Dr. Darryl E. Maxwell: The Bible’s literary eloquence

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Bible speaks its truth to the mind and heart, even down to the very soul of the reader with such eloquence. Some of the most beautiful language is found in the Psalms and the Prophets, especially in the King James Version of the Bible.

The familiar 23rd Psalm is a favorite of many not just for what it says about God’s care, but for the way in which it states it. The psalmist picturesquely develops the thought of God as Shepherd, Guide and Host to his people.

Another picturesque verse is Psalm 91:1: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

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Such linguistic beauty is found also in the Prophets. Here are a few examples. Isaiah 40:31 virtually sings: “…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

The same prophet’s invitation is beautifully issued in 55:1: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

Another of the prophets, Amos, vividly counsels the people, “let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream (5:24).”

And how beautifully the prophet Micah states God’s expectations for His people: “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruits of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (6:6-7).”

I have cited just a few of the many ways in which the Bible speaks with eloquence to the reader. It indeed speaks to the mind, heart and soul. What and how has the Bible spoken to you?

Dr. Darryl E. Maxwell, Retired Baptist Pastor