This article examines the theoretical basis and the hermeneutical processes which determine the appropriation of the metaphor in religious discourse. Throughout the twentieth century the influence of linguistic philosophy on language has been noted by various philosophers, linguists and theologians. Religious language of the twenty first century is furthermore intensely aware of the fact that linguistic utterances pertaining to God have no realistic external referent. This realisation foregrounds the importance of the metaphor and speaking about God by means of metaphorical language. Metaphors are sparks of imagination, transferring a word from its normal context to an estranged one. Meaning crystallises in the course of a dynamic interaction between two concepts that belong supposedly to unrelated, even hostile domains. Often the meaning of metaphors is uncertain because authors are not explicit about their thoughts. This is especially the case with regards to metaphors in the Bible, because the interpretation of metaphors is influenced by the reader's associative frame of reference. Both authors and readers from Biblical times had a context and a frame of reference vastly different from today. However, the meaning of metaphors is not fixed, on the contrary, numerous new meanings may be mobilised by different readers' associative frame of reference. Because metaphors have a history of human experience, these are living metaphors that make language new and exceed the limits of meaning and association. If conventional metaphors permeate all of human life, thought and action, theological discourse is metaphor par excellence. This article concludes with a challenge to Practical Theology, especially Homiletics, Liturgy and Narrative Pastoral Counselling to treat the metaphor with caution and with awe. A dynamic and interactive relationship between theory and praxis is necessary for the metaphor to function creatively and to induce change. Therefore theory needs to find its home in praxis.