Synecdoches

Lesson 7

Title: “Synecdoche”

 

Have you ever heard of the term “synecdoche” before? In fact, you are probably having a hard time pronouncing it. It is pronounced: “sin – neck – tah – key.”

 

Many of us may not be familiar with the term “synecdoche” but we use it often in the English language. A synecdoche is a figure of speech by which a part is used to represent the whole. For example: The phrase: “I like your new set of wheels” means “I like your new car” The “wheels” (the part) represent the car (the whole). The phrase: “Let’s do a head count” means “Let’s count the people.” The “head” (the part) represents the person (the whole).

 

The word of God uses synecdoches as well. When the New Testament writers speak of being saved by believing, they are using the term “believe” as a synecdoche – “believe” (the part) represents all of Jesus’ teachings (the whole).

 

This lesson will be based off John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)

 

John 3:16 is a “life-and-death” passage. A “life-and-death” passage is a passage that uses terms like “saved,” “damned,” “life,” “death,” “live,” “perish,” etc.

 

Main Text: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)

 

I. Read Luke 13:1-5

 

1. According to Jesus, is repentance optional? ______.

2. From verses 3 and 5, if a person does not repent, he/she will __________.

3. Therefore, does “believing in Him” involve repentance? _____.

4. Therefore, if a “life-and-death” passage does not mention “repentance,” does that mean repentance is

not essential to salvation? _____.

5. Therefore, to “believe in Him” involves repentance. Do you agree? _____.

 

II. Read Matthew 10:32-33

 

1. According to Jesus, is confession optional? ______.

2. If a person confesses Christ before men, He will confess that person before His __________________.

3. If a person is denies Christ before men, He will deny that person before His _____________________.

4. Therefore, if a “life-and-death” passage does not mention “confession,” does that mean confession is

not essential to salvation? _____.

5. Therefore, to “believe in Him” involves confession. Do you agree? _____.

 

III. Read Mark 13:13 & Revelation 2:10

 

1. According to Jesus, is faithful-endurance optional? ______.

2. Those who remain faithful to Christ to the very end shall be _________.

3. Therefore, if a “life-and-death” passage does not mention faithful endurance, does that mean faithful

endurance is not essential to salvation? _____.

4. Therefore, to “believe in Him” involves faithful endurance. Do you agree? _____.

 

IV. Read Mark 16:15-16

 

1. According to Jesus, is baptism optional? ______.

2. According to Jesus in verse 16, those who _________ and are ___________ shall be _________.

3. Therefore, if a “life-and-death” passage does not mention baptism, does that mean baptism is not

essential to salvation? _____.

4. Therefore, to “believe in Him” involves baptism. Do you agree? _____.

 

As you can see, the Bible uses synecdoches all the time. Unfortunately, many fall into the wrong conclusion that if a passage fails to mention a certain command, then that command is not essential to salvation. But as you can see, to “believe” means to accept and apply all the words of Jesus. Psalm 119:160 (NASB) says, “The sum of Your word is truth…” Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is true. A person cannot pick and choose what they want to believe. They must believe everything God has to say. A person must also realize that God’s Word uses synecdoches. When the Bible speaks of “belief,” it is implied that repentance, confession, baptism and faithful endurance is included in “belief.”

 

What has the Lord taught you in this Bible lesson?

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