Among other ways in which figures of speech can be categorized, one such method is to recognize the difference between Primary figures and Secondary figures. A primary figure is one in which nothing is required in order for it to be. Nothing has to be added, omitted, or changed for it to be, it simply is. Secondary figures require adding to, omitting from, or changing something for them to be understood figuratively. A higher priority should be given to a primary figure than to a secondary figure, because when we add something, omit something, or change in any way what is written,
we are entering the arena of private interpretation and should beware.

Primary figures are objective, whereas secondary figures are subjective, or subject to one’s interpretation. Although we may misinterpret the meaning of a primary figure, it does not exist because of our interpretation, it simply exists. Sentence structure, word order, word repetition, choice of words divinely inspired, and such, are all there already even before we open the book. This does not hold true with secondary figures, and therefore they should be given a lower priority than primary figures. Both Metonymy and Synecdoche are secondary figures, and should be recognized and understood in light of the primary figures that govern their context.

In his various teaching series, some of which are currently available on this website,
Rev. Jon Nessle points out three of these primary figures. Word repetions, signpost words, and Sumpēxis, or “bookends”, are primary figures that God has used as finger prints to authenticate His authorship. I like to think of these fingerprints, and all primary figures, as “The Watermarks of God”, because when we hold our various bible versions up to the light of their scrutiny, we can see more clearly the objective understanding of what God originally intended to convey. As we work these figures God will teach us more.
(Sumpēxis-see notes on verse 24 of the Bible chapter for Romans 8)

In light of secondary figures being subjective, we must take care and remember that Dr. Bullinger’s interpretations, as well as the interpretations of everyone else, are based upon personal theology. The disciple’s personal biblical views must be subject to the higher authority of primary figures when attempting to understand the meanings behind secondary figures. This takes time, and often, the changing of our views. But remember, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. We must be driven by a hunger to understand our Father in heaven through His word, using the tools He has provided.
Ken Rossoll-Enjoy!
Aug. 02, 2020