This post is the beginning of a number of posts listing various hyperbole found in the Bible. Clicky here, for all my posts detailing what I’ve found.
Hyperbole is extravagant exaggeration that is not meant to be taken literally. It is littered all over the Bible. Here are a few examples.
Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Paul does not mean to literally castrate those who preach another gospel.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Christ does not literally mean they have large enough mouths to swallow a camel whole.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Jesus is not teaching a way to avoid hell is maiming the offending part of your body.
10 thoughts on “Hyperbole Rocks!”
The Matthew 23:23-25 does give a nice mental image, though. If anyone thought gourging and purging was OK….
Hyperbole is extravagant exaggeration that is not meant to be taken literally.
The difference between hyperbole and exaggeration is… in exaggeration you WANT others to take you literally. This is lying.
I say semantics is involved here. An hyperbole is not intended to be taken literally, but to get a point across??? Quite different than a lie.
Notice my hyperbole in the fourth comment?
This was one of the reasons for the post. There are many other instances of hyperbole that are taken out of context. I also want to challenge the belief that the Bible is always literal. More on that later.
Sorry! I’m too succinct for my own good.
But the Bible writers are lying; they must be, because that’s what my mom used to say about hyperbole when I was younger. Like when I’d want to go to a youth group function or slumber party, I’d say “But everyone is going,” and she’d say, “Everyone’s not going, I’m not going. So you’re lying!” Ergo, the Bible writers are lying? Or they’re immature? Or given to exaggeration, qualities which I was told to shun? Hmmmm. Maybe it was the whining not the lies/hyperbole that was my childhood problem (and should have been the issue).
And no, hyperbole is not lying. I had to read this like 50 times to understand you. lol
OH! So you are saying, “Everyone is going,” is hyperbole. I get it now.
And by “going to that” I mean going to a youth group function or a sleepover, to cite a few life examples.
But they’re lying then! How many times did I hear that as a kid… “Is everyone really going to that? I’m not going. Everyone’s not going. So you’re LYING.”