Metaphors Of What It Means To Be a Christian

Scripture uses many metaphors for describing what it means to be a Christian. Preachers and writers add others of their own. I thought it’d be encouraging to collect a list of these metaphors.

Scriptural Metaphors

  • Babes drinking the milk of God’s Word
  • Branches of a vine
  • Bride of a bridegroom
  • Child of God (Jn 1:12, 1 Jn 3:1)
  • Child of the King
  • City on a hill
  • Finder of a pearl of great price
  • Finder of a treasure in a field
  • Fishers of people
  • Light of the world
  • Member of Christ’s body
  • Member of the royal priesthood
  • Salt of the Earth
  • Seed planted in good soil
  • Sheep among wolves
  • Sheep in the shepherd’s flock
  • Slave to righteousness
  • Subject of the Kingdom of God
  • Wheat (rather than weeds) of the field

Additional Metaphors

  • Patient in a hospital
  • Beggar who has found bread
  • Blind person who has received sight (e.g., John Newton, “Amazing Grace”)
  • Convicted felon who is freed because the judge has taken the punishment on himself
  • Crimson stained [cloth] that has been washed as white as snow (e.g., Elvina M. Hall, “Jesus Paid It All”)
  • A dirty person who is washed and made clean
  • A lame person who can now walk
  • A lost person who is now found (e.g., John Newton, “Amazing Grace”)
  • Shining as the sun (e.g., John Newton, “Amazing Grace”)
  • Survivor of a shipwreck
  • Traveler on a journey (e.g., Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress)
  • Walking along a path into a forest, where the deeper you go the more you need to depend on God and choose to stay on the path

These aren’t metaphors about who God is, though that will indirectly come out. These metaphors do not necessarily describe how one becomes a Christian nor do they necessarily express everything (or even many things) about being a Christian. And some are arguably more descriptive of the Church rather than an individual Christian. They do, however, say something about what it means to be a follower of Christ.

List started June 4, 2018. Last addition October 3, 2018. Contributed by: Steve Li, Johnny Lin, Karen Lin, Steve Palomino, Daniel Schneider, Rolanse Tsang, and Bryan Woosley.