Grant R. Osborne ends his section “Figures of Speech” with some concluding advice for preachers (The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation [2d ed.; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2006], 130, emphasis added):
Figures of speech are especially rich sources of imagery. While the discussion primarily has centered on the hermeneutical aspects, I want to note also their value for the sermon. It is my contention that some of the best illustrations come not just from cute stories or clever repartee but from the text itself and specifically from the background behind figurative language. Ricoeur’s view of the world-referential value of metaphor is helpful in reminding us that our task is to immerse the audience not merely in entertaining anecdotes but in the Word itself. We are to help our congregation to live anew the message God has revealed in the text and to feel its power to change their situation as well. The startling reverberations of meaning inherent in the Bible’s figurative language is the best place to start, for it is alive with powerful, colorful ideas. In recapturing the vitality and forceful presentation of the language, we will help our listeners to place themselves in the shoes of the original hearers and both to relive and to apply anew that eternal message. Every figure of speech is an illustration waiting to be unlocked. All we have to do is contextualize the metaphor for our day, and it will be an exciting illustration.