the blooms beneath our feet. It is the voice of feeling as well as fact. Nor is its beauty merely ornamental. Unless our eyes are opened to their presence and we feel their force, we may fail to enter beneath the surface of bare facts, into the heart of God's truth, and be led astray by mere externals.


It is startling to realize that much of God’s Word is not literally true. Some of its most precious and important statements simply cannot be taken as they stand. “God is light” is not an actual fact. Literally stated, He is, in the spiritual sphere, in some ways like light in the physical realm. But how much more forceful and beautiful to condense all this into a short and striking sentence, even if it is not strictly correct! This should open our eyes to realize that not everything in the Scriptures must be taken literally. When the Lord told His disciples that Lazarus had found repose and that He was about to wake him out of sleep, they took His word literally, which was misleading. So He told them frankly that Lazarus had died. By this figure, which was not true in fact, He had foreshadowed the great truth that Lazarus’ death was like taking a nap, for He would rouse him from the tomb. We should be on our guard when Scripture states that which cannot be true. Such words are not false, but figurative. Because the Scriptures unfold to us the metaphysical and the spiritual, for which we have no organs of perception, these are usually spoken of in terms of the physical and the material. Hence we should expect to find many figures in God’s revelation. Words used literally of things in the lower sphere, accessible to our soulish senses, are needed in a superior sense for that which belongs to a higher sphere. Such conceptions as light and darkness, life and death, high and low, are freely used as figures. In fact, many have been so often used in this fashion that we mistakenly speak of the figurative usage as a special “meaning,” when it is really a faded figure.


Of the vast importance of figures of speech in interpretation, there can be no question. In the Reformation a single metaphor, “this is My body,” led to conflicts and divisions which would never have arisen if there had been even an elementary knowledge of figurative language. On some subjects, the Scriptures seem to contradict themselves, simply because figures are taken for facts. When the figure is recognized, the conflict vanishes. An investigation will show that differences of interpretation occur especially often with words which are frequently used figuratively. As a rule this has affected their literal significance and clouded the passages in which they appear. In such cases, if the literal is sharply distinguished, the discrepancies will disappear.


In seeking to fix the exact significance of a word, only its literal usage should be consulted. Here alone the actual meaning appears. The figurative is a departure from it. Therefore, in the Keyword Concordance, many of the figurative expressions have been indicated. They should not be included in the evidence when fixing a word’s precise signification. This does not apply equally to all figures. The context within a parable shows the meaning of a word, for the parts of a parable may be literal with respect to one another. Thus we may learn much of darnel in the parable of the sowing, even though the darnel itself is a figure of hypocritical disciples.

The literal meaning of a word is one and constant: the figurative usage is diverse and variable. The fact that lexicographers as a rule fail to distinguish the meaning of a word from the usage has made their definitions indefinite, and has led to much confusion. A word has been given many “meanings” by incorporating its figurative usages. As these may vary much, the true significance of the word becomes obscure. It is important that we give each word a constant literal meaning, but it is equally necessary that we do not apply its figurative usage in every passage.


As the dangers of a close rendering arise largely from figures of speech, or rather from the lack of a proper observance of them, it was deemed wise to determine, list and analyze the principal figures, especially those which affect translation, and thus safeguard the concordant method in this direction. Hence this Concordance, listing most of the occurences of each figure, was prepared.


Just as, in seeking the meaning of a word in the Scriptures, we should examine all of its literal occurrences, so the best method of fixing the force of any figure is to investigate all of its examples in Holy Writ. FIGURES OF SPEECH USED IN THE BIBLE by E. W. Bullinger, D.D., (Grand Rapids, MI 49506: Baker Book House) has proved to be a valuable tool in preparing the following Concordance of Figures. The principal advantage of the following Concordance is that it brings most of the figures of the same kind together, so that each may be interpreted consistently with all the rest.

The concordance of words used literally will show that each one has but one central significance, but a Concordance of Figures will show that each one may also be used for different, and even opposite, ideas.


Frequently a single expression is figurative in two or more directions. Thus, in the sentence, “ Heaven is God’s throne,” the word “ throne” is a Metaphor, for heaven is not only said to be like, but to be a throne. But a throne, in this case, is not merely the piece of furniture, but stands for the idea of rule. So it is also an Association (Metonyrny). As it ascribes what is human to the Deity, it is also a Condescension (Anthropopatheia). Only the principal figure may be indicated in such cases.

Many figures may be classified under two or more headings, when they possess characteristics of each. Thus Parallelisms may be, in some degree, Repetitions, yet the figure lies rather in the arrangement of the words and sentences. Hard and fast lines cannot always be drawn.


Many figures have been used so much that it seems far-fetched to mark them as such. Thus, rise, as applied to the dead, is a clear figure, yet it is used commonly in this sense, hence it is not marked. The boundary between faded and unfaded figures is very vague, so we have sought to be practical and helpful, even though it was not always possible to be consistent.


Figures, especially those of likeness, must be strictly limited to the point or points, of contact, for it is axiomatic that there is unlikeness in all other particulars. They must never be used as if they were true in fact. Therefore it is unwise to use figures of speech as a basis of reasoning, for the points of contact are limited to those stated or apparent, and they may not be extended to other relations. Thus when Paul speaks of betrothing the Garinthians to Christ, he refers only to their singleness and purity. The figure does not include any other aspect of betrothal or refer in any way to marriage. It is confusing to connect it with such figures.


A name should be an index of that which it represents. The names usually given to figures of speech have been so technical and foreign that they have made the subject unnecessarily difficult and distasteful. Hence we will give a new English name to such as need one. Instead of calling the commonest of figures a Hypocatastasis we will define it by the name Implication, and, as it occurs so frequently, simply mark it with F for Figure. The common, well-known names, as Simile, Metaphor, Parable, etc., will be retained.

[Editor's Note: Reference here, and elsewhere, to the use of superscript characters concerns their use in the Keyword Concordance, from which this section has been taken.]


Figures may Be classified in many different ways, but they are so lacking in definite boundaries, and so often overlay each other, that no classification is altogether ideal. Hence we have chosen the course which seems most practical and helpful, and have divide them into small groups according to their salient characteristics, and have put them in the order of their importance. Most figures are figures of likeness, hence these lead the rest, followed by those of association. The groups are as follows: Likeness, Association, Arrangements Omission, Addition, Repetition, Grammatical Substitution, Variance, Rhetoric.


Likeness, or comparison, is the most frequent form in which figures are found. Though there are only a few varieties which are based on similarity, most figures, by far, belong to this class. In fact, one of these, Implication, is so frequently found, that we will simply call it a “ figure.”

The point to press in figures of likeness is that they depend upon unlikeness. Two objects must be unlike in the main, and similar in one or more particulars, in order to be a figure. Under no circumstances must the likeness be allowed to go beyond these particulars, or the figure is violated. So also, in parables the salient points alone are to be pressed, for much detail may be included which merely makes the picture complete.

All figures of likeness may be expanded into a simile, by adding the formula “ is like.” This is one of the simplest tests to determine whether it is included in this class. The simile actually states that one thing is like or similar to another in some respect, hence no notation is needed to call attention to it, as “ All flesh is like grass.” The metaphor is bolder. It leaves the realm of fact, and says that one is another, as “ All flesh is grass.” Still more striking is the implication, which takes the likeness for granted, as “ the grass withers.” The parable goes further and makes a whole statement, including action, as “ Physician, cure yourself.” It will be seen that these figures are, in one sense, figures of omission, for they are abbreviated similes.

Especially in parables, there are many words which seem to be quite literal in their context, but become figurative because the context is a comparison. They are marked with a P for Parable and a V for Vision in the KEYWORD CONCORDANCE.

The figures of likeness consist of Simile, Metaphor, Implication, Parable. Allegory, Vision, Sign, Type, Shadow, Example, Image, Impersonation (or Personification), and Condescension.


It is only when two dissimilar objects are said to be alike in some particular that the simile becomes a figure of speech. Even then, it is true in fact, hence it is only partly over the border line of figures. But, as it is the essence of all figures of likeness, into which they all may be expanded, we will include it in our classification.


The metaphor is an abbreviated simile. It omits the statement of likeness, hence it is not true as to fact, but forceful as to feeling. Instead of saying that one thing is like another, it boldly insists that it is that other. The substantive verb is usually present, as, “ This is My body.” Literal facts may be stated with or without the verb, but this figure calls for its presence. It is indicated by the tiny superior M before the verse reference.


