One can not really study the word of God without taking into account something that is called Hebrew and Greek idioms. These are saying that are not meant to be taking literally. In English we have the following idioms "you are pulling my leg" which means you are joking or "throw in the towel" which means giving up. There is a great amount of such idioms in English, but they hardly "light a candle" to the Hebrew or Greek idioms.
People, who insist on always taking the word of God literally, will soon find out that the Hebrew language will give them a monstrosity for a God. According to Psalm 91:4 God has feathers and wings, and then according to Psalm 22:9 smoke comes out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth. And what about God's clothing in Psalm 59:17, just how does God put on the garments of vengeance for clothing? Or uses zeal as a cloak?
What about the description of men. In proverbs 10:2 the fool has his heart on his left side. Wouldn't it be easy to find who is a fool just by finding out where the heart of a person is positioned? How about David when he says he is a worm in Psalm 22:6, was King David really a worm?
If you think the Greek is clearer try taking some of the sayings of Jesus literally. When Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26 that we are to hate our mother and father. Isn't this against God's commandment to honor one's parents? Did Jesus really mean it for us to hate our father and mother? How about drinking Jesus' blood in John 6:54?
A Bible teacher must understand that the Old testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek each of these languages are not only different, but each also has its own peculiarities. Not understanding this has caused many people to misunderstand or misinterpret the Bible.
Samples of Hebrew idioms
|Gen 24.60||Possess gates||Capture cities|
|Gen 31.35||The way of women||menstruation|
|Ex 3.19||Mighty hand||Force|
|Ex 15.25||Sweet water||Water fit to drink|
|Josh 10.6||Slack hand||Abandon|
|2 Ki 4.29||Gird up your loins||Get ready|
|Ps 3.7||Break teeth||Make powerless|
|Ps 89.13||Right hand||Might|