How Much Do You Know About Metaphors in the Bible?



By: Isadora Teich

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you know your biblical metaphors? The metaphor is one of the most commonly used literary devices out there. For this reason, they can be found throughout almost any text, and the Bible is no different in this way. In fact, it has some of the most famous metaphors of all time. References to many of these metaphors can be found throughout literature and all sorts of other works of art. This is part of why understanding them is so important.

A metaphor is a literary device in which two are more things are compared using the help of figurative or highly descriptive language. They are often used to express ideas vividly, or make ideas which can be hard to understand easier to visualize and grasp. They make reading a more visual experience, which makes writing come alive and be more enjoyable to read. Vivid and imaginative description can make you think about even the most common objects in a whole new way.   

The Bible uses metaphors to explain situations and teach lessons, and some have had a large influence on the Christian faith. If you think you are a biblical metaphor expert, then try your hand at this very illustrative quiz! 

Which biblical figure said "I am the bread of life."?

The full quote from John 6:35 is: "Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst." Jesus is saying that like bread sustains us in life, he can sustain his followers spiritually.


If the church is the family of God, then who is the father?

Family titles and relationships are used as metaphors throughout the bible. This includes God as the Father and Christians as brothers and sisters.


The church is referred to as the temple of God, and Jesus Christ is the ____________.

In the temple or house of God, Jesus Christ is the metaphorical foundation. This is repeated in the Bible.


"The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life." comes from which part of the Bible?

This comes from Proverbs 13:14. The fountain of life is a common metaphor, and here it is used to illustrate the sustaining power of the teaching of the wise.


In the Bible, breath is used as a metaphor for:

When breath is used in the Bible, it is often a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. Counselor is also common.


Which of these is God referred to metaphorically as in the Bible?

God is referred to as the Father repeatedly throughout the Bible. He is also referred to as a rock and shepherd.


What does "But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand." mean?

This is from Isaiah 64:8. It means that in the same way that a potter molds and shapes clay, God shapes us.


Which of these is used as a metaphor for the Church in the Bible?

Throughout the Bible, the Church is referred to as a bride. Marriage metaphors are often used to describe the union of Christ, the Church and other holy ideas.


"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." means that God ___________.

It is the job of a shepherd to look after and protect his flock of sheep. According to this metaphor, God has the same responsibility to us.


Faithful Christians are said to be God's ____________.

This particular metaphor comes from Corinthians 3:16-17. It reads: “Do you not know that you [plural] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”


By saying "I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." Jesus is saying that he is _________.

Light is used in the Bible to refer to salvation, goodness and heaven, while darkness refers to sin and suffering. This quote is from John 8:12.


In the Bible, who delivers the metaphor-filled threat "So now let me tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground"?

In Isaiah 5:5, God levels this threat at Israel, which he refers to as his vineyard. By removing its hedge, he means that he will remove its protective surroundings and let it be destroyed.


Which biblical character is often referred to as a rock?

God is metaphorically compared to a rock throughout the Bible. This is to illustrate his complete strength.


Water is used as a metaphor for ____________.

In John 4:14, Jesus makes use of this metaphor to talk about teaching the Gospel. He says, "Whosoever drinketh of this water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."


When God says "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." he is comparing himself to what?

In order to illustrate himself as the beginning and end, God uses the Greek alphabet. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.


Which of these is not a metaphor for Jesus Christ used in the Bible?

In the bible, wind is used as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. The rest are used to refer to Jesus.


When Jesus says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." he means that faith in him will bring his followers ________.

This famous metaphor comes from John 15:5. In it, Jesus illustrates that he and his followers are part of a whole, and that together they will achieve great results.


"You are the salt of the earth." is a famous biblical metaphor that refers to who?

This metaphor refers to the followers of Christ as "the salt of the earth," a reference to the days when salt was culturally important and could even be used as currency. In modern useage, it has come to refer to someone who is a good person.


The Body of Christ is a metaphor for what?

When the Body of Christ is talked about in the Bible, they are not talking about his literal body. It is a metaphor for the Church.


The church is metaphorically referred to as the bride of ________.

In Revelations 21:9, it is said “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” The Church is the bride and Christ is the lamb.


"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." is a metaphor for what?

This biblical snippet comes from Genesis 2:7. It is a metaphor for the creation of man, who was not literally created this way.


"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." is a metaphor about the nature of ______________.

While you can see the results of the wind and feel it, but cannot see it or predict it, the Holy Spirit is similar according to this metaphor. It comes from John 3:8.


"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a ________ adorned for her husband."

This metaphor is from Revelation 21: 2-9. It compares Jerusalem to a young bride.


Household of God is used as a metaphor for:

The church is referred to in this way throughout the Bible. It can be seen, for example, in Ephesians 2:19.


“Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” means that all followers of Jesus are:

The Body of Christ is used as a metaphor for the Church. Here the fact that this body, or church, is made up of many members is stated.


Who is metaphorically referred to as the Lamb?

Christ is referred to as the Lamb. This metaphor relates to the old use of sacrificial lambs and reflects his sacrifice on the cross.


The church is often referred to as God's ___________.

Throughout the Bible, family is used as a metaphor regarding God's followers numerous times. He is referred to as the father and his followers sons and daughters.


According to the Bible, what transforms strangers into family?

In the Bible, it is said,“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” This is from Ephesians 2:19.


In the excerpt “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith," what is household of faith a metaphor for?

House and home are used as a metaphor for the Church throughout the Bible. This example comes from Galatians 6:10.


Complete the metaphor: "The household of God [is] built on the ____________ of the apostles and prophets..."

The church is often referred to in extended house metaphors, as the house of God. The full quote is: “The household of God [is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”


According to the Bible, why is your body a metaphorical temple?

This idea is repeated several times throughout Corinthians. In 1 Cor. 6:19 it says, “Do you not know that you [plural] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”


In the quotation "You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house," who are the living stones?

This is a metaphor related to the Church being the house of God. It is made up of spiritual stones, or believers.


Eating and drinking are often used in the Old Testament to refer to learning:

Eating and drinking run through the Bible as metaphors for learning spiritual truths. Jesus uses this when he refers to himself as bread.


In the phrase "For he is our God; we are the people of his pasture, the sheep he owns," who are the sheep?

God as a shepherd is an idea that can be seen throughout the Bible. Here his flock of sheep is the Christians.


"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal," means that having love in your heart is:

This line from Corinthians means that speaking of the divine or magical is empty without sincere love. Without love, it is just noise.


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