By far the most frequent of figures is the Implication (Hypocatastasis), which, on this account, we designate simply by the letter F for Figure. Not only does it omit the statement of likeness (which the Simile has) but it also does without the verb is (which the Metaphor has), simply taking the likeness for granted. The similarity is implied, hence the name Implication.


A likeness developed into action is called a Parable. In Greek this is literally that which is cast beside, a parallel. In it, one set of circumstances in the physical sphere is likened to a spiritual counterpart, The resemblance extends to action, and must include a verb used figuratively. To put it popularly, a parable is a moving picture, while a metaphor or implication is a still one. Every figurative action seems to have the making of a parable. Absolute boundaries cannot be drawn, nor are they vital. There should be a figurative object, combined with a figurative action.

The shortest named parable in the Scriptures is: “ Physician, cure yourself!” (Luke 4:23). Here both the noun and the verb are figurative. Our Lord is not merely compared to a physician, but to one who attends his own case. The action of the physician is added to the likeness. According to this inspired example, no lengthy story is needed to constitute a scriptural parable. Hence there are many more of these than is usually supposed. The verb and noun which make the parable must be literal in regard to each other. A physician cures. But a case such as “ put on . . . the old humanity” (Eph. 4:22) is not a parable, though both noun and verb are figurative, for we strip off clothing, not humanity. Perhaps the most extensive parable in the Scriptures is the tabernacle and its ritual (Heb. 9:9).

The same figure must be apparent in both the noun and the verb. “ Physician, deal with your own misfortune!” would not be a parable, as the figure is lacking in the verb. Neither would “ you should cure yourself” do, for the corresponding figure in the noun is lacking.

Many parables are compound, that is, consisting of more than one picture, sometimes in a parallel, as make ready a road and straighten a highway (Matt. 3:3). Sometimes it is progressive, as, scour a threshing floor, gather into a barn, burn the chaff (Matt. 3:12), or complex, with more than one verb, as, salt made insipid, cast out, trampled (Matt. 5:13).

As the function of a parable is to make a physical parallel for metaphysical truth, it need not be based on actual facts. Culling grapes from thorns (Matt. 7:16) cannot be a real occurrence. It is not likely that someone paid the same wages for one hour’s work as for a whole day (Matt. 20:1-16). The physical must be accommodated to the truth to be paralleled, for this, and not the story told, is where the point lies.


The only Allegory mentioned in the Scriptures makes an actual, historical occurrence represent truth in another realm. Two women stand for two covenants (Gal. 4:22-28). This seems to be the real distinguishing feature of the allegory: Actual persons in their everyday lives set forth truth in the spiritual sphere.


In a Vision the eyes behold what is outside the range of human sight or has no real existence at the time. While not an actual figure of speech, it often, like the parable, is often filled with implications which used so constantly that they become symbols. Thus, in the Revelation, the throne stands for rule and the temple for religion, the Lambkin for the sacrifice of Christ and the wild beast for the opposing powers.

The Principal Visions

The transformation, Matt. 17:1-5, Mark 9:2-7, Luke 9:29-35; the flaming thorn bush, Acts 7:30-34; Ananias and Saul, Acts 9:10-16; messenger of God to Cornelius, Acts 10:3-6; Peter, sheet let down from heaven, Acts 10:11-16, 11:5-10; man of Macedonia to Paul, Acts 16:9; Paul at Corinth, Acts 18:9, 10; Son of Mankind, amidst lampstands, Rev. 1:10-20; throne, scroll, Lambkin, Rev. 4:1-5:14; seals opened, Rev. 6:1-17; the 144,000, 7:1-8; vast throng, Rev. 7:9-17; seven trumpets, Rev. 8:1-9:21; seven thunders, Rev. 10:1-7; the tiny scroll, Rev. 10:8-11; the two witnesses, Rev. 11:1-13; seventh trumpet, Rev. 11:15-18;the temple open, Rew. 11:19-13:18; the 144,000, Rev. 14:1-13; the harvest, Rev. 14:14-16; the vintage, Rev. 14:17-20; the seven calamities, Rev. 15:1-16:21; the unfaithful woman and the scarlet wild beast. Rev. 17:1-18; Babylon, Rev. 18:1-19:5; marriage of the Lambkin, Rev. 19:6-10: Gods great dinner, Rev. 19:11-21; the thousand years, Rev. 20:1-10; the great White Throne, Rev. 20:11-15; the new Jerusalem, Rev. 21:1-23; the river of life, Rev. 22:1-3.


A Sign is an actual occurrence which carries with it a significance not apparent on the surface. It may be a simple act, as the kiss of Judas (Matt. 26:48), which signified Who Christ was, or it may include several objects and considerable circumstance, as the woman and the male son (Rev. 12:5). A salutation by Paul’s own hand was a sign of the genuineness of an epistle from him. Circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant Our Lord did many clear signs in order to show that He is the promised Messiah. Almost every miracle of healing set forth His restoration of Israel in the Kingdom to come. Almost all of His acts are significant of the future.

Signs in the Scriptures

Jonah the prophet, Matt. 12:39, 16:4, Luke 11:29, 30; the Son of Mankind, Matt. 24:30, Luke 11:30; Judas’ kiss, Matt. 26:48; casting out demons, talking new languages, picking up serpents, drinking deadly drink . . . no harm, placing hands on ailing . . . well, Mark 16:17, 18; Babe in manger, Luke 2:12; in the sun, moon, constellations, on earth, pressure of nations in perplexity, resounding of the sea and shaking, chilling of men from fear, Luke 21:25, 26; wedding at Cana, John 2:1-11; raze and raise temple, John 2:19; healing the courtier’s son, John 4:46-54; feeding the five thousand, John 6:10-14; raising Lazarus, John 11:23-44; healing the lame man, Acts 3:2-10; unclean spirits come out, paralytics and lame are cured, Acts 8:7; healing paralyzed Eneas, Acts 9:33-34; Dorcas brought back to life, Acts 9:36-41; lame man of Lystra cured, Acts 14:8-10; circumcision, Rom. 4:11; languages for a sign, I Cor. 14:22; Paul’s hand (writing), 2 Thes. 3:17; woman, Rev. 12:l; dragon, Rev. 12:3-6; messengers with calamities, Rev. 15:1.


A Type is literally the impression left when using a die, as the print of the nails (John 20:25), the pattern which is to be followed. It is, therefore, a likeness which extends to details. The only one mentioned in the Scriptures is that of Adam who corresponds with Christ (Rom. 5:12-21). The tabernacle was made to correspond with the type or model shown Moses in the mount (Heb. 8:5).

An antitype, in Greek, is not the reality which is typified, but is, like the type, a representation of the true, as the holy places made by hands (Heb. 9:24) and baptism (1 Pet. 3:21).


Shadow is the apt scriptural term for dark representations of unseen or future realities. The offerings under the law were a shadow of the divine service of the celestials. The law had a shadow of the impending good (Heb. 10:1). The instructions regarding food, drink, festivals, new moons and sabbaths foreshadow what is still impending (Col. 2:16-17).


The Example (Exemplum) is another aspect of the Shadow, for under the law of Moses, the offerings were both an example and a shadow of the divine service of the celestials (Heb. 8:5). The tabernacle and its vessels are examples of what is in the heavens (Heb. 9:23).


An Image is a closer likeness than a shadow, being a visible delineation of that which is invisible or absent, Christ is the Image of God (Col. 1:15). Caesar’s image was on the currency (Matt. 22:20). The image of the wild beast will be his effigy.


Things are spoken of as persons in this figure, As the letter P is needed to indicate a Parable, we have changed Personification to Impersonation and use the letter I to mark it.


When God is spoken of as if He were human, or were a part of His creation, this is done in His condescension, so that He may reveal Himself in terms within the range of human perception.


That which is small in size awakens in us a variety of feelings, principally affection or contempt. This may arise partly from association also. Thus, in some languages, the diminutive ending is freely used to express regard. In the Scriptures, we have one special instance in which it is used in a derogatory sense. The “ little women, heaped with sins,” would hardly be confined to those small of stature. Yet here there is a strong likelihood that it was a term of affection at first, and only took on a derogatory sense by association.


Association includes that class of figures in which something associated with a thing is put for it. Our Lord practically defined it when He said. “ He who swears by heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by Him Who is sitting upon it” (Matt. 23:22). Here we have God’s throne put for His rule and heaven put for the throne, not because there is any likeness between these, but because they are associated with one another. The difference between a literal statement and this figure is plainly seen in the statement, “ I came not to be casting peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Literally, it would read strife or war in place of sword. The sword is so commonly used (by association) for war, that it may be called its symbol, were it not that it is used in a still broader sense for all enforcements of government (Rom. 13:4).


