or, NO-ANDS.

This figure should not be studied apart from the opposite figure POLYSYNDETON (q.v.),
as they form a pair, and mutually throw light upon and illustrate each other.

It is pronounced a-syn’-de-ton, and means simply without conjunctions;
or it may be Englished by the term NO-ANDS.

It is from the Greek 
α, negative, and σύνδετον (sundeton), bound together with
δεῖν, dein, to bind).

Hence, in grammar, asyndeton means without any conjunctions.

It is called also ASYNTHETON, from
τίθημι (titheemi), to put or place.
Hence, Asyntheton means no placings or puttings (i.e., of the conjunction “and”).

Other names for this figure are: —

DIALYSIS (Di-al’-y-sis), from διά (dia), through, and λύειν (luein), to loosen;
a loosening through.
DIALYTON (Di-al’-y-ton), a separation of the parts.
SOLUTUM (So-lu-tum), from the Latin solvo, to dissolve.
DISSOLUTIO (Dis-so-lu’-ti-o), a dissolving.
EPITROCHASMOS (Ep ‘-i-tro-chas ‘-mos), from ἐπί (epi), upon, and τροχαῖος (trochaios), a running along, tripping along. This name is given also to a certain kind of Parenthesis (q.v.).
PERCURSIO (Per-cur’-si-o), a running through.

All these names are given, because, without any “ands” the items are soon run over.

When the figure Asyndeton is used, we are not detained over the separate statements, and asked to consider each in detail, but we are hurried on over the various matters that are mentioned, as though they were of no account, in comparison with the great climax to which they lead up, and which alone we are thus asked by this figure
to emphasize.

The beauties of Asyndeton cannot be fully seen or appreciated without comparing with it the figure of Polysyndeton. They should be studied together, in order to bring out, by the wonderful contrast, the object and importance of both.

Asyndeta have been divided into four classes: —

Conjunctive or copulative, when the words or propositions are to be joined together.

Disjunctive, when they are to be separated from each other.

Explanatory, when they explain each other.

Causal, when a reason is subjoined.

For the sake of more easy reference, the following examples have not been thus classified, but are given in the order in which they occur in the Bible:

Ex. 15:9, 1o —
“The enemy said,
—I will pursue,
—I will overtake,
—I will divide the spoil;
My lust shall be satisfied upon them;
—I will draw my sword,
—My hand shall destroy them.
—Thou didst blow with thy wind,
—The sea covered them:
They sank as lead in the mighty waters.”

Here we are hurried over what “the enemy said,” because it was not of the least importance what he said or what he did. The great fact is recorded in the climax:
on which all the emphasis is to be placed both in thought and in public reading.

Judges 5:27 —
“At her feet he bowed,
—he fell,
—he lay down;
—at her feet he bowed,
—he fell:
where he bowed,
there he fell down dead.”

1 Sam. 15:6 —
“And Saul said unto the Kenites,
—get you down from among the Amalekites,
lest I destroy you with them.”

Isa. 33:7-12 —Here the figure is used to hasten us on through the details which describe the judgment on Assyria, in order that we may dwell on the important fact that the hour of Judah’s deliverance has come: —
“Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without;
the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly:
—the highways lie waste,
the wayfaring man ceaseth:
—he hath broken the covenant,
—he hath despised the cities,
—he regardeth no man:
—the earth mourneth (the “and” here (in A.V.) is incorrectly inserted),
—Lebanon is ashamed,
—hewn down (here again the “and” is introduced and mars the figure).
—Sharon is like a wilderness;
—And Bashan and Carmel shake [their leaves] (or, are all astir).
“Now will I arise, saith the Lord:
now will I be exalted;
—now will I lift up myself.
—“Ye shall conceive chaff (חֲשַׁשׁ
, dried grass, or tinder).
—Ye shall bring forth stubble;
—your breath
as fire shall devour you.
And the people shall be as the burnings of lime
As thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.”

Ezek. 33:15, 16 —
“If the wicked restore the pledge,
—give again that he had robbed,
—walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity;
—he shall surely live
—he shall not die.”*
None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him:
he hath done that which is lawful and right;
he shall surely live.”
* Here, in the climax, we have the figure of Pleonasm (q.v.).

Mark 2:27, 28 —In the Textus Receptus the “and” is omitted, but it is inserted both in the A.V. and R.V. with T. Tr. A., WH.
It reads, in spite of this, as though the “and” were an addition to the text.
Without it there is an Asyndeton, and a forcible conclusion flowing from it.

“The Sabbath was made for man,
—not man for the Sabbath;
therefore the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath also.” *
* A.V., wrongly, “Lord also.” R.V., “even of the Sabbath.”
See “ Also,” a Bible Study on the Use of the Word, by the same author and publisher.

