Similes and Metaphors

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

How can we possibly communicate clearly our ideas and thoughts? How can we help others understand what we see and feel?

Frequently, faced with these challenges, people turn to various literary devices. Two of the most common are similes and metaphors. Both use comparisons of basically unrelated things to help provide understanding. One difference is that similes use “like” or “as” (for example, being “as cool as a cucumber” or, as poet Robert Burns wrote, “My love is like a red, red rose”).

The Bible is filled with these kinds of literary devices. And we see many examples in the Song of Solomon. The Bible turns to these techniques to give us pictures of emotions we feel. Reactions that can be difficult to put into words.

We read, for example, how the woman describes her lover as having eyes “like doves” (Song 1:15). And the man says that she is “like a lily among the thorns” (Song 2:2). In these two verses, and in most similar cases throughout Song, the original Hebrew does not have a word translators have interjected as “like.”

But there are exceptions. The woman here described her lover as being “like a gazelle or a young stag,” The Hebrew word here, in fact, is used five times throughout Song.

This is more than just a literary device. In fact, how do we really convey the amazing differences Jesus has made in our lives? What it feels like to be forgiven? To truly be in love with our Savior?

The Bible describes the gift of God to be “indescribable” (2 Corinthians 9:15). The best testimony is a life changed. Demonstrating the difference that Jesus makes. To be an example for others to follow (John 13:15).