Association, usually called Metonymy, may also be classed as a figure of omission, for it may always be made literal by the insertion of an explanatory phrase. Thus, the phrase “ the kingdom of the heavens” may be expanded into “ the kingdom (of the God of) the heavens” (Dan. 2:44). By usage it includes the thought of God ruling the earth through others.

A common form of Association is worthy of special mention, in which a noun is followed by another in the genitive case, as, “ purpose of the eons,” which may be expanded as “ purpose (carried out during) the eons,” or “ the word of life,” expanded, “ the word (which gives) life.” The relation is usually general, and may be expanded in a variety of ways. It is not always clear whether there is a figure present when two nouns are thus related, so the following are only representative, striking examples.

Often such formations appear where we would generally use an adjective in English, such as “ Son of His love” (Col. 1:13) instead of “ His beloved Son” or “ administration of the secret” (Eph. 3:9) instead of “ secret administration.” There are exceptions, though. “ Slaves of Sin” (Rom. 6:17), for example, does not mean “ sinful slaves” for the very reason that in Romans six Sin is personified as a ruler. The context will have to decide what is the correct procedure. In the Version the translation often follows the word order of the Greek. Thus in such cases the decision whether or not the genetive noun has an adjectival sense must be left to the discernment of the reader.

Association, Noun with genitive Noun

assurance, riches of Col. 2:2;
condemnation, dispensation of, 2 Cor. 3:9;
consolation, God of, 2 Cor. 1:3;
darkness, world mights of, Eph. 6:12,
       gloom of, 2 Pet. 2:17;
death, body of, Rom. 7:24;
deception, spirit of, 1 John 4:6:
destruction, sects of, 2 Pet. 2:1:
eon, eon of, Heb. 1:8:
eons, purpose of, Eph. 3:11:
expectation, God of, Rom. 15:13
exultation, oil of, Heb. l:9
faith, hearing of, Gal. 3:5,
       work of, 2 Thes. 1:11 ;
flesh, disposition of, Rom. 8:6
       fathers of, Heb. 12:9,
       lusts, will of, Eph. 2:3,
       mind of, Col. 2:18,
       just statutes, Heb. 9:10:
freedom, law of, Jas. 1:25, 2:12;
fury, wine of, Rev. 18:3:
gloom, caverns of, 2 Pet. 2:4;
glory, advent of, Titus 2:13,
       body of, Phil. 3:21,
       Christ of, Jas. 2:1,
       evangel of, 2 Cor. 4:4,
       expectation of, Col. 1:27,
       Father of, Eph. 1:17,
       God of, Acts 7:2,
       laud of, Eph. l:12,
       Lord of, 1Cor. 2:8,
       might of, Col. 1:11,
       riches of, Eph. 3:16:
God, man of, 2 Tim. 3:17;
good, evangel of, Rom. 10:15:
goodness, delight of, 2 Thes. 1:11:
humiliation, body of, Phil. 3:21:
injustice, wages of, 2 Pet. 2:15;
irreverence, desires of, Jude 18
law, works of, Gal. 3:5, 3:10;
lawlessness, man of, 2 Thee. 2:3;
life, log of, Rev. 2:7, 22:2, 14, 19,
       scroll of, Phil. 4:3,
       water of, Rev. 7:17,
       word of, Phil. 2:16, 1 John 1:1,
       wreath of, Jas. 1:12
love, God of, 2 Cor. 13:11,
       kiss of, 1 Pet. 5:14,
love, continued)
       spirit of, 2 Tim. 1:7 |
maturity, tie of, Col. 3:14:
mercy, vessels of, Rom. 9:23;
peace, evangel of, Eph. 6:15,
       God of, Rom. 15:33, 16:20, 2 Cor.
           13:11, Phil. 4:9, I Thee. 5:23, Heb.
       king of, Heb. 7:2,
       Lord of, 2 Thes. 3:16,
       tie of, Eph. 4:3;
pities, Father of, 2 Cor. 1:3;
power, declaration of, Heb. 1:3,
       messengers of, 2 Thes. 1:7,
       spirit of, 2 Tim. 1:7,
       greatness of, Eph. 1:19;
promise, children of, Rom. 9:8, Gal. 4:28,
       covenants of, Eph. 2:12,
       land of, Heb. 11:9,
       spirit of, Eph. 1:13,
       word of, Rom. 9:9;
reasoning, judges of, Jas. 2:4;
rectitude, scepter of, Heb. 1:8;
revelation, spirit of, Eph. 1:17;
righteousnegs, king of, Heb. 7:2;
salvation, day of, 2 Cor. 6:2, 2;
sanity, spirit of, 2 Tim. 1:7;
secret, Administration of), Eph. 3:9;
seduction, desire of, Eph. 4:22;
shame, hidden things of, 2 Cor. 4:2;
Son, kingdom of, Col. 1:13;
spirit, law of, Rom. 8:2,
       unity of, Eph. 4:3,
       disposition of, Rom. 8:6,
       holiness of, 1 Pet. 1:2;
strength, might of, Eph. 1:19;
timidity, spirit of, 2 Tim. 1:7;
truth, benignity of, Eph. 4:24,
       spirit of, John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13,
           1 John 4:6,
       word of, Eph. l:13, Col. 1:5:
unbelief, heart of, Heb. 3:12;
wages, deception of, Jude 11;
will, delight of, Eph. l:5,
       secret of, Eph. 1:9,
       counsel of, Eph. l:11;
wisdom, meekness of, Jas. 3:13,
       spirit of, Eph. 1:17.


In an Appellation some quality, office or attribute is used instead of a proper name, as when God is spoken of as “ the Majesty”, Heb. 1:3). Sometimes this is reversed, and a proper name is used to indicate that with which it is associated, as when John the Baptist is called Elijah, because he came in his spirit and power (Matt. 17:12, Luke 1:17). It is used frequently when calling our Lord, Teacher, Rabbi, Son of Mankind, Prophet, Christ, Lord, etc, These are too numerous to list. See also Acts 22:14, 25:26.


Association may be so remote that it is best resolved by making two steps (Metalepsis). Thus, “ the word of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18, uses the term cross for the shameful death endured, and this, in turn, for the effects which follow it (Gal. 6:14, Col. 1:20). So also the blood of Christ, since it contained the soul (Lev. 17:11), figures His suffering, and beyond this its effects as figured in the tabernacle and temple ritual. See under blood in the Concordance.


Near Association (Synechdoche) is a special form of Association in which it is partly literal. Thus, when we read that Jerusalem went out to hear John the Baptist (Matt. 3:5), we know that the place itself did not go, but the inhabitants, a part of it, are intended. This figure is frequently used of the flesh to indicate the physical frame of man, including the bones and the blood, though, in other places these are especially distinguished from it.


Euphemism (Euphemismos) is the substitution of a pleasant expression for an offensive one. It is not often used in the Scriptures except in the verb know when referring to the relations of the sexes.


Retention is the use of an epithet in a new relation which displaces the old, though it is no longer literally true. It is often used of those our Lord healed, as when the dumb talk. But it is especially striking in such phrases as, “ the tablets of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3) displacing the tablets of the law, and “ a new covenant” (2 Cor. 3:6) displacing the old literal covenant. The following are examples: blind, Matt. 11:5, 15:31; covenant, Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, Rom. 11:27, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:8, 10, 9:15, 10:16, 29, 13:20: dead, Luke7:15, 1 Pet. 4:5, 6, Rev. 20:12; mute, Matt. 9:33, 11:5, 12:22, Luke 7:22, 11:14; kingdom, 1 Cor. 15:24; lame, Matt. 11:5; leper, Matt. 26:6, Mark 14:3; tablets, 2 Cor. 3:3; tribute collector, Matt. 10:3; water, John 2:9.


Circumlocution (Periphrasis) uses a descriptive phrase in place of a name in order to emphasize the association. Occurrences are: born of women (human) Matt. 11:11, Luke 7:28; the product of the grapevine (wine) Matt. 26:29: the city of David (Bethlehem) Luke 2:11; those sitting on the surface of the entire earth (humanity) Luke 21:35; terrestrial tabernacle house (body) 2 Cor. 5:1; those about to be enjoying the allotment of salvation (the saved) Heb. 1:14; in this tabernacle (alive) 2 Pet. 1:13; my tabernacle is to be put off (die) 2 Pet. 1:14; He Who is sitting on the throne (the Deity) Rev. 4:2, 10, 5:1, 7.


