The Creation Account: How Moses Taught Faith to the Jews... and Me
- Thursday, July 25, 2013
L, I hope that my journey might be of help to your young friends and others. At the minimum, these are some things you might consider as you are reconciling the Bible with Science.
P.S. Dear Reader,
You may stop reading here. My answer is completed.
However, if you want to know more about the literary devices used by biblical authors to communicate truth to us, I have summarized several of them below. I hope you find them informative and helpful as you study the Bible.
Much of the Bible is written in prose and understood as literally true just as it is written. The Bible is replete with narrative stories which actually occurred as recorded. So, we interpret prose as prose. In the same way, we interpret poetry as poetry.
The Bible also contains metaphors. A metaphor is a comparison not using the words "like" or "as." For example, Jesus declared, "I am the door." None of us believe that statement to be literally true. Jesus is not made out of wood and hinges. He used a metaphor to describe Himself as the way into eternal life. We understand metaphors as metaphors.
The Bible is filled with similes. A simile is a comparison using the words "like" or "as." In the Olivet Discourse Jesus described the end times as follows: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." The end will not come with the days of Noah; however, the end will be like the days of Noah. So, we understand that similes are not literally true, but they use one thing to help make something else easier to understand. So, we interpret similes as similes.
Onomatopoeia is a literary device that uses a word that sounds like the meaning of the word itself. For example, when the Rich Young Ruler turned His back on Jesus, Jesus "looked upon him with compassion." 'Compassion' is translated from a Greek word that actually sounds like someone's inner-most body parts being spilled out. Jesus' insides did not literally pour out. But, we experience from that particular word an insight into Christ's deep, emotional, heart-broken feelings of compassion for the young man who made the wrong choice. We interpret onomatopoeia as onomatopoeia.
Jesus often used Greek chiasms to teach truth. A chiasm is a Greek literary device used to invoke deep thought and consideration. Four clauses are arranged like an "X" in the rhyme scheme a-b-b-a. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 7:6: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." His statement is only understood by unraveling the chiasm. The first and fourth clauses go together as do the second and third. Now, His words make sense. Otherwise they seem like gibberish. We interpret chiasms as chiasms.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Recently on Ask Roger
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content