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” A~naph’-o-ra, from two Greek words,
ἀνά (ana), again, and φέρω (pherō), to bring or carry. It means a carrying back, reference, or repeating over again.
This figure is so-called because it is the repeating of the same word at the beginning of successive clauses: thus adding weight and emphasis to statements and arguments by calling special attention to them.
Anaphora differs from Epibole (q.v.).
In the case of Epibole several words are repeated, consisting of a sentence or phrase; whereas, in Anaphora only one word is thus repeated.”

My definition of Anaphora is a bit different, not based upon my own fancy, but in comparing Dr. Bullinger’s definition to the actual examples he gives. His definition states that
only one word is repeated, and at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences. A modified definition includes the possibility of more than only one word, and phrases as well. We will look at a few examples he provides that should bear this out.

Deut. 28:1 KJV – And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in,
blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

It is quite clear that God’s will for His people is to be
blessed by Him. The figure Anaphora is used to repeatedly draw the attention back to His desire for His people to be blessed by Him. We see too that it isn’t simply the blessing that is repeated, but that it is His people, those who do His will, that are promised blessings. The word Blessed is repeated, but so too is the word(s) shall (thou/thine) be. Do you see how more than a single word can be employed in the figure Anaphora? Both the “what”, (blessings), and the “to whom”, (those who obey Him), are emphasized. By this form of repetition the mind is drawn back to a central concept.

It isn’t enough to think of figures as being used exclusively for emphasis. There are three qualities that are characteristic of figures; their form, their function, and their fulfillment of purpose. The form of Anaphora is the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of a new thought. Its function is to call the attention back to what is being emphasized. It fulfills the purpose of etching on the mind a central thought or idea, which later will be much less likely forgotten.

We saw in the example from Deuteronomy that God wants His people to be blessed, and He used the figure Anaphora to help them remember. Let’s look now at this technique used by His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mat 5:1 KJV – And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
49 And later that day, one of his disciples asked, “Jesus, what was it again you were talking about?” (Matthew 5 has only 48 verses, I threw that in to show how this figure fulfills the purpose of aiding the memory through repetition).

Let’s take a look at one more demonstration of Anaphora, with several things being emphasized.

1Co 13:4 KJV –
Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but
whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part,
and we prophesy
in part.
The Greek text has…..
ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ (in part)
ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν· (in part)

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
The Greek text has…..
ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος
ὡς νήπιος ἐλάλουν (as a child)
ὡς νήπιος ἐφρόνουν (as a child)
ὡς νήπιος· ἐλογιζόμην (as a child)
ὅτε δέ γέγονα ἀνήρ κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

There we have a few examples of the figure Anaphora, and it can be seen that more than a single word may be used at times. Next time we will examine the figure Epibole. Enjoy!
Written by Ken Rossoll Jan. 8, 2021


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