Ancient mirrors did not reflect clearly or fully. So also with God’s Word up to the latest revelations of Paul. Previous unfoldings he speaks of as an enigma (1 Cor 13:12).


The Symbol is a more or less permanent figure of likeness or association. In order to understand symbols there must be a close acquaintance with the figures of which they are composed. In no case should they conflict with literal or later revelation. They come too close to the realm of interpretation to be dealt with here at length. We simply add some examples of figures which seem to warrant this designation, as well as some symbelic actions. The action is literal, but is associated with and implies a spiritual attitude or activity. Thus, bowing the knee indicates worship.

Symbolic Objects

Cambric, horse, key, leaven, sheep, throne, trees, water.

Symbolic Actions

Beat the chest, Luke 18:13, 23:48; bind, Acts 21:11; bow the knee, Rom. 11:4, 14:11, Eph. 3:14, Phil. 2:10; gird up the loins, 1 Pet. l:13; give the right hand, Gal. 2:9; impose hands, 1 Tim. 4:14, 5:22, Heb. 6:2; kiss, Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Pet. 5:14; lift up eyes, Luke 18:13; lift up hands, Luke 24:50, 1 Tim. 2:8; loose sandals, Acts 7:33, 13:25; loose the thong, John 1:27; measure, Rev. 11:1; place foot on, Rev. 10:2; shake off dust, Matt. 10:14, Acts 13:51; shake out garment, Acts 18:6; sit at right, Col. 3:1, Heb. 1:3, 13, 8:1, 10:12; sit in sackcloth and ashes, Luke 10:13; spew out of mouth, Rev. 3:16: stand at door and knock, Rev. 3:20 stand at right, Acts 7:56; stand on, Rev. 10:5; taking hold of hand, Heb. 8:9; trumpet, Rev. 8, 9, 11; twitch off dust, Luke 9:5; wash feet. John 13:4-12; wash hands, Matt. 27:24; wipe off dust, Luke 19:11.


The arrangement of words, phrases and sentences determines their emphasis and helps in interpretation.


In impassioned and even in ordinary speech the important words are pushed to the fore, which produces emphasis, by means of Prominence (Hyperbaton). In an inflected language like Greek this can be done much more than in one like English, in which the sense depends, in some measure, on the position of a word in its sentence.


Parallelism or Correspondence consists of the repetition of a sentence or sentences in similar or contrastive terms and in the same order. An example is Luke 1:46-47:

My soul is magnifying the Lord,
And my spirit exults in God, my Saviour.

Soul corresponds to spirit, magnify to exult, and Lord to God. It may be extended so as to be written in several lines and then is sometimes called an Alternation. But, as there is no real difference, parallelism is a better term for all. It is not confined to poetry. It is especially effective in Contrastive Parallelism, as Matt. 6:19, 20:

Do not hoard for yourselves treasures on earth,
     where moth and corrosion are causing them to disappear,
          and where thieves are tunnelling and stealing.
Yet hoard for yourselves treasures in heaven,
     where neither moth nor corrosion are causing them to disapppear,
          and where thieves are not tunnelling or stealing.


A Reversal (Introversion, Epanodos, Antimetabole, Chiasmus) consists of the repetition of a sentence or sentences, or a larger section, in similar or contrastive terms, but in reverse order, The whole of Scripture is a reversal, beginning with the creation and ending with a new creation, in which the destruction by water (Gen. 1:2) corresponds to that by fire (2 Pet. 3:6-7, Rev. 20), its restoration (Gen. 1:2, 2:3) with the thousand years (Rev. 20:4), the serpent’s entry with the binding of Satan, etc. The life of our Lord and the four accounts of it are constructed according to this plan, for, after His rejection, He retraces His steps, as it were. Most of Paul’s epistles are arranged in this way, as the frameworks in the Complete Edition will show. In these larger writings, of course, this applies only to the outlines. The details may be parallelisms.

The recognition of this figure may be a help in interpretation, as in Matthew 7:6:

You may not be giving that which is holy to curs,
     nor yet should you be casting your pearls in front of hogs,
     lest at some time they [the hogs] be trampling them with their feet
and, turning, they [the curs] should be tearing you.

The structure of Romans is a good illustration of this figure as applied to a whole epistle. It is a regular reversal. except that the two main sections run parallel in their parts. Other examples are given in the notes of the Complete Edition of the Concordant Version.


The larger frameworks usually contain both parallelism and inversion. Thus the epistle to the Romans is a reveral, yet the two great doctrinal divisions, dealing with justification and conciliation are parallels. In such a case it is better to call the whole a Reversal with (Doctrinal) Parallelism, rather than make a new name.

Contrast (Antithesis) places one expression over against another of opposite meaning, as in Rom. 5:18, one offense is set over against one just award; in Acts16:37, publicly, surreptitiously; Rom. 5:19, disobedience, obedience; 6:7, 8, die, live; 8:5, 13, flesh, spirit; 2 Cor. 4:17, light affliction, burden of glory; 18, temporary, eonian; 2 Cor. 6:8-10, glory and dishonor, defamation and renown, deceivers and true, unknown and recognized, dying and living, sorrowing yet rejoicing, poor yet enriching, nothing and all; Phil. 3:7, gain, forfeit; 2Pet. 2:19, freedom, slavery.

Contraries (Enantiosis) is a contrast in which the difference is expressed by negations and affirmations, as righteousness not of law but of faith. See Luke 7:44:46.


As figures arise from fervor of speech, and this is inclined to be terse, they are often accompanied by the omission (Ellipsis) of words. The figure of Association may often be made literal by adding an explanatory phrase, as “ the cup [containing the wine] of blessing” (1 Cor. 10:16). Besides this there are omissions which cannot be so explalned as, “ finishing [the evangelization of] the cities Of Israel” (Matt. 10:23).


A very frequent and useful form of this figure is the omission of the noun, leaving the adjective to stand for it. This is usually explained as the use of the adjective instead of the noun (Antimereia), but it seems simpler to consider it as an omission, by which the adjective is emphasized. Examples as the good [people], the wicked, the blind, the lame, the rich, the poor, the twelve [apostles], etc., show how often this figure is used.


In the Original the pronoun is occasionally omitted, but, as a rule, it must be inserted in the translation. In the CONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT such insertions are given in light-faced type (Matt. 19:13, Mark 5:23, 6:5, 6:16, Luke 24:40, John 11:41, 15:6, Acts 2:29, 13:3, 29, 29, 19.:26, Rom. 8:23, 2 Cor..11:20, 20, Eph. 3:18, 2 Tim. 4:18, Heb. 4:15, 1 Pet. 2:23).


Occasionally the verb is unimportant and is omitted, so throwing the stress on that which is done, rather than on the action, as: gave, Matt. 14:19; coming, Mark 7:4; came, Acts 10:15; shall be vivified, 1Cor. 15:23; is nullified, remains, 2Cor. 3:11; etc. The verb substantive (to be) is frequently omitted in the Scriptures. It is selfevident as a rule, and its omission helps to stress other parts of the sentence. As it is printed in light-face type when not in the Greek, many examples may easily be found, as, glory [be] to God, Luke 2:14; God [is] spirit, John 4:24, etc.


When the omission of the verb seems to connect a verb with an incongruous object, this is called Zeugma. As it is seldom seen, a few examples will show that it is, in reality, a simple omission, “ Opened was his mouth, and his tongue [was loosed]” Luke 1:64. “ To do whatever Thy hand [does] and Thy counsel designates beforehand to occur” Acts 4:28. “ Milk I give you to drink, not solid food [to eat]” 1 Cor. 3:2.


When the different details of a statement are not to be separately considered, but to be hurried over in order to reach the climax, the conjunction and is omitted (Asyndeton). It should be compared with the opposite figure, Many-Ands (Polysyndeton) in which each statement is introduced by and, When the and occurs only before the last item enumerated, there is no figure. Some examples are: Mark 7:21, 16:17, 18, Luke 1:17, 14:13,l4, 17:27, Rom. 2:19-23, 1 Cor. 3:12, 4:8, 12:28, 30.


A striking effect is produced by breaking off a statement, and leaving it to be finished by the hearer (Aposiopesis). Hebrews 3:11 is a powerful example: If they shall be entering into My stopping—! Others are found in Mark8:12, Luke l3:9, 19:42, John 6:62, Acts 23:9.


Non-Sequence (Anacoluthon) is the breaking off of the thread of thought and so omitting to finish one sentence before beginning another, as Luke 21:6: These which you are beholding—there will be coming days . . . See Galatians 2:6.