Mark 7:21-23 —“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,
—an evil eye,
all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

This weighty truth, thus emphasized, writes folly on all modern attempts to improve human nature ; because they all proceed on the false assumption that it is what goes into the man that defiles him, and ignore the solemn fact that in the natural heart there is “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). Until, therefore, a new heart has been given by God, all attempts to make black white will be labour in vain.
Compare Matt.15:18-20.

Luke 17:27-30 —
“They did eat,
—they drank,
—they married wives,
—they were given in marriage,
until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
and the Flood came, and destroyed them all.”

“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat,
—they drank,
—they bought,
—they sold,
—they planted,
—they builded;
but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

Rom. 1:29-31 —A long list is given of the marks of the “reprobate mind,” and we are taken through the awful catalogue, and hastened on to the climax in verse 32, that the righteous sentence of God has been passed, and only judgment now awaits them that “not only do the same, but have pleasurein them that do them.

1 Cor. 3:12, 13 —
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold,
—precious stones,
every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it,” etc.

Here it is the consequence which is emphasized by the climax thus led up to.
The builder here is the minister, and the work is ministerial.

Those who have been reformed or apparently converted by human persuasion or other influences working and acting on the flesh, are like “wood, hay, stubble;”
and will be burnt up in that day; for, as the Lord Jesus declared (using the work of a husbandman as the illustration, instead of, as here, the work of the builder),
“every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up”

(Matt. 15:13).

But those who have been converted by God
(and not merely as the popular phrase goes “to God”)
shall be as “gold, silver, precious stones.” for whom the fire shall have “no hurt.”

1 Cor. 12:28-31 —“And God hath set some in the church,
—first apostles,
—secondarily prophets,
—thirdly teachers,
—after that miracles,
—then gifts of healings,
—diversities of tongues.
Are all apostles?
—are all prophets?
—are all teachers?
—are all workers of miracles?
—Have all the gifts of healing?
—Do all speak with tongues?
—Do all interpret?
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”

Here we have part of the revelation concerning the Mystical body of Christ.

It commences at verse 1: —

A/ 12:1-11. Nine gifts which God has given to His Church.

      B/12-17. The unity of the Body. Nine enumerations.

     B/ 18-27. What God hath set in the Body. Eight enumerations.

A/ 28-31. What God hath set in the Church. Eight gifts.

Thus in A and A we have the Church. And in B and B we have the Body.
In A and B we have seventeen* enumerations, and in B and A we have seventeen also. These arrangements bind all four together in a remarkable way to show that “the Body is

 * For the significance of this number, see Number in Scripture by the author and publisher.
Also The Mystery.

1 Cor. 13:13 
“And now abideth faith,
—charity, these three” etc

2 Cor. 7:5, 6 —“For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but
—we were troubled on every side;
—without were fightings,
—within were fears.
Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”

Gal. 5:19-21 —“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these,
revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
See also under Merismus and Synonymia.

Gal. 5:22 —“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
against such there is no law.”

Contrast this with the Polysyndeton in 2 Pet. 1:5-7.

Eph. 4:32 —Contrast this with the
Polysyndeton in verse 31.
“And be kind one to another,
—forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
(Lit. “like as GOD also”).

Phil. 3:5-7 —“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh
(Greek:— ‘Though I might have confidence IN THE FLESH also’).
If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might boast in the flesh, I more:

“Circumcised the eighth day,
—of the stock of Israel,
—of the tribe of Benjamin,
—an Hebrew of the Hebrews;
as touching the Law, a Pharisee;
—concerning zeal, persecuting the Church;
—touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

Paul is speaking not of his sins, but of his gains. As to his standing in the flesh we hear his words, “I more,” so we need not strive to gain it. As to his guilt as a sinner we hear his words, “I am chief,” so we need not despair. For God has set him forth as a pattern showing how all sinners must be converted.
(1 Tim. 1:16)

1 Thess. 5:14-18 —
“Now we exhort you, brethren,
warn them that are unruly,
—comfort the feeble minded,
—support the weak,
—be patient toward all men,
—See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but
—ever follow that which is good both among yourselves and to all men.
—Rejoice evermore.
—Pray without ceasing.
—In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Tim. 1:17 —
“Now unto the King eternal,
—the only wise God,
be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Tim. 4:13-16 —
“Till I come, give attendance to reading,
—to exhortation,
—to doctrine.
—Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy,
with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
—Meditate upon these things;
—give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
—Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;
continue in them:
for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself, and them that hear thee.”

2 Tim. 3:1-5 —“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves,

—disobedient to parents,
—without natural affection,
—false accusers,
—despisers of those that are good,
—lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
from such turn away.”

2 Tim. 3:10, 11 — “But thou hast fully known my doctrine,
—manner of life,
afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch,
—at Iconium,
—at Lystra: what persecutions I endured;
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”*

As much as to say, “It does not matter what my troubles may have been:
the great and blessed fact is that out of them all the Lord hath delivered me.”

