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Bible Lexicons

Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Hendiatris; or Three For One

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Three words used, but one thing meant

Though the Greeks did not name such a figure, it is clear that it is employed in Scripture. For we sometimes find three nouns instead of two, and in these cases there are two nouns exalted to the place of emphatic adjectives, which are thus raised to equal importance with the subject itself.

Jeremiah 4:2.-"And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness": i.e., thou shalt swear, in truth (i.e., truly, yes-justly and righteously).

In swearing by Jehovah in truth, justice and righteousness is included; not only that people swear the truth (Leviticus 19:12. Numbers 30:3. Jeremiah 5:2. Matthew 5:33), but also that they swear by Jehovah alone (i.e., justly and righteously), and not by idols also, as, according to Zephaniah 1:5, they did in his day.* [Note: Scott, Com. in loco.]

Daniel 3:7.-"All the people, the nations, and the languages fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up."

Now "languages" do not fall down; neither do they worship; Therefore the words are used as a figure, and the figure is Hendiatris: All the people, yes-and people of all nations and languages, fell down and worshipped.

Matthew 6:13.-"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory": i.e., for thine is the kingdom, yes-and the powerful and glorious kingdom too.

John 14:6.-"I am the way, and the truth, and the life." This is hidden in the A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] which ignores the first "and."

The whole subject of conversation here is Christ as "the way." See the context. We have here therefore another example of Hendiadiatris: "I am the way, yes-the true and living way; for no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Of course, Christ is the "truth," as He is also the "life": but this is not what is stated in this verse. Here, only one subject is in question: viz., "the way"; and the other two nouns are used to define its true nature and character.

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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Hendiatris; or Three For One'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

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