When the conclusion is left to the imagination of the hearer, this may be classed as an omission (Syllogismus). Instead of saying that God’s care is very minute, our Lord said, “ of your head even the hairs are all numbered,” Matt. 10:30. See also Matt. 25:20. Luke 7:44.


That which is added for emphasis, and is not needed for the sense, may be considered the figure of Addition (Pleonasm, Redundance). Most of these are idioms carried over from the Hebrew, and may be classified under other figures as well. Thus, “ hollowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9) is the figure of Association, yet is not necessary for the sense, which could be expressed by be hollowed. So also the word son is frequently used, as “ the sons of mankind” (Mark 3:28), and hand, as “ through the hands of the apostles” (Acts 5:12), and face, “from the face of the Lord” (Acts3:19), and midst, as “severing the wicked from the midst of the just”  (Matt. 13:49). Other examples will be found under these words in the Concordance.

More rarely an unneeded word is added for emphasis or elegance, as: tabernacle house, 2 Cor. 5:1; blesses us with every spiritual blessing, Eph. 1:3.


Special emphasis is given to a statement if it is followed by its opposite with a negative, as: he avows and denies not, John 1:20. See also the following: John 1:3, Acts 18:9, Rom. 4:20, 12:11, 12:14, 1 Cor. 1:10, Gal. 5:l, 1 John 1:8.


Occasionally a hitherto unrecorded historical supplement (Hysteresis) is added, as: Zacharias, son of Berechiah, whom you murder between the temple and the altar (Mat 23:35), and: he dwells in a city termed Nazareth, so that that may be fulfilled which is declared through the prophets that: A Nazarene shall He be called (Matt. 2:23). Neither of these are written in the prophets. They are supplements, telling us what was done and spoken, but not recorded. Further examples may be found in Acts 9:22, 26 (Saul’s call), 2 Tim. 3:8, Heb. 9:19, 11:21, 12:21, James 5:17, Jude 9.


When the whole has been mentioned, and the parts are added, we may call this Enumeration (Merismos). When the whole is not mentioned, it does not really differ from an enumeration, and is called Dissection (Synathrismos). Of the former class, Galatians 5:22 is a good example, where the fruit of the spirit is enumerated. See also Romans 2:6-8, Galatians 5:19-21, and the occurrences of the word whether in the Concordance. In the latter class we have the list of things which make up the apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1-3). See also Romans 1:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 1 Peter 4:3.


An Enumeration which is condensed is sometimes called Summarizing (Epitrochasmos). See Hebrews 11:39.


A Summary (Symperasma) gives a brief epitome of the foregoing. See Matthew 1:17, John 20:30, Hebrews 11:39.



A Parenthesis (Interpositio) is an independent statement in the midst of another, without grammatical connection. These are usually enclosed in curved marks in the text of the Concordant Literal New Testament. A few examples follow: Matt. 24:15, Mark 7:2, 3, 4, 11, 13:14, Heb. 2:9, 2 Pet. 1:19.


A Parenthesis more or less independent may be called a Running Remark (Epitrechon). It is usually set off by dashes or parentheses.

Thus, in John 2:9, the remark is injected: (yet the servants who have drawn the water were aware). See also Matt. 9:6, John 4:8, 9, Acts 1:15, Rom. 3:5, 8, 8, 8:20, 9:3, 10:6, 7, Eph. 2:5, 5, 11, Col. 2:22, Heb. 12:20, 21.


A longer parenthesis is given the special name of Insertion (Parabole). Thus in Mark 7:3, 4 a long explanation is inserted. In 2 Cor. 12:2, 3 two sentences are inserted. Elsewhere whole paragraphs are evidently insertions, as 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, which reads on only if these verses are omitted. See also 2 Cor. 3:5, Eph. 3:2-13.


A Parenthetic Apology (Hypotimesis) is used to excuse a seeming impropriety, as 2 Cor. 11:21: (in imprudence am I saying it), or Rom. 3:5: (As a man am I saying it).


The Postscript (Epicrisis) as a detached remark concerning what has been said. It occurs most frequently in John’s account, as John 3:24: for not as yet was John cast into jail. See also John 1:28, 34, 6:4, 7:5, 8:20, 27, 9:14, 22, 10:22, 23, 11:13, 30, 12:33, Acts 19:20, 1 John 3:1.


An Intensification (Epitasis) is a concluding sentence which emphasizes what has been said, as Acts 7:5: He does not give him any allotment to enjoy in it, nor even a platform for a foot. See John 13:34.


Climax (Anabasis) is an increase in sense or emphasis by steps, as in I Corinthians 4:8: sated, rich, reign. See also Luke 11:9: request, seek, knock; 1 John 1:1: was heard, seen, gazed upon, handled.


Exaggeration (Hyperbole) adds to the sense more than is intended, as when the Pharisees said: the world came away after Him (John 12:19). See also Luke 2:l, John 3:26, 1 Cor. 4:15, Jas. 3:6, 4:1.


Anticlimax (Catabasis) is a decrease in sense or emphasis by steps. The seven steps in our Saviour’s descent to the cross is the most striking example (Phil. 2:6-8).



Alliteration (Homoeopropheron) repeats the same letter or sound at the beginning of words.

End Rhyme (Homoeoteluton) repeats the sound at the end of words.

Inflection Rhyme (Homoeoptoton, Paramcoeosis) repeats the same inflection, hence the same sound at the end of words.

These forms are seen only in the original language, and it is never certain whether the similarity is simply incidental or intended.

The Acrostic (Acrostichion) is the repetition of certain letters according to the alphabet, to spell words, or some definite arrangement. It occurs in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, but not in the Greek.


Rhyme (Paronomasia) is the repetition of the same sound, in the original languages. As this may often be incidental, without design, its presence is not always intentional, and should only be noticed when the emphasis is obvious.


In Duplication (Epizeuxis) the same word or phrase is repeated for emphasis, as the “ Verily, verily” of John’s account. A list of the most of them follows in alphabetical order:

Crucify, Luke 23:21; Doctor, Luke 8:24; Eloi, Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34; how very (See as much as), Heb. 10:37; Jerusalem, Matt. 23:37, Luke 13:34; Lord, Mat 7:21, 22, 25:11, Luke 6:46, 13:25; Martha, Luke 10:41; no, Matt. 5:37, 2 Cor. 1:17; Rabbi, Mark 14:45; Saul, Acts 9:4; Simon, Luke 22:31; verily, John 1:51, 3:3, 5, 11, 5:19, 24, 25, 6:26, 32, 47, 53, 8:34, 51, 58, 10:1, 7, 12:24, 13:16, 20, 21, 38, 16:20, 23, 21:18; yes, Matt. 5:37, 2 Cor. 1:17, James 5:12.


As the conjugated form of the verb, in the Original, (e.g. kaleõ, I-AM-CALLING) includes the pronoun, it is generally omitted in the Greek. If it is used, it is emplatic. In THE CONCORANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT such pronouns are indicated by an accent mark (´). The emphatic pronoun I is especially frequent in John’s account, as in 17:4: I´ glorify Thee on the earth.


Repetition usually is emphatic even when it occurs irregularly, as Galatians 4:9: turn back again . . . to slave again. See also James 5:7, patient; 5:13, 14, anyone: 1 John 3:5, 8, manifest.

Repetition of phrases (Cycloides) does not differ from words as 1 Corinthians 13:9: out of an instalment.


Wordplay (Antanaclasis or Ploke) repeats the same word in a figurative sense, as Matt. 8:22: leave the dead to entomb their own dead. Also world, John 1:10; believe (entrust), John 2:23, 24; above (over),   and of the earth, John 3:31; eat, John 4:31, 32; written, John 19:22; Israel, Romans 9:6.


Extended Wordplay (Syncoeceiosis) repeats the expression with a more extended meaning. Thus Paul repeats the word briefly (Acts 26:28, 29).


Derivation (Paregmenon) repeats the root of a word, but not the sense, as Romans 5:19: disobedience, obedience; Romans 2:l: judging, condemning (DOWN-JUDGing). It can only be found by tracing the word back to the original language.


Useless Repetition (Battologia) is the use of the same expression without adding any sense or emphasis (Matt. 6:7, Acts 19:34).


Detailing (Prosapodosis) is the repetition of an expression in order to add more detail, as: Rom. 11:22, kindness, severity. See also John 16:8-11, Philipplans 1:15-17.


Lingering (Epimone) is the repetition of an idea in order to impress it: Matt. 7:21-23, 15:18-20, Mark 7:20-23, John 21:15-17, Col. 2:14-15. 


