figures of speech in romans

Some Christians say they take the Bible literally and will rest their doctrine on literal readings of certain verses. They will refuse to relent and admit that language is fluid and some words, even in the Bible, are to be taken figuratively. These individuals are sometimes inapproachable, but they should be taught that all literalists must still take certain teachings of the Bible in a figurative sense. The first chapter of Romans contains a few of these figures of speech:

Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

It could be that in deep dark Africa or on the coast of Peru that they talked about the Christian faith of the Romans, but almost certainly not. Paul uses a hyperbole to stress the fact that the Roman Christians were well known in his circles. No one should take it that there are individuals living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean talking about the Roman’s faith.

Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

When Paul says he does not cease making mention of the Romans in his prays, he does not literally mean that every word he says, without pausing, is about the Romans. That would be absurd. Paul is using another hyperbole to say he prays about them often.

In normal human language, people use figures of speech that are not literal. Those who wrote the Bible were no different. Christians do not have a leg to stand on when insisting to the death a certain verse is to be taken literally and not figuratively.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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