From a November 2003 teaching
We are God’s children. We will see the immensity of His love for us in the book of Isaiah, by way of some beautiful figures of speech. A figure of speech is any expressive use of language in the Bible.
Figures of Speech used in the Bible: Their intent is to draw special attention to the verse where they are used. They grab the reader’s attention and emphasize an important point.
Figures of speech are for our learning, and unlike where they are used in secular literature, the words of the Word are written perfectly.
Here are some examples of different figures of speech:
Simile – uses the words “like” or “as”, (or as used in the Bible): “like as” or “even as”
The two things being compared are not intended to be one and the same. It’s a comparison.
Psalm 5:12- “For thou, Lord wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” God’s favour is around us like a shield.
Acts 2:3 says “…Cloven tongues like as of fire…” (Referring to the initial outpouring of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost.)
III John 2 says: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Metaphor – To use one thing to represent another. The two things spoken of can literally be taken to mean the same thing. Ex: “Joe” is the “Son of James & Sharon” – The two describe the same person in a different way.
Psalm 84:11 – “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold them that walk uprightly.” The Lord is literally our sun (light) and shield (protection) because we walk uprightly.
Antithesis – A direct opposition of one thing to another. It emphasizes the contrast between the two things. Usually uses “and”, “but”, or “so”
I John 1:5 – “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
A practical example of a figure of speech would be:
Instead of: “The farmer’s crops need water.”
You might say: “The farmer’s crops are thirsty.”
Crops can’t “thirst,” that is a human attribute. It must be a figure of speech. God’s word is the same in the way it refers to God.
God is Holy Spirit. He is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere present. John 1:18 Says “No Man hath seen God at any time …” God cannot be seen by the human eye, nor can He be known by any of the other five senses. So, it is the figure of speech; “Anthropopatheia” (Greek), (or “Condescensio” in Latin) when the Word applies human characteristics to God:
Isaiah 43:25 – “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Anthropopatheia) “Forgetting” is a human attribute; God is “all-knowing,” He cannot forget. The point is: Our sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ’s accomplishments and resurrection.
Isaiah 49:15 – Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. (Anthropopatheia and Antithesis) It would be incredibly difficult for the mother of a newborn Child to forget about her baby, yet we are only human and it could be possible to forget. God’s remembrance of us is beyond human comprehension.
Isaiah 49:16 – Behold, I have graven [tattooed] thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls [hands] are continually before me. (Anthropopatheia) God doesn’t literally have hands with which to tattoo upon. The point is: God cannot (and will not) forget his most wonderful children.
It is an orientalism in the bible to tattoo the names of those you dearly love somewhere on your body. To say that you tattooed the palms of your hands would be an incredible thing; the human palms are far too sensitive to endure the pain of a tattoo. But God has “graven” our names there.
God’s remembrance of us is [as indelible (and unchangeable) as the lines graven in the palms of our hands.] –“Figures of Speech in the Bible”
Just like each one of our hands have a different pattern of lines; God has remembered us individually as his children. To God, we are as unique and different from each other as the palms of our hands are.
I Corinthians 12:27 – “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Ephesians 2:19 – “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Antithesis)
It is a great thing to understand figures of speech and how they apply to the word of God.
They make reading the bible so much more vivid and alive.
God has “forgotten” our sins, but will never “forget” us.
He has “graven” us on the “palms of his hands.”
He has called us to his household to be members in particular.
These are all Promises in the Word.
Let’s go out boldly keeping in mind that God “remembers” us!
God Bless You!
The Five Gift Ministries in the Church
The five gift ministries are listed in Ephesians 4 verse 11.
In this teaching we will see:
-what these gift ministries are
-then some of the benefits and impact that these gift ministries have in the household, and to those searching for the truth.
Ephesians 4:1– I (Paul) therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (lovingly implore) you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (function) wherewith ye are called.
Paul admonishes us to walk in the calling of God.
Ephesians 4:2-8 – With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Verses 9-10 are the figure of speech parenthesis – This is a figure of speech offering an explanation and we can skip to verse 11 without losing any of the meaning of the record.
Ephesians 4:11 – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers
Here we see the five gift ministries that God gave to the Church:
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers
Here are the definitions of these ministries according to the Random House College Dictionary, (my comments in parentheses)
Apostle: A pioneer of any reform movement. (Movement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
Prophet: A person who speaks for God by divine inspiration.
Evangelist: A preacher of the Gospel. (Good news)
Pastor: Of, pertaining to, or consisting of shepherds. (Flock)
Teacher: A person who teaches or instructs (The Word)
Here are the Biblical meanings of each of these ministries:
An Apostle is one who brings new light to their generation. The same revelation may have been given in the past, but it is new to this generation.
A Prophet is one who speaks for God to God’s people. They can help return lost sheep to the flock and back into fellowship with the Father.
An Evangelist is one who brings people to (an experiential) knowledge of the new birth. They see the person born again and saved into God’s household unto eternal life.
A Pastor is one who cares for and ministers to the individual needs of the household, the called out body of believers, the flock.
A Teacher is one who brings forth the accuracy and truth of God’s wonderful Word to the believers.
Here is Ephesians 4:11 from the the Amplified Bible:
And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us,] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the gospel), some pastors (shepherds of His flock), and teachers.
Why did God initiate these ministries? We read on and find out:
Ephesians 4:12-16 –
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:12-shows the effect of the energizing of these ministries.
…perfecting of the saints… (or maturing of the saints, the believers In their walk with God)
Ephesians 4:13-tells us how long these ministries will exist. (Until Jesus Christ returns, see I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Ephesians 4:14-“That” (indicates purpose.) So that we are no longer children, spiritually speaking.
Ephesians 4:15-But… (In contrast to: being tossed to and fro, carried about…)
…speaking the truth in love…
Ephesians 4:16-Every part… (Every person has the ministry of reconciliation) …maketh increase of the body…
Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
The spoken word ministers grace and peace to those who hear it.
Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
We are to be kind to one another and readily forgive people who may have wronged us or made a mistake.
So what are these gift ministries? They are people. God gave us the gift of people in the household who love him, serve him, and excel at the specific function that he has called them to fulfill.
God has given us the gift of people – People who operate in these gift ministries to bless the household by the spoken word, by caring for the flock, & by speaking the truth, so let’s give the gift of the household to people as we speak the Word of God.
God Bless You