A Double Negative repeats and emphasizes the negation. As this cannot usually be carried over into English, we have rendered it: under no circumstances, by no means, etc. See these in the Concordance.


Synonym (Synonymia) is the repetition or overlapping of the sense in a series of expressions, not merely to add to the sense, but to emphasize it. As words are used with the greatest precision in the Scriptures, it is seldom that we can restrict synonyms to this figure, for each word adds to the sense as well as to the emphasis, as a rule. Thus in Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27: you shall be loving the Lord, your God, out of your whole heart ... soul ... comprehension ... strength. There is overlapping of the sense and heavy emphasis. Other examples are: counsel, foreknowledge, Acts 2:23; gibbet, assassinate, Acts 2:23; kindness, forbearance, patience, Rom. 2:4; glory, honor, incorruption, Rom. 2:7; indignation, fury, affliction, distress, Rom. 2:8-9; glory, honor, peace, Rom. 2:10; guide, light, discipliner, teacher, Rom. 2:19; stumbling stone, snare rock, Rom. 9:33 languages, lips, 1Cot. 14:21; accept, taught, Gal. 1:12; sovereignty, authority, power, lordship, Eph. 1:21; psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16; learned, accepted, hear, perceived, Phil. 4:9; thrones, lordships, sovereignties, authorities, Col. 1:16; grace, mercy, peace, 1 Tim. 1:2, 2 Tim. 1:2.


Interpretation (Hermeneia) repeats what has been said in other words or in another languaze, as: Emmanuel, God with us. Matt. 1:23; Messiah, Christ, John 1:41. See Matt. 27:46, Mark 5:41, 15:22, 34, John 1:38, Acts 4 ;36, 9:36, 13:8.


Intertwining (Symploke) is the repetition of two or more expressions with more or less regularity, as 1 Cor. 15:42-44: It is sown in corruption; it is roused in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is roused in glory. It is sown in infirmity; it is roused in power It is sown a soulish body; it is roused a spiritual body. See also 1 Cor. 12:4-6, 14:15, 2 Cor. 9:6, Rev. 18:21-23.


Beginning Repetition (Anaphora) repeats the same word at the commencement of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. It is a simple and effective means of impressing an idea on the mind. Matt. 5:3-11, the so-called beatitudes, is a fine example, for the word “ happy” is repeated nine times; Matt. 11:18, came: Rom. 8:33-34, who; 1Cor. 3:9, God’s; 1 Cor. 6:11, but; 1 Cor. 11:3, head; 1 Cor. 13:7, all; 1 Cor. 13:8, whether; 2 Cor. 7:11, nay; 2 Cor. 11:26, dangers; Eph. 6:12, with; Phil. 3:2, beware; Phil. 4:2, entreating; Phil. 4:8, whatever; 1 John 1:1-3, which.


Commencing Repetition (Epibole) is the repetition of phrases or sentences (instead of words) at the start of a statement, as: 1 Cor. 6:12, All is allowed me. See also Acts 20:22, 25.


Resumption (Epanalepsis) is the repetition of the same word after a line of thought has been broken, See 1 Cor. 10:28, 29, Eph. 3:1, 14.


Beginning and Middle Repetition (Mesarchia): receiving, Matt. 10:40, 41.


Beginning and End Repetition (Epanadiplosis) repeats the first word or phrase at the end of a sentence or passage. In Luke 12:5 “ be afraid” is repeated at the end of the statement with telling effect. Examples: hear, Mark 7:14-16: watch, 13:35; afraid, Luke 12:5; expectation, Rom. 8:24; Christ, Gal. 2:20; be rejoicing, Phil. 4:4; what is the benefit, Jame 2:14-16: hallelujah, Rev. 19:1-3.


Middle Repetition (Mesodiplosis) repeats regularly in the center of the sentence, as “ but not” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).


Middle and End Repetition (Mesoteleuton) repeats at the end what is in the middle, Mark 5:2, 3, tombs.


End Repetition (Epistrophe) repeats the same word at the end of each clause, or sentence, as, in Revelation 22:11: Let the injurer injure still: and let the filthy one be filthy still: and let the just one do righteousness still: and let the holy one be hallowed still. Examples: Rom. 8:31, us; Rom. 14:8, living, dying: Rev. 7:5-8.

At the end of an argument it may be specially classified (Epiphoza), as 2 Cor. 11:22, I also.

Refrain (Amoebaeon) is the special name given this figure, when it is poetical, or embraces a full statement, as Rev. 18:21, 22, 22, 23, 23, nevermore, or Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22, Who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias. See also Matt. 6:2, 5, 16, and 4, 6, 18; Luke 13:3, 5; John 6:39, 40, 44, 54.


End and Beginning Repetition (Anadiplosis) repeats the last word of a sentence or phrase in commencing the next, as John 1:14, we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only begotten . . . (It is not always clear in a translation.) Matt. 7:22, in your name: 10:40, receiving Me; Lake12:5, be afraid: John14:11, the Father: John 18:37, I; Rom. 8:17, enjoyers of allotment; Rom. 9:30, righteousness; 10:17, tidings; 2 Cor. 9:6, sparingly; Phil. 2:8, death; James 1:3-4, endurance.

When this figure is repeated, it is especially impressive, and sometimes named Gradation, as Romans 8:30; these He calls also; and whom He calls, these He justifies also: now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also. See also John 1:1, 1:4, 5, Rom. 5:3-5, 10:14, 15, James 1:3, 4, 14, 15, 2 Pet. 1:5, 7.


When each detail of a statement is to be considered for itself, the different items are separated by the conjunction and (Polysyndeton). It should be compared with the opposite figure, NO-ANDS, in which the “ ands” are omitted. When the “ and” occurs only before the last item of a series, there is no figure. A good example is found in Luke 10:27: you shall be loving the Lord, your God, out of your whole heart, and in your whole soul, and with your whole strength, and with your whole comprehension, and your associate as yourself. It occurs frequently.

EITHER . . . OR’s

Either . . . or’s (Paradiastole), when the or (or nor) is unnecessarily repeated, emphasizes each separate item, as Romans 8:38-39: neither death nor life, nor messengers, nor sovereignties, nor the present, nor what is impending, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation. Only the first neither and the last nor are needed for the
sense. The repetition stresses each particular. Examples: Matt. 19 :29, Mark l0:29, Luke 14:12, 18:29, John 1:13, 1 Cor. 3:21-22, 2 Thes. 2:2.


Inflection Repetition (Polyptoten) is a striking feature of the sacred text which is worthy of much study, as it is strange to our language and cannot be idiomatically translated. The only practical course is to carry over the figure and then explain its force. For study we divide the occurrences into various classes. In every case there must be the same stem repeated, but in a different form, as: hearing they may be hearing (Mark 4:12), covenanting a covenant (Luke 22:29), eons of the eons, etc. The mere fact that the same word follows in another grammatical form does not make this figure, however. The occurrences must be mutually related, so as to make a striking combination.

Verb with Participle: bless, Eph. 1:3, Heb. 6:14; multiply, Heb. 6:14; observe, Matt. 13:13, 14, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, 10:23, Acts 28:26; perceive, Acts 7:34; hear, Mark 4:12.

Verb with Infinitive: contain, Matt. 19:12; hear, Matt. 11:15, 13:9, 43, Mark 4:9, 23, 7:16, Luke 8:8, 14:35.

Verb with Noun: anathema, Acts 23:14; charge, Acts 5:28; contend, 1 Tim. 6:12, 2 Tim. 4:7; covenant, Luke Z2:29, Heb. 10:16; fear, Mark 4:41; grow, Col. 2:19; hear, Matt. 13:14, Acts 28:26; joy, Matt. 2:10, John 3:29; judge (sentence), Rev. 18:20, leaven, Gal. 5:9; marvel, Rev. 17:6; name, Eph. 1:21; pray, Eph. 6:18, Jas. 5:17; reproach, Rom. 15:3; scorch, Rev. 16:9; shadow, Acts 5:15; stumble, Rom. 9:32; teaching, Matt. 15:9; war, 1 Tim. 1:18; work, John 6:28, 9:4; yearn, Luke 22:15.

Noun with Noun: expectation, Rom. 4:18; heaven, John 3:13; Him, Rom. 11:36; law, Gal. 2:19.

