The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 143 of 144
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in proof. At the same time, the passage contains something more. This may be a good
opportunity for introducing to young people that important auxiliary, a knowledge of
Figures of Speech. There is a figure which is called Hendiadys--a cumbersome name
until understood. Hen is Greek for "one"; dia is Greek for "through"; dys is from duo
("two"), and so it is "The one-by-means-of-two" figure, two words being used, while one
thing is intended. The familiar expression "bread and butter" in everyday English is an
example of this figure. We do not mean a separate piece of butter in the same way that
we do when we say "bread and cheese"; what we really mean is "buttered bread", with
an emphasis upon the "butter". This adjective therefore is put forward and made into a
noun. John 14: 6 is an example of Hendiatris, or "one-by-means-of-three", and means,
"I am the way, yes, the true and living way".
We must find space later on to give a few words of explanation concerning the most
important Figures of Speech, but will not digress here. The figure emphasizes the two
important facts that Christ, the way, is both true and living.
The ordinary English usage of the word true limits it to that which is the opposite of
"false", and this of course is a frequent meaning in the N.T. There is, however, another
very important usage arising out of the fact that in the Old Testament there are so many
types and shadows. When we read in Heb. 8: 2 of "the true tabernacle, which the
Lord pitched, and not man", the passage does not imply that the tabernacle pitched by
Moses was false, but that it was but a type of shadow. This is actually said to be the case
in Heb. 9: 24: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which
are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself." So, when we read in John that Christ is
the "true light" (1: 9), the "true bread" (6: 32), the "true vine" (15: 1) and the "true
way" (14: 6), they are viewed as the real in contrast with the type and shadow.
Not only is Christ the true or the antitypical way, He is also the "living way". The
question of the angel at the sepulchre: "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" is
applicable here. This way is "living" because it has essentially to do with resurrection,
"Thou wilt show me the path of life" (Psa. 16: 11). John not only speaks of Christ as the
living way, but tells of "living water" (4: 10); "living bread" (6: 51); and the Son of
the "living God" (6: 69). A dead way or a merely typical way can never lead us back to
the "living God".
A new and living way.
In Hebrews the "living God" is mentioned four times, and we read in 10: 19, 20 of
"A new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us". The utter failure of the
typical way is the theme of Hebrews:--
"The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle
was yet standing: which was a FIGURE for the time then present" (Heb. 9: 8, 9).