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"If God does speak in Scripture, what language does he use? There is a story about an elderly lady who took up Hebrew in her advanced years because she wanted to be able to greet her Maker in his native tongue. That, I fear, is taking a biblical figure of speech to a humorous extreme.

"The Bible often speaks of the spiritual realities of the Hidden World. To make these realms intelligible to us it employs symbolic or metaphorical language. That poses a troublesome problem for many people. If we take these expressions literally, as the elderly lady did, they will mislead us. We use no scales to measure the weight of an argument and no mathematics to calculate the height of a lofty ideal. We never get a suntan from the glow of a sunny disposition or the illumination of a brilliant scholar. In day-to-day conversation we seem to manage metaphors quite well. Why should we have so much trouble understanding the Bible?" [Bruce L. Shelley, Christian Theology in Plain Language (Word, 1985), p. 39]

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