Noun with Genitive: eon of the eon, Heb. 1:8; eon of the eons, Eph. 3:21; eons of the eons, Gal..l:5, Phil. 4:20, 1 Tim. 1:17, Heb. 13:21, 1 Pet.4:ll, 5:11, Rev. 1:6, 18, 4:9, 10, 5:13, 7:12, 10:6, 11:15, 14:11, 15:7, 19:3. 20:10, 22:5; holy of holies, Heb. 9:3; King of kings. 1 Tim. 6:15. Rev. 17:14, 19:16; Lord of lords. 1 Tim. 6:15. Rev. 17:14, 19:16.


A Proverb (Parcemia) repeats a well-known saying. Our Lord used proverbs (John 16:25, 25, 29). Parts of His parables seem to have been of this character (John 10:6). The proverbs of the bathed sow and the cur returning to its vomit complete the list of those actually named in the Scriptures. The others listed may, or may not, be proverbs: thong of sandals, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:16; prophet dishonored, Mark 6:4, John 4:44; salt, Mark 9:50; vultures. Luke 17:37; good out of Nazareth, John 1:46; sheep, John 10:6; goads, Acts26:14; little leaven, 1 Cor. 5:6; stand, fall, 1 Cor. 10:12; all clean to the clean, Titus 1:15; cur and sow, 2 Pet. 2:22.


Reference (Gnome), including all, from a mere Allusion to an exact Quotation, repeats the words, or sense, of what was previously spoken or written. In The Concordant Literal New Testament these are carefully discriminated. Actual quotations are enclosed in quotation marks, carefully excluding words not in the quoted text. Many passages usually taken as quotations are intentionally left without marks to show that they are not exact repetitions, but. mere references.


Grammatical Substitution (Antimereia) consists in the use of one part of speech for another. Even in English the participle, though listed as a verb, is frequently used as a noun, as “ writing.” In Greek this is far more frequent. But the participle is not a pure verb, but rather a verbal adjective; the infinitive is a verbal noun. Hence their use as a noun is not as abnormal as our classification (which places them artificially with verbs) makes them.


Infinitive for Noun: sight (to-be-looking) Luke 7:21; solution (to-up-loose) Phil 1:23; life (to-be-living) Heb. 2:15; entering (to be into-coming) Heb. 4:1.

Participle for Noun: Matt. 11:3, the coming One. Frequent.

Participle (Passive) for Adjective: self-censured (having-been-down-known, Gal. 2:11).


Adverb for Noun: The word associate is an adverb. With be or become the adverb makes a noun. Examples: John 6:25, Mark 4:10, Acts 5:24, 13:5, Rom. 7:3, 16:7, Eph. 2:13, 2 Thes. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:17.

Adverb for Adjective: our outward man (the out of-us human) 2 Cor. 4:16. See also 2 Cor. 4:17.


Adjective for Adverb: public(ly) Acts 16:37.

Adjective for Noun: Better classified under Omission, as the noun seems to be understood.


Noun for Adverb: In truth, with boldness.

Noun for Adjective: Better classified as Association, which see.

Noun repeated in the genitive for Adjective: This is also better classified under Association, When the first noun is the modified, it is a special figure (Hypallage), as: superabundance (superabounding) Rom. 5:17; law (legal) Rom. 9:31; secret, Eph. 1:9: promise (promised) Heb. 9:15.

Two Nouns, one in the genitive, usually seem to make one an Adjective: Matt. 19:28, throne of glory (glorious throne).

Noun repeated in the Genitive Plural is better classified under Inflected Repetition.

Noun in the dative for Adjective: Acts 7:20 (divinely); 2 Cor. 10:4 (to God).


Substitution of Case (Antiptosis), or of Accidence (Meterosis), are sometimes called figures, but it is questionable whether such exist except in errors of transmission, loosehess of translation and inexact interpretation. Heterosis of the gender, however, is quite common. The so-called “ neuter” is used for persons, but, as this is really an indefinite, this is not out of the way. But such terms as mankind, saint, etc., though mascu!ine or feminine in form, take the masculine article. Hence the masculine is used for both genders by this figure.


Logical Concord (Syllepsis). As the grammatical concord is sometimes artificial, the logical may supersede it, as: 2 Cor. 5:19, God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their (the people of the world’s) offenses to them.


One in Two (Hendiadys) is the use of two terms joined by and, which merge in such a way that one becomes an intensified modifier. Thus, the province and shadow of death. Matt. 4:16, seems to be the (deeply) shadowed province of death. The following are examples: joy and exultation, Luke 1:14; spirit and power, Luke 1:17; digs and deepens, Luke 6:48: mouth and wisdom, Luke 21:15; expectation and resurrection, Acts 23:6; happy expectation and the glory of the advent, Titus 2:13.

One in Three (Hendiatris) is the same with more added terms. John 14:6: I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. As the question concerns the Way, the added terms may emphasize the fact that He is the true and living way.


Variance includes a variety of figures in which something else is meant than is literally said, In derision they said of our Lord: Others He saves . . . , but they meant nothing of the sort.


Irony (Eironeia) literally means just the opposite of what is intended. It centers chiefly around the cross of Christ, when those who crucified Him called Him king (Matt. 27:29, 37, Mark 15:18, 26, 32, Luke23:38, John 18:39, 19:3, 14, 19, 21), or spoke of Him saving Himself (Luke 23:37, 39), or others (Matt. 27:42, Mark 15:31, Luke 23.:35). Other occurrences: demolishing the temple, Matt. 27:40, Mark 15:29; His confidence in God, Matt. 27:43: the coming of Elijah, Mark 15:36; the Corinthians reigned, 1 Cor. 4:8; you (Teacher) are true, Matt. 22:16; repudiating God’s precept, Mark 7:9; Paul’s injustice, 2 Cor. 12:13.


Double Meaning (Amphibologia) is a statement which is both literally and figuratively true, as when the chief priest prophesied that one man should be dying for the sake of the people (John 11:50).


Illusion is a figure in which the impression made on our senses is stated in place of the actual facts, as: the mariners suspected some country to be nearing them (Acts 27:27).


Probing consists in making statements which seem to imply the contrary to the truth, as when our Lord said: Whence should we be buying bread . . . ? (John 6:5), when He was aware that He was about to perform a miracle, yet wished to try Philip. Much of revelation, including the law, is of this nature. so that human inferences are apt to be false. This helps to make all revelation up to Paul’s final unfoldings an Enigma.


Wise-Folly (Oxymoron) is usua!ly a striking antithesis, made possible by figurative language, as: the stupidity of God is wiser than men (1 Cor. 1:25). The following are examples: light, darkness, Matt. 6:23; (soul) save, destroy, Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24; foremost, slave, Matt. 20:27, Mark 10:44; smaller, great, Luke 9:48; (soul) procure, destroy, Luke 17:33; behind, in front, John 1:15. 27, 30; (soul) fond, destroy, hate, guard, John 12:25; worthy, dishonor, Acts 5:41; stupidity, wiser, 1 Cor. 1:25; weak, disgrace, strong, 1 Cor. 1:27; stupid, disgrace, wise, 1 Cor. 1:27; be stupid to be wise, 1 Cor. 3:18; deceivers, yet true, 2 Cor. 6:8; dying, living, 2 Cor. 6:9; sorrowing, ever rejoicing, 2 Cor. 6:10; poor, enriching, 2 Cor. 6:10; poverty, generosity, 2 Cor. 8:2; less than the least, Eph. 3:8.


Belittling (Tapeinosis) is the deliberate use of a weak term, in order to express the contrary, as: saying that he is somebody (Acts 5:36), or it often is a negation of the opposite of that which is intended, as: no insignicant city (Acts 21:39). The following are examples: I presume not, Luke 17:9; be somewhat, Gal. 2:6; (Bethlehem) in no respect least, Matt. 2:6; it is not ideal, Matt. 15:26; it is not the will, Matt. 18:14; no slight commotion, Acts 15:2: not measureably consoled, Acts 20:12; not be slothful, Acts 9:38: Paul not stubborn, Acts 26:19; no slight tempest, Acts 27:20; not to be ignorant, Rom. 1:13; not ashamed of evangel, Rom. 1:16; expectation not mortifying, Rom. 5:5: Paul not applauding, 1 Cor. 11:22; we are not ignorant, 2 Cor. 2:11; God not ashamed, Heb. 11:16; I am no widow, Rev. 18:7.


