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Bible Lexicons

Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Hypotyposis; or Word-Picture

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Visible Representation of Objects or Actions by Words

Hy´-po-ty-po´-sis. Greek, ὑποτύπωσις, from ὑποτυποῦν (hypotypoun), to sketch out; from ὑπό (hypo), under, and τυποῦν (typoun), to impress; and this from τύπος (typos), impression. It occurs twice in the New Testament (1 Timothy 1:16 and 2 Timothy 1:13). In the plural it would express what we call "outlines."

The name is given to this figure because it describes an action, event, person, condition, passion, etc., in a lively and forcible manner, giving a vivid representation of it.

In Latin, therefore, the name is REPRAESENTATIO, representation, and ADUMBRATIO, a shadowing out or a sketching out in words.

Other Greek names of this figure are DIATYPOSIS (di´-a-ty-po´-sis), from διά (dia), through, and τυποῦν (typoun), to impress. The verb meaning to form thoroughly, to give a thorough form.

ENARGEIA, ἐνάργεια (en-ar-gei-a), vivid description, visible representation (in words).

PHANTASIA, φαντασία (phan-ta´-si-a), a making visible, a presentation of objects to the mind.

ICON (εἰκών, eikôn), an image, figure, likeness; and Latin IMAGO, an imitation, copy, or picture, but especially a statue, visibly presenting the object to the eye or mind.

EICASIA. Greek, εἰκασία (ei-ca´-si-a), a likeness, or image, from εἰκάζω (eikazo), to make like to, represent by a likeness.

Thus the nature of this figure is quite clear from the various names given to it. Hypotyposis is employed whenever anything is so described as to present it forcibly and vividly to the mind.

There are many examples in Scripture: but it is not necessary to transcribe whole passages, and in some cases whole chapters, in full.

Examples may be classified, in which things are thus vividly presented to the eye, and so described as to seem very real.

(1) The blessings on the obedience of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

(2) The curses and the judgments (Deuteronomy 28:15-45. Isaiah 1:6-9; Isaiah 34:1-17. Jeremiah 4:19-31). The greater part of Lamentations (esp., 4:4-8).

(3) The captivity and scattering of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:49-68).

(4) The executioners of Gods judgments (Isaiah 5:26-30).

(5) The hollowness of mere religion, such as existed when Christ was on earth (Isaiah 1:11-15).

(6) The folly of idolators and idols and idolatry (Isaiah 44:9-17; Isaiah 46:6-7).

(7) The sufferings of Christ (Psalms 22:1-31; lix. Isaiah 53:1-12).

(8) The glory and triumph of Christ (Colossians 2:14-15, etc.).

(9) Certain similitudes: as when the blessings of Christs coming are compared to the rising sun (Malachi 4:2), or a warrior (Revelation 19:11-16); or when God is compared to a wine-refreshed giant when He arises to avenge His people (Psalms 78:65-66); or when the godly remnant of Israel is compared to a Bride (Psalms 45:1-17); or when the prosperity of the wicked is likened to a green bay-tree (Psalms 37:35); and that of the righteous to the palm and the cedar (Psalms 92:12-14).

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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Hypotyposis; or Word-Picture'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

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