Figures of Speech: A Holy Hendiadys

A hendiadys might be unnecessary. A hendiadys just shows that you like to embellish your speech maybe a little more than the average speaker. Nothing wrong per se, depends on who you’re talking to, what you’re saying. An example of the grammatical and rhetorical term “hendiadys” would be… let’s see. Well first, a little etymology. It’s literally translated as “one by means of two” from Greek. But isn’t that the idea and ideal of a marriage made in Heaven? When God takes one person and matches them with another, He’s effectively making “one by means of two”.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:7-8, emphasis mine)

The most elementary, introductory scripture regarding marriage. It even shows a little hendiadic flourish. Instead of saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his parents…” Jesus makes it clear—clearer—by saying “father and mother”. Another example would be when you choose to draw out a statement where simplicity and directness just won’t do. For instance, “to hear with ears that itch”, is essentially a hendiadys of the term “itching ears” from 2 Timothy 4:3. Which in turn refers to those who want to hear gossip and only those things that sound good to them.

Otherwise Engaged

“For I would that all men were even as myself.” (1 Corinthians 7:7) Paul is referring here to his state of singleness and celibacy before the Lord. He continues on by saying (same verse) “But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” Sometimes, a life of purposeful, holy singleness is the best thing for a person. Listen: “But I would have you without carefulness (worry, anxiety). He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord.” (7:32) Let’s just stop right there. How can we get beyond that? How can a single person get past this stark statement of pragmatic singleness? Same goes for the ladies: “The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (7:34) If we see the Lord as our spouse (try it), then even though we ebb and flow between states of loneliness and solitude and contentment, our anchor is in Him and we find completeness and validation in doing that thing, or things, whatever they may be, that God has placed on our heart for service to Him. This being said, anyone who you (or I) would consider courting, dating, marrying, better be willing to come alongside you to help you rather than having you lay down whatever it is that you’re doing in service to God.

Paul continues on in verse thirty-five: “…and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” I like that. Sometimes, we think that this one thing (in this case, a significant other) will solve the loneliness that we feel. We see couples out walking, talking, holding hands, and we wish that were us. Should you desire it, rest assured, God has someone for you. And every day that you live and walk before Him is a day closer to meeting that special someone. Hold on, hold out. And even though Paul says that men and women who are married care for their wives and husbands respectively, I believe that marriage can be such that both care for Jesus more than their other, which will in turn cause the marriage to be a thing of lasting and resonant beauty.

Now we come to the end. I believe that after we live for a time in the service of God, learning what He’d have us know—both about ourselves and the world at large, with reference to Him—then, and only then, will He bring along that companion that we’ve been wishing, hoping, praying and waiting for. I believe they arrive when we don’t have to have them. When we’re content by ourselves, without any illusions. Granted, God saw that Adam was alone. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), but there’s also the realization that we’re living in the season after Jesus dealt with the uncoupling of God and humanity. He reunited us to God in a spiritual union of which matrimony is only a shadow, a symbol. It behooves us to explore this truth and this reality before getting caught up in the world of another. Take heart. If you have the desire to get married then God’s the one who put it there. And He will fulfill it ladies and gentlemen. Until then, live out your honeymoon with God and then He will effectively make of your life one statement to the world by bringing along another. Like a holy hendiadys.

God bless you.


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