Expression of Ideas in the Bible

The Old Testament was written by Hebrews who communicated ideas using "concrete" expressions.  The Hebrew language consisted of items a person can see, touch or smell with one's senses.  For example: Hebrews used water and blood to express the concept of life.  They lived in an arid area where water was needed to sustain life, so water meant life to them.  When an animal or person lost a great deal of blood it died, so blood was equated with life.

Today most of us use "abstract" words such as: love, hate, fear, hope...  These words express broad concepts.  Different people are likely to associate these words with different images, feelings, etc.  It's only when these words are associated with other words that reasonably accurate communication occurs.  

The Hebrew thought process uses graphic pictures and illustrations to convey ideas.  For example: several places throughout the Bible the concept of bride and bridegroom is used to express the relationship of God to God's people.  Hosea used his wife and children to express the idea of God's relationship to God's wayward people.  Jeremiah uses a girdle (chapter 13), potter's clay (chapter 18), yoke (chapter 27 & 28), etc. to communicate concepts.  Even many of the passages in the New Testament are best understood as "concrete" expressions of ideas--rather than literal words.

Near the beginning of the Bible we read "...In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and..." (Genesis 2:9)  Near the end of the Bible we read "...On each side of the river stood the tree of life...the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:2)

 

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