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Don Stewart :: What Symbols Does the Bible Use to Describe Itself?

Don Stewart

The Bible uses a variety of terms to symbolize itself. They include the following.

Milk

The writer to the Hebrews compared the basics of the Word of God to milk.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Solid Food

Scripture is symbolized by solid food. Paul wrote.

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready (1 Corinthians 3:1,2).

While solid food gives physical sustenance - the Bible gives spiritual sustenance.

A Sword

A sword illustrates the power of God's Word. The writer to the Hebrews said.

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Fire And A Hammer

In Jeremiah, the Word is compared to fire and a hammer.

Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)

A Mirror

James uses the symbol of a mirror to illustrate the power of the Word of God.

For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing (James 1:23-25).

Seed That Is Sown

The Word of God is compared to seed that is sown.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

A Lamp And A Light

The Word of God is compared to a lamp and light. The psalmist wrote.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

It Is Like A Light Shining In The Darkness

The Bible is also compared to a light shining in the darkness. Peter wrote.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).

Water

The Word of God is compared to water - a necessary source of life. Paul wrote.

So that he might set her [the church] apart, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:26).

Gold And Honey

According to the Psalmist, the Scriptures are more to be desired than gold or the drippings of the honeycomb.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10).

Anchor

The Word of God is compared to an anchor.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:18,19).

Summary

As we examine the various symbols the Scripture uses to describe itself, we come away with a better overall understanding of it. The Bible can be compared to solid food, milk, water, honey, gold, a sword, an anchor, a mirror, a lamp and a light, and a light shining in the darkness. These different symbols provide greater insight into the character of Scripture.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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