The Berean Expositor
Volume 25 - Page 176 of 190
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"With all thy getting, get understanding" (Prov. 4: 7).
#16.  Figures of Speech.
An examination of the scope of the subject.
pp. 12 - 14
The first examination in scriptural subjects taken by the writer after his conversion
was in the subject of the "figurative language of the Bible", following a course of lectures
given by the Rev. Jas. Neil, M.A. His little book, entitled "Strange Figures", consisting
of only 96 pages, is a treasure, and every reader is urged to secure a copy whenever the
opportunity occurs. The larger and more complete work on the subject is, of course,
"Figures of speech used in the Bible" by Dr. E. W. Bullinger, which has become a
classic.  In that work two hundred and seventeen figures of speech are tabulated,
explained and illustrated by Scripture,  these illustrations amounting to nearly
8,000 references.
The Companion Bible, in Appendix 6, gives a list of 181 figures of speech, arranged
in alphabetical order with their classical and English names, a short explanation, and
several scriptural references.  A patient examination of this Appendix alone would
provide a very useful acquaintance with the figures of speech used in the Bible. The
alphabetical order, however, although suitable for easy reference, does not provide the
best way of learning the subject. The first figure given in this Appendix is Accismus or
Apparent Refusal (Matt. 15: 22-26). Now this is starting the subject in the middle. We
have to learn that Accismus is a figure of speech involving change; and further, that
change affects the meaning, the arrangement, and the application of words. We discover,
further, that Accismus involves change of application. In general, application may affect
sense, person, subject-matter, feeling, and argumentation; and in the particular case of
Accismus, it is a change in the application of its argumentation. Now this cannot be
appreciated merely by reading lists of words. We must approach the subject, as we must
approach all other lines of study, by seeing it first as a whole, then in its primary
subdivisions, and then gradually descending until we arrive at the individual figures.
Figures of speech are a part of the subject "Language", and "Language" includes
Grammar and Rhetoric.  Grammar has to do with words in their constructive
arrangements; Rhetoric is concerned with the art of speaking with persuasion. Another
branch of the science of Language is Etymology, or a study of the derivation and
pedigree of words. These three branches of the science of language cover the range of
figures of speech. These may be grouped as follows:--
FIGURES OF ETYMOLOGY.--These are departures from the ordinary
spelling of words; for example, the poetic use of "o'er" for "over", or the
romantic use of the old-fashioned spelling "olde" for "old". With these we
shall have little to do, as they are not many in number and do not appear in
the Scriptures.