The early writers and readers of the Scriptures viewed their world in concrete, rather than abstract, terms. Because of this, they used word pictures and symbolic actions rather than formal definitions to describe God and his relationship with his people.

For example, in John 6:35, Jesus, the ‘bread of life,’ offers spiritual food that will completely satisfy our hunger. The word picture of the bread reveals that he alone offers the spiritual truth that provides life.

Psalm 18:2 reveals God and our relationship to him using a number of different word pictures. God is revealed as our ‘rock.’ He is steadfast,’¬†immovable, a sure place on which to stand and take refuge. God is our ‘fortress,’ a place of safety. God is our ‘deliverer’ who saves us. He is our ‘shield’ who protects us from harm. He is the ‘horn,’ a symbol of strength, of our salvation.

God is presented as a loving ‘shepherd’ in Isaiah 40:11. He takes care of his people like a loving shepherd cares for his flock. Even the weak and defenseless are secure in his tender care.

Such word pictures fill the pages of the Bible. As a Jew himself, Jesus also described the kingdom of heaven in concrete terms, often using stories and images to convey truth.

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