Storm Imagery in the Bible


In The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, the authors do a fine job of summarizing the storm imagery in the OT and NT.  Here is just a summary of a summary — you’ll have to pick up the dictionary to read the details.  It is well worth it!

“Storms provide many varied biblical images….  The storm is a danger and a necessity.  It gives life through its water but death through its violence…it is both a tool of judgment in the hand of God and an evil threat to God’s people, an agent of chaos against God’s ordered world.”

The storm in Scripture sometime represents pagan deities, sometimes God’s attendant, sometimes God’s agent of judgment, sometimes God’s enemy, sometimes suffering, sometimes uncreation, and sometimes it is the means of polemicism against the Canaanite Baal myth.  Sometimes it is even a picture of redemptive-judgment — salvation for some, condemnation for others.

The above is taken from pages 817-819 of Dictionary of Biblical Imagery ed. Leland Ryken, James Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998).  For more details on the storm theme, see also Paul J. Achtemeier, “Person and Deed: Jesus and the Storm-Tossed Sea” Interpretation 16 (1962), 169-176.


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