• Matthew 26:26-29 – Some take this literally. This is a metaphor. It was figuratively his body and blood.

Why does God use figurative language?

  • Figures make language more vivid, interesting, memorable, and powerful.
  • I Peter 5:8
  • II Peter 2:21-22
  • How about the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15)?
  • The basic message is that we should rejoice when sinners repent, but by presenting that as a parable, Jesus turns it into a memorable story.

When should we take a word or phrase figuratively?

  • A good rule of thumb is to understand a passage literally unless there is a good reason to believe otherwise:
    • When it is said to be figurative.
      • John 2:18-21
      • Ephesians 6:17
      • Isaiah 9:2
    • When a literal understanding contradicts another passage.
      • Mark 1:5; Luke 7:29-30 – Not absolutely all people came out to obey Jesus.
    • When it matches a pattern of figurative language in other passages.
      • John 6:27; I John 3:18; I Peter 3:3 – Not-but passages.
    • When a literal understanding contradicts known facts or common sense.
      • John 3:3

When should we NOT take a word or phrase figuratively?

  • When a literal understanding simply contradicts our beliefs.
    • I Corinthians 7:1