‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’   Leave a comment

The origin of this well-known saying is ambiguous.  However there is no doubt about its accuracy.  But is it really necessary for us to have a physical ‘picture’ to appreciate it?

Its my belief that the greatest use of this truism isn’t political cartoons or other media presentations as is often touted.  But it proves to be utterly true also when ‘word-pictures’ are presented for our human imagination!

For a prime example of this, arguably the greatest man to ever walk on the earth was a master at stimulating human imagination via the use of such ‘word pictures’.  And those pictures have left an indelible mark on mankind down to this day!

He consistently used ‘word pictures’ to stimulate human imagination and human emotions, to teach, explain, clarify, and magnify his point. 

Here is a classic example of his technique by way of hyperbole:

‘…It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.’   (Matthew 19:24)

Another classic example when he described hypocritical religious leaders:

“Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men]”  (Matthew 7:17-20)

These word-pictures are not limited to a one-off time period, as for example political cartoons, rather they are ‘timeless’ lessons that teach us things better than a thousand words could.  They present mental images to help us to understand and appreciate universal truths.

Though recorded 2000 years ago, if we meditate on them we will gain insight for our present day!


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