How "light" is used in the Bible
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See the verses at:https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=light&qs_version=ESV
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Verse
The role of "light"
Literal or figurative?
CommentKey:Summary:
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Genesis 1:3centralambiguousAll the verses in the creation story are marked "ambiguous", as it is to interpret this passage that I'm doing this study.central: the concept of light is one of the central topics in this verse, and it is a crucial element in interpreting the text.central + literal:
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Genesis 1:4centralambiguous5
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Genesis 1:5centralambiguouscentral + figurative:
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Genesis 1:15centralambiguousperipheral: light is mentioned, but it's not the main topic. The text could easily be understood with 'light" left out, or substituted with something else.49
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Genesis 1:16centralambiguouscentral + both:
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Genesis 1:17centralambiguous10
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Genesis 1:18centralambiguouscentral + ambiguous:
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Genesis 44:3peripheralliteral12
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Exodus 10:23 centralliteraln/a: "light" doesn't appear in this verse in the sense that we're interested in. Either it only appears in the section heading and not in the text itself, or a homonym appears instead, such as "light" in the sense of weight, or to "light upon" something.peripheral + literal:
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Exodus 13:21centralbothPillar of cloud and fire, which is referenced often elsewhere21
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Exodus 25:37centralliteralperipheral + figurative:
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Exodus 27:20centralboth98
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Exodus 35:8peripheralliteralperipheral + both:
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Exodus 35:14peripheralliteral4
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Exodus 35:28peripheralliteralliteral: "light" is used in the literal sense in this verse: a physical light that actually shines and actually exists, in the real world or in the narrative of the passage.
peripheral + ambiguous:
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Exodus 39:37peripheralliteral9
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Leviticus 24:2centralbothn/a:
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Numbers 4:9peripheralliteral11
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Numbers 4:16peripheralliteralfigurative: "light" is used in a figurative sense in this verse: as representing perception, truth, awareness, etc.
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Numbers 8:2centralliteral
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Judges 16:2peripheralliteral
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Judges 19:26peripheralliteralboth: there is a literal light in this verse, but it also represents something else as well, so "light" here can be interpreted in both literally and figuratively.
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1 Samuel 14:36peripheralliteral
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1 Samuel 25:36peripheralliteral
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1 Samuel 29:10peripheralliteral
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ambiguous: I could not determine the sense in which "light" is used in this verse.
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2 Samuel 17:12 n/a
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2 Samuel 23:4centralfigurative
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1 Kings 16:31 n/a
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2 Kings 3:18 n/a
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2 Kings 7:9 peripheralliteral
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Nehemiah 9:12 peripheralbothNote that the same "pillar of fire" of Exodus 13:21 is labeled "peripheral" here, since its light is only mentioned in passing.
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Nehemiah 9:19 peripheralboth
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Esther 8:16 peripheralfigurative
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Job 3:4 centralfigurative
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Job 3:9 peripheralfigurative
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Job 3:16 peripheralboth
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Job 3:20 peripheralfigurative
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Job 3:23 peripheralfigurative
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Job 10:22peripheralfigurative
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Job 12:22peripheralfigurative
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Job 12:25peripheralfigurative
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Job 17:12peripheralfigurative
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Job 18:5peripheralfigurative
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Job 18:6peripheralfigurative
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Job 18:18peripheralfigurative
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Job 22:28peripheralfigurative
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Job 24:13centralfigurative
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Job 24:14centralboth
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Job 24:16centralfigurative
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Job 25:3peripheralfigurative
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Job 26:10peripheralambiguous
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Job 28:11peripheralfigurative
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Job 29:3peripheralfigurative
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Job 29:24peripheralfigurative
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Job 30:26peripheralfigurative
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Job 33:28peripheralfigurative
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Job 33:30peripheralfigurative
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Job 37:21peripheralfigurative
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Job 38:15peripheralambiguous
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Job 38:19centralliteral
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Job 38:24centralliteral
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Job 41:18peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 4:6peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 13:3peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 18:28peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 27:1peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 36:9peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 37:6peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 38:10peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 43:1n/a
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Psalm 43:3peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 44:3peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 49:19peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 56:13peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 78:14peripheralliteralthe same phenomena - the pillar of fire - can be labeled "literal" or "both", depending on how the verse is phrased.
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Psalm 89:15peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 90:8peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 97:4peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 97:11peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 104:2peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 105:39peripheralliteral
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Psalm 112:4peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 118:27peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 119:105peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 119:130peripheralfigurative
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Psalm 139:11centralfigurativeA good illustration of a "central" role that light could have in a metaphor. Here, only "light" could be the appropriate metaphor, whereas in many of the other verses in Psalms you can just as easily use "life" or "goodness" or other such words.
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Psalm 139:12centralfigurative
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Proverbs 4:18centralfigurative
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Proverbs 6:23peripheralfigurative
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Proverbs 13:9peripheralfigurative
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Proverbs 15:30peripheralambiguous
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Proverbs 16:15peripheralfigurative
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Proverbs 23:5n/a
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