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Dictionaries :: Figure

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International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


fig'-ur, fig'-yur (cemel, cemel; tupos): The translation of cemel, or cemel, "a likeness or image"; perhaps a transposition of tselem, the usual word for likeness; it is elsewhere translated "idol" and "image" (De 4:16, "the similitude of any figure," the Revised Version (British and American) "in the form of any figure"); of tabhnith, "form or likeness" (Isa 44:13, "shapeth it (the idol).... after the figure of a man"; compare De 4:16); of miqla‘ath, "carving," "carved work" (1Ki 6:29: "And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm- trees and open flowers, within and without," only here and in 1Ki 6:32; 7:31 where the word is translated "carving" and "graying"); in the New Testament "figure" is the translation of tupos, primarily "a mark," "print," "impression," "something made by blows," hence, "figure," "statue," tropically "form," "manner"; a person bearing the form or figure of another, having a certain resemblance, preceding another to come, model, exemplar (Ac 7:43), "the figures (images) which ye made to worship them"; Ro 5:14, "who is the figure (Revised Version, "a figure") of him that was to come," that is, the first Adam was a type of the second Adam, Christ; of antitupon, that which corresponds to a type or model (Heb 9:24 the King James Version, "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself"); the meaning is simply the correspondence, or likeness (of the tabernacle to heaven), therefore the Revised Version (British and American) renders "like in pattern to the true" (1Pe 3:21, "the like figure whereunto (even) baptism doth also now save us," i.e. baptism is the antitype of the ark "wherein.... eight souls were saved (or brought safely) through water," Revised Version "which also after a true likeness (m "in the antitype") doth now save you even baptism"); of parabole, "a placing alongside", a "comparison," "similitude," hence, image, figure, type (Heb 9:9, "which was a figure for the time then present," the American Standard Revised Version "which is a figure for the time present," the English Revised Version "parable" and "(now) present," namely, the entrance of the high priest into the Holy of Holies was a type of Christ's entrance into heaven; Heb 11:19, "from whence (from the dead) also he received him in a figure," i.e. Abraham received Isaac back from the dead as it were, in the likeness of a resurrection, he not being actually dead, the American Standard Revised Version "from whence he did also in a figure receive him back," the English Revised Version "in a parable"); metaschematizo, "to change the form or appearance," "to transfer figuratively" (1Co 4:6,"these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos"; the Geneva version reads "I have figuratively described in my own person"). Paul is "substituting himself and Apollos for the teachers most in repute at Corinth that he might thus avoid personality." "Figure" is supplied in Ecclesiasticus 49:9, with en ombro, "He made mention of the enemies under the figure of the rain," the Revised Version (British and American) "He remembered the enemies in storm," margin "(Greek) rain."

The Revised Version (British and American) has "a figure" margin "an interpretation," for "the interpretation" (Pr 1:6; the word is melitsah, only here and Hab 2:6, meaning properly what is involved and needs interpretation; in Hab 2:6 it is translated "taunting proverb," the Revised Version, margin "riddle"); "figured stone" for "image of stone" (Le 26:1); "figured stones" for "pictures" (Nu 33:52).

Written by W. L. Walker

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g5179 Greek: tupos


"a type, figure, pattern," is translated "figures" (i.e., representations of gods) in Act 7:43; in the RV of ver. 44 (for AV, "fashion") and in Rom 5:14, of Adam as a "figure" of Christ.

2 Strong's Number: g499 Greek: antitupos


an adjective, used as a noun, denotes, lit., "a striking back;" metaphorically, "resisting, adverse;" then, in a Passive sense, "struck back;" in the NT metaphorically, "corresponding to,"

(a) a copy of an archetype (anti, "corresponding to, and No. 1), i.e., the event or person or circumstance corresponding to the type, Hbr 9:24, RV, "like in pattern" (AV, "the figure of"), of the tabernacle, which, with its structure and appurtenances, was a pattern of that "holy place," "Heaven itself," "the true," into which Christ entered, "to appear before the face of God for us." The earthly tabernacle anticipatively represented what is now made good in Christ; it was a "figure" or "parable" (Hbr 9:9), "for the time now present," RV, i.e., pointing to the present time, not "then present," AV (see below);

(b) "a corresponding type," 1Pe 3:21, said of baptism; the circumstances of the flood, the ark and its occupants, formed a type, and baptism forms "a corresponding type" (not an antitype), each setting forth the spiritual realities of the death, burial, and resurrection of believers in their identification with Christ. It is not a case of type and antitype, but of two types, that in Genesis, the type, and baptism, the corresponding type.

3 Strong's Number: g3850 Greek: parabole


"a casting or placing side by side" (para, "beside," ballo, "to throw") with a view to comparison or resemblance, a parable, is translated "figure" in the AV of Hbr 9:9 (RV, "a parable for the time now present") and Hbr 11:19, where the return of Isaac was (parabolically, in the lit. sense of the term) figurative of resurrection (RV, "parable"). See No. 2.


(1) The synonymous noun hupotuposis, "an example, pattern," 1Ti 1:16; 2Ti 1:13, denotes simply a delineation or outline.

(2) For metaschematizo, rendered "I have in a figure transferred" in 1Cr 4:6, where the fact stated is designed to change its application, i.e., from Paul and Apollos to circumstances in Corinth, see FASHION.


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.