Previously we took a look at the figure Anaphora, noting that it is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive sentences, clauses, or perhaps even phrases. If we should come upon paragraphs that repeat with the same word or words, we can note that as well. Another figure very similar to Anaphora is Polysyndeton.

Dr. Bullinger saw Polysyndeton as being so similar to Anaphora, that he considered it to be a special form of that figure. He gave it the nickname “Many Ands, and logically so. However, when we take a closer look at Polysyndeton, we see that his etymological definition offers a far greater understanding of this figure’s identification and importance in our study of scripture.

When I discovered the “3F formula of figures it was like discovering the legend or key on a map. We can generally get to where we are going by following the lines on the map, but how much more depth there is in our journey when we unlock the meanings of all the symbols. Local routes, state routes, federal highways, and interstate highways all play a large part in our travels. So too does an understanding of the “3Fs, Form, Function, and Fulfillment of Purpose aid us in our adventure of understanding biblical figures of speech. Had Dr. Bullinger discovered this key, how much more depth he could have taught us about the biblical figures he loved.

He was absolutely correct in noting the form of Polysyndeton as being nearly identical to the form of Anaphora. The word “and being repeated before a phrase, clause, or sentence was the form he used to identify this figure.
In his book “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible he says…..
(“The repetition of the word “and at the beginning of successive clauses.).
(“The English name for the Figure will, therefore, be MANY-ANDS.
Polysyndeton is merely one special form of Anaphora (q.v.) : i.e., it is a repetition of the same word at the beginning of successive sentences: but this is always one special word  “and. ).

But he provided a more in-depth means of understanding Polysyndeton in his etymological definition.
(“Pol’-y-syn-de-ton. Greek, πολυσύνδετον, from πολύς (polūs), many, and συνδετόν (syndeton), bound together; hence, in grammar, it means a conjunction (from σύν (syn) and δείν (dein), to bind). The word, therefore, means much bound together or many conjunctions.).

See also Liddell; Scott: “A Greek-English Lexicon” 8th Edition 1897
Compiled by Henry George Liddell, D.D., and Robert Scott D.D.

Pg. 1248 Polus; πολύς : many
Pg. 1479
Sundeō; συνδέω : to bind or tie together, of two or more things.
Syndeo: (verb) to tie together; to bind together;
Heb 13:3 KJV Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [G4887] [
and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Syndesmos: (masc. noun) 1.) that which binds together; a bond; band.
1 A.) of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together.
2.) that which is bound together; a bundle.

A few examples of Polysyndeton given in the book following the concept of “many ands” are as follows. The Form is like Anaphora, but instead of calling our attention back to the word being repeated, Polysyndeton Functions by uniting the independent thoughts and holding them together as a unite, not to be separated from one another. Each part plays a significant role in the whole, and thus the figure Fulfills its purpose of binding them to one another, creating that whole.

“Matt. 7:25 Here the perfect security of the “wise man, who hears the sayings of Jesus, and is likened unto a man who built his house upon a rock, is emphasized by a five-fold “and (five being the number of grace).
And the rain descended (on the roof),
and the floods came (at the foundations),
and the winds blew (at the sides),
and beat upon that house:
and it fell not.

While, on the other hand, in verse 27, the insecurity of the “foolish man,” who hears, but does not, the sayings of Jesus, is set forth by a six-fold “and (six being the number of man and of human independence and imperfection: —
And the rain descended,
and the floods came,
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house;
and it fell
and great was the fall of it.

Eph. 4:31 “Let all bitterness (πικρία, pikria, the opposite of χρηστοί, chreestoi, verse 32, kind).
and wrath (
θυμός, thumos, the opposite of εὔσπλαγχνοι, eusplangchnoi tenderhearted)
and anger (
ὀργή, orgee, the opposite of χαριζόμενοι, charizomenoi, forgiving),
be put away from you with (
σύν, sun) all malice (κακία, kakia, ill intent).

We cannot get rid of one and not the others if we are to be Christ-like, we must let go of the whole of them.
Verse 32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

In my next installment we will look at how the figure Polysyndeton is used as “many ands, and why it was understood as a form of Anaphora. Then, in future posts, we will see why it goes far beyond this, and how it, (as a form of repetition), functions, and the purpose it fulfills. Enjoy!
Ken Rossoll 1-22-2021


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