Warren W. Wiersbe
Baker Books, 2000
ISBN 0 8010 9107 1
This is a charming little book. It has a table of contents, which is entirely redundant, given the nature of the book. The other 115 pages are entirely index. The book catalogs over 400 similes, metaphors and symbols in alphabetical order, pointing to Scripture references for each. It is based on the New International Version of the Bible.
Warren Wiersbe is Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. He hangs out in churches around Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois and seems to have written a massive number of books. Here’s some paragraphs from the preface.
“The Bible is a ‘picture book’ and the Holy Spirit chooses to share the truth of God through metaphorical language. No matter where you turn in Scripture, you find historians, prophets, poets, apostles, and especially our Lord Jesus Christ teaching eternal truth by means of picture language. To ignore the imagery of Scriptures is to misread God’s Word and ultimately to misinterpret it.”
“The purpose of this Index of Biblical Images is to assist the serious student of Scripture to locate and compare verses from the Bible that use the same or similar imagery in conveying God’s truth. For example, you can look up ‘light’ and find what the image means in different contexts. In doing so, you may discover meanings that you have missed in the past.”
Exactly so. This is a very handy book for the writer. Here’s some examples:
TENT: human body, David’s dynasty, death, God’s judgment, God’s protection, the heavens, pilgrim life, prosperity/security and Christ (like a tent peg). That last reference is Zechariah 10:4 and was certainly unexpected as far as I was concerned.
YOKE: bondage, rebellion, show mercy, freedom, discipline, submission to Christ, compromise with sin, workers together. I think that illustrates the diversity of symbols, which can be used in contrasting ways.
DOG: despised person, apostates, fools, enemies, unfaithful leaders, sinners, legalists, gentiles, meddlers, ineffective sacrifices. That last is Isaiah 66:3. Nothing about loyalty at all! They didn’t seem to like dogs.
The only quibble I had was with the entry for serpents/dragons. They seem to leave out a few we would have expected to be mentioned. Perhaps the NIV has fewer dragons than other translations.
There are pages of lists like that, each pointing to many biblical references. This book will work on you like a street directory. Each page points to the possibility of many interesting and rewarding journeys.