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Hyperbole

Hyperbole, is also known as an exaggeration.  Some feel that in order for God's words to be taken as truthful, it shouldn't contain exaggeration. This maybe the reason why many are having difficulties in distinguishing exaggeration in the Bible.  Exaggeration is a powerful way to drive home a message and it is considered a normal form of speech found in all languages.  A person who can recognize and understand hyperbole will be able to hear the message of God's Word clearly in order to have proper application today.

Example: Matthew 23:24 You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (NIV)

Mark 9:23b  Everything is possible for him who believes. (NIV)

Matthew 23:24 is obviously an exaggeration because we know that it is not humanly possible to swallow a camel.  In Mark 9:23, some would find it belittling the power of faith if we say that the statement is a hyperbole.  But if we cannot see exaggeration in the word "everything" then that would result misinterpretation.  Surely I cannot make things happen that is logically impossible or contrary to the will of God no matter how much I believe.  Again, exaggeration is not a deception but rather a powerful way to impress the message to those who can properly understand the figure of speech.

 

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