An Idiom (Idioma) is an expression or mannerism, peculiar to a language, which does not convey the proper sense when literally translated. Most of the so-called idioms are merely figures of speech, or unusual expressions, some of which may be transferred from one language into another. Some refer to peculiar customs, hence should be kept, as, “ breaking bread” or “ taking tea.” “ Breaking bread” is the figure of Near Association, for to this day bread is actually broken with meals, and stands for partaking of ordinary food. The phrase, “ three days and three nights” (Matt. 12:40), for that which extends into three days, no matter how little; is nearer a true idiom, for it contains no figure and conveys an idea contrary to its literal meaning. Besides the grammatical idiom and the words, the following may be mentioned: the evilly having (the ill), Mark 1:32; take hold of hand (be patron), Heb. 8:9; voice of mouth, Acts 22:14; open the mouth (speak), Acts 18:14; turn back on the Lord (to the Lord), Acts 11:21; doing time (spending time), Acts 18:23; faith in one another (one another’s faith), Rom. 1:12.


Incongruity (Catachresis) is the use of expressions which, strictly taken, are incorrect, yet they set forth a distant relation or even contrast, making a striking impression, as Rev. 1:12: I turn about to look for the voice. They usually include some other figure also. The following may be taken as examples: Matt. 12:5, profaning; Matt. 24:29, powers shaken; Luke 16:17, serif fall; Acts 13:34, faithful benignities; 1 Cor. 1:25, stupidity, weakness: Col. 3:5, deaden members; Heb. 13:15, fruit of the lips.



Rhetorical Figures deal with the sense and the manner in which, not merely information, but feeling is conveyed. Questions are asked, not to ascertain facts, but to soften the diction. Exclamations are used to intensify the effect. The mode of expression suits the circumstances.


Adjuration (Deesis) is a calling on others to witness. Paul adjured the Thessalonians, 1 Thess. 2:10.


Affirmation (Affirmatio) is used in insisting on a fact, as: I am rejoicing . . . and will be rejoicing nevertheless, Phil. 1:18.


Anticipation (Prolepsis) answers an argument beforehand, as: persisting in sin that grace should be increasing, Rom. 6:1, 2. See also Matt. 3:9, Rom. 4:1-3, 7:7, 9:6, 14, 15, 19, 10:18, 11:1, 11, 19, 1 Cor. 15:35.

Also used of mentioning beforehand or predicting, as when Herod locks John up in jail in the midst of the account of his baptizing, Luke 3:19, 20. See also Heb. 2:8.

APOSTROPHE[starbullet.gif (96 bytes)]

Apostrophe turns from the impersonal to direct address, either general, as: Whence are battles . . . among you? James 4:1-6; or individual, as, Who are you? Rom. 9:20, 14:4; you are, Gal. 4:7; noting yourself, Gal. 6:1; or a class, as: you are . . . a Jew, Rom. 2:17; you, the nations, Rom. 11:13; O wife, 1 Cor. 7:16.


Blessing (Benedictio) is the ascription of bliss, as: Blessed is He Who is coming in the name of the Lord, Luke 13:35, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Eph.1:3.


Boldness (Elautheria), or candor, is speech without restraint, such as should be used in the things of God. See the word boldness in the Concordance.


Cause Shown (Aetiologia) gives the reason for a statement, as: I am not ashamed of the evangel, for it is God’s power for salvation, Rom. 1:16. Frequent.


Common Cause (Anacoenosis) is an appeal to others with common interests, as: your sons . . . they shall be your judges, Luke 11:19; . . . judge you, Acts 4:19, 1 Cor. 10:15, 11:13; What are you wanting? 1 Cor. 4:21; Tell me . . . Gal. 4:21.


Concession (Synchoresls) grants one point in order to make another, as: And would that you surely reign, that we also should be reigning with you, 1 Cor. 4:8. See also Rom. 2:17-23; 2 Cor. 10:1; Gal. 4:15; James 2:19.


Conciliation (Protherapeia) is a preparatory ingratiating statement, as calling our Lord “ Teacher,” Matt. 19:16, Mark10:17, Luke 18:18, John3:2. See also Acts 17:22, 22:3, 26:3.


Correction (Epanorthosls) is a statement made to accord with the facts, as: I am believing ! lielp my unbelief, Mark 9:24. See also Ivlf, t. 11:9, Rom. 14:14, John 12:27, 16:32, Acts 26:27, Rom. 14:4, I Cor. 7:10, 15:10, Gal. 1:6, 2:20, 3:4, 4:9.


Double Correction (Amphidiorthosis) deals with both sides, as: Shall I be applauding you in this? I am not applauding, 1 Cor. 11:22.


Counter-Blame (Metastasis) transfers the blame from one to another, as: the law is spiritual, yet I am fleshly, Rom. 7:14.


Counter-Question (Anteisagoge) answers one question by asking another, as our Lord did when they questioned His authority, Matt. 21:24, Mark 11:29. See also Matt. 15:2, 3, Mark 2:25, Rom. 9:20.


Detestation (Apodioxis) is a rejection with horror, as: Go away, Satan, Mat 4:10. See also Matt. 16:23, Acts 8:20, Phil, 3:8.


Dialogue (Antimetathesis) brings in one or more speakers, as when the nations say: Boughs are broken out that I may be grafted in, Rom. 11:19, 1 Cor. 15:35.


Digression (Parecbasis) is a strong term of Parenthesia, a stepping aside to examine a different, but related, subject, as 1 Cor. 15:20-28.


Doubt (Aporia) is the expression of uncertainty, as: What shall I be doing? Luke 16:3. See Matt. 21:25, 26.


Exclamation (Ecphonesis) consists in words or sentences evidently uttered with strong feeling, as: O generation, unbelieving and perverse! Matt. 17:17. As it is followed by an exclamation point, it is easily distinguished.


Exhortation (Paraeneticon) or entreaty calls for becoming conduct, as: I am entreating you . . . to present your bodies . . . Rom. 12:1. See the word entreat in the Concordance for examples..


Exultation (Paeanismos) calls for rejoicing, as: Be rejoicing in the Lord always! Again, I will declare, be rejoicing! Phil. 4:4. See 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 2:18, 3:1, James 1:1, 1 Pet. 4:13, Rev. 18:20.


Happiness (Beatitudo) is the statement (rather than wish) that certain will possess it, as: Happy is he who is not judging himself in that which he is attesting, Rom. 14:22. Frequent. See the word happy in the Concordance.


Ignoring (Accismus) is an apparent refusal (Matt. 15:23) or silence (Matt. 27:12, 14).


Imprecation (Maledictio) is the denunciation with a curse, as: Woe to me if I should not be bringing the evangel! 1 Cor. 9:16. See the word woe in the Concordance.


Inclusion associates the speaker or writer with those addressed, as: they (nations) grope for Him . . . not far from each one of us, Acts 17:27.


Indication (Asterismos) points out a passage by means of special words, as: lo, verily, yea or yes.


Indignation (Aganactesis) is an expression conveying strong condemnation, as: Progeny of vipers! Matt. 3:7, 12:34, 23:33, Luke 3:7; Serpent! Matt. 23:33, Acts 13:10.


Interrogation (Erotesis) is a statement in the form of a question. Often, in the Scriptures, a question is put, not for information, but to suggest, rather than to state, the self-evident answer, as: Where is the wise? 1 Cor. 1:20. It must be remembered that the question marks, in a translation, are not inspired. There is no indication of a question in the Greek except the context.


Mocking (Chleuasmos) gives expression to sneers and jeers, as: Others he saves! Himself he cannot save! If he is king of Israel, let him descend . . . (Matt. 27:42). See Luke 16:16.


Negation (Negatio) is used in denying the opposite of the affirmative desire, as: not even for an hour do we simulate by subjection (Gal. 2:5).


Pathos (Pathopoeia) is the expression of strong feeling, such as love or hatred, joy or sorrow, as when our Lord laments (Luke 19:41) and groans (Mark 7:34), or is indignant (Mark 3:5), or resents (Mark 10:14), or Paul has affliction and pressure of heart (2 Cor. 2:4) and is travailing {Gal. 4:19), or is refreshed (2 Tim. 1:16), or others are harrowed and gnash their teeth (Acts 7:54, 57).


Prayer (Euche) is the expression of a wish or desire to God, as Paul to Agrippa (Acts 26:29). It is much used by Paul, as in Ephesians 1:3, 16, 3:14, etc. See the words pray and prayer in a Concordance.


Questionable Assertion is a direct statement intended as a question, as: You are the King of the Jews? Matt. 27:11, Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3, John 18:33; You are not hearing . . . ? Matt. 27:13; You are not answering anything? Mark 15:4; A King are you? John 18:37.


Raillery (Diasyrmos) a tearing away of a disguise, as when our Lord said to Judas: Comrade, for what are you. present? Matt. 26:50.

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