* Compare and contrast with this the Polysyndeton of 2 Tim. 4:17, 18.

2 Tim. 3:16, 17 —“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitably
—for doctrine,
—for reproof,
—for correction,
—for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
See under the figure of Ellipsis, page 44.

Here we are hurried on, and not asked to stop and consider each of the four things for which all Scripture is profitable: but we are asked especially to dwell on the object of it: viz., thoroughly to furnish: the man of God for all the circumstances in which he may be placed.

The words “perfect” and “throughly furnished” are cognate in the Greek, and should be similarly rendered. If the former ἄρτιος (artios) is rendered “perfect,” the latter ἐξηρτισμένος (exeertismenos) should be “perfected” (as in the margin). If the former is translated fitted, the latter should be fitted out-and-out. If the latter is rendered “furnished completely,” then the former should be furnished. Perhaps the best rendering would be “fitted” . . . “fitted out,” i.e., “that the man of God may be fitted, fitted out unto all good works.”
See under the figure of Paregmenon.


The adjective ἄρτιος (artios) is from the Ancient Aryan root AR, which means to fit.
In the Greek it implies perfect adaptation and suitability. The Greeks used it of time,
as denoting the exact or right moment; and of numbers as denoting a perfect or even number as opposed to an odd number.

The verb ἐξαρτίζω (exartizo) means to fit out; and is used of furnishing a house, making full preparation for war, or especially of fitting out a vessel for sea, in doing which every emergency must be provided for—heat and cold, calm and storm, peace and war, fire and accident. Hence, he who studies God’s word, will be a “man of God” fitted out and provided for all the circumstances and emergencies of life. But he who neglects this, and studies man’s books, will become at best a man of men; he will be only what man’s wisdom can make him, a prey for every enemy, exposed to every danger.*
*See The Man of God, a pamphlet by the same author and publisher.

The adjective ἄρτιος occurs only here: and the verb ἐξαρτίζω only here, and in Acts 21:5. The importance of this passage is shown by the perfection of its structure: —
A / a /  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God;
b / and is profitable
 .              B / for doctrine,
.                    C / for reproof,
                     C / for correction,
                B / for instruction in righteousness:
A / a / that the man of God may be perfect;
b / throughly furnished unto all good works.

Here in A and A we have that which is connected with “God”; while in B, C and B, C,
we have that which is connected with His “Word.” Thus:—

A / a / God’s divinely inspired word.
b / Its profit to God’s man.
.               B / Positive: Teaching what is true.
.                     C / Negative: Convicting of what is wrong in doctrine.
                      C / Negative: Correcting what is wrong in doctrine.
                B / Positive: Instructing in what is right.
A / a / God’s divinely-fitted man.
           b / His profit in God’s word.

There is a further reference to this verse (2 Tim. 3:16) in verses 2 and 3 of the next chapter, which may be compared thus: —


             The God-breathed Word is profitable
2 Tim. 3:16.                                          2 Tim. 4:2, 3.

for doctrine:        ← therefore →     preach the word; be instant in season, out of season
for reproof:          ← therefore →     reprove, 
for correction:     ← therefore →     rebuke,
for instruction:   ← therefore →     exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine
(in righteousness).

Thus we have the same figure in both of these corresponding members:

2 Tim. 4:2, 3 —“Preach the word;
—be instant in season, out of season;
—exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine
This important conclusion is pressed upon us and thus emphasized in order to show us that, when men “will not endure sound doctrine,” we are not to search for something to preach that they will endure, but all the more earnestly and persistently we are to “preach the word!” Nothing else is given us to preach, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.

Jas. 1:19, 20 —“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man (ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos)
be swift to hear,
—slow to speak,
—slow to wrath:
for the wrath of man (ἀνδρός, andros) worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Jas. 5:6 —Here the translators have inserted “and” twice in italics, utterly destroying the figure and hiding the conclusion.
Ye have condemned,
—ye have killed the just [One];
—He doth not resist you.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.”

Rev. 3:7, 8 —“These things saith He that is holy,
—he that is true,
—he that hath the key of David,
—he that openeth, and no man shutteth;
and shutteth, and no man openeth;
I know thy works.”

Contrast the Polysyndeton in verses 8, 12, 17, 18

Among other examples may be noted:
Isa. 21:11.
Mark 16:6, 17, 18.
Luke 1:17.
Rom. 2:19-23.
1 Cor. 4:8; 13:4-7; 15:41-44.
2 Cor. 7:2-4.
Heb. 11:32-38.
Rev. 7:5-8; 21:18-20.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 137-148. Adapted for website compatibility.
See original at link.      Stream           Download.

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