Dr. Steven J. Lawson once compared the Bible to a diamond whose beauty, when it is held up to the light, is refracted in many different ways: “No one symbol of the Bible can communicate the whole. So, it requires many different metaphors, many different analogies, to even begin to try to [understand] the totality of the invincible power of the inerrant Word.” The Bible is full of images, symbols, and metaphors that God uses to help us know Him and relate to Him—and to help us know ourselves. He uses metaphors to help us understand truths about this present life and about eternal life and eternal condemnation.
While we can likely think of certain well-known metaphors in Scripture, such as those of shepherd and sheep, vine and branches, and others, we must recognize that the Bible uses many different metaphors, similes, symbols, and images, some of which may sound strange to our ears, particularly if we are from the West. Remember, the Bible is steeped in the culture of the Levant. Depending on where we are from and what experiences we have had, many of these metaphors may be difficult for us to relate to. Yet, in His wisdom, God uses them to help His people from around the world, from many different contexts, to know Him more. The metaphors of Scripture reveal to us Scripture’s own comprehensive beauty—but more than that, they reveal the beauty of our gracious God who relates to us, condescends to us, and speaks to us in words we can understand.