The Hyperbole of Jesus

This post is a continuation, listing various hyperbole found in the Bible. Clicky here, for all my posts detailing what I’ve found.

Understanding hyperbole is a mark of maturity.

Ever try to intentionally exaggerate with a child? It doesn’t work. They only think in literal terms. Hence, when teaching the gospel to small children, we avoid  using metaphoric language such as “Ask Jesus into your heart” and “Jesus is knocking at your door.” With maturity comes greater understanding of language and the wisdom to evaluate the intent behind the words. As readers of the Bible, we too must be careful not to think childishly…only literally.

Jesus used language with flair to make his point stick between his hearer’s ears. He wanted those who wanted to understand to have to chew things over to get at the meaty meaning underneath. It takes maturity, with the ability to understand language devices and wisdom to evaluate, to get at the heart of Jesus’ chewy words. Its an ongoing process!

Barefoot and Sullen?

When Jesus sent his followers out on a mission, he said, ” Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” Luke 10:4

Jesus meant they had a job to do, and they were not to let everyday things and niceties distract them.

An obvious one…

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:25

No rich men in heaven?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

I have read that this is an actual reference to a gate in Jerusalem that was called the “Needle Gate.” Or some version of that. I have also read that this is a load of crock! But either way, of course Jesus isn’t saying it is impossible to be wealthy and follow him. I’ll go with the hyperbole route for this one.

4 thoughts on “The Hyperbole of Jesus

  1. My aunt, who studied Aramaic (the common language Jesus grew up with), said that the Aramaic word for camel and the one for rope differ by a jot (like the dot above an ‘i’). The analogy, and therefore the hyperbole, makes much more sense in that light. It would be hard to get a rope through the eye of a needle, but not so impossible to consider as a camel. You just need a bigger needle for the rope. A rich man can get there, but he needs something “bigger.” Thanks for the reminder.


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