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Though it may sound boring, this can be a most exciting and enlightening exercise, one which can become a lifetime habit of being a good word detective. Perhaps you need a quick refresher on basic grammatical data. See Appendix A. Asking Interpretive Questions and Thinking Through to Conclusions It seems that some of us read the Bible without ever asking ourselves a question. Whether we think it is unspiritual to do so, or whether we have been brainwashed by biblical dogmatism, or whether we are just lazy-minded, the net result is the same.
With this unthinking approach we will never become good Bible interpreters. I believe the Lord likes to have us ask questions, for this gives him the opportunity to give us answers. I honestly believe we cannot read the Scriptures intelligently without having a flood of questions. For example, our Lord Jesus said to his men in the upper room: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father John For what he says seems so contrary to our experience, we hardly know whether to take him seriously, at first.
But if we start to ask questions, hopefully the light will begin to dawn. Here are some questions that come to mind. They are in italics so that you can follow my thinking. Now hear this! So I begin seriously to confront the issues. Does this refer to our initial faith which made us Christians, or does it refer to an ongoing faith? And what had he done? He had made lame men walk, blind men see. He even raised some from the dead! And were these early disciples to be able to do that?
Well, the record of the Acts of the Apostles declares that they did. His greater concern was for the redemption and healing of the human soul and spirit. If this were not so, I think he would have set up a Jerusalem Healing Clinic, and everyone would have been healed. His aim was deeper than physical healing. So I conclude his meaning in the text we are interpreting is that they would not just be able to do what he had done, but that their doing so would be for the same purpose, and fulfilling the same plan, as he had in mind.
As I view his miracles, I see that he did all under the direction of his Father, and only as required to fulfill his plan. What, then, is the purpose of his miracles? I see the answer in Luke italics mine : …and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Our Lord was in Luke 4 presenting the credentials of his Messiahship, and John the Baptist was given those credentials in Matthew Here we have moved to the larger context of the New Testament and even further, to the whole Bible, in the quotation Luke makes from Isaiah 1, 2. As a result, we see that the miracles of Jesus were the documentation of his Messiahship, to authenticate that he was truly the Christ, sent from God.
And how are they greater—in number or degree? Then we recall that his departure meant his going to the cross, his coming back in resurrection life, his sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower the church, and his ascension to the right hand of the Father to intercede for his own.
His disciples thought they were losing when he went away; he said they were gaining—that it was advantageous to them for him to go. From our vantage point in history, we can no doubt see this better than they did at the time he spoke these words. So where are we now?
What are the greater works? Are they greater in degree or in number? To answer the latter, I would suggest they are greater in both degree and number. What is greater than the physical miracles? Certainly the miracles of spiritual healing made possible by the cross, resurrection, and intercession of Christ. The Lord sought to make plain throughout his earthly life and ministry that the soul and spirit of man are far more important than the body, though he does not disdain the human body.
I think we have arrived at a fair understanding of what Jesus had in mind for his men in the upper room, but how does it apply to us today? Well, first we should observe that in John 17, our Lord prayed for his own who were with him then, but he also extended his prayer to include all of us who are his see John And if we take careful note, we see that in this upper room ministry, our Lord was laying the foundation of the church, instructing his men so they might understand what was happening when they came to the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God joined together the first members of the body of Christ to form the church.
So, by extension and application, I believe the Lord would have us understand that believers in our day are empowered to do anything and everything he has in mind to further his redemptive purposes in the world—but only under his direction, enabled by his power, and consistent with his character and purpose.
Finally, note that the next subject he introduces in John , 14 is prayer—the expression of our utter dependence on him to do what he says he will do. If you feel as I do about it, it is humbling, challenging, and exciting—even in the process—but well worth the effort. What a charter for encouraging and motivating us to action in cooperation with our Lord!
Anchoring Our Interpretation in the Application of Interpretative Principles In summary, note how we employed some of the principles of Bible interpretation in the course of our study. We applied particularly the rule of context, observing the local, larger, and total biblical relationships.
Though we could have gone further in this, we gained enough to answer our interpretive questions with some degree of understanding. We inquired into the purpose of miracles, looked at the Messiahship credentials of the Lord Jesus, and entered into the purposes of God in the church. We did not apply all the interpretive principles we have listed, but we used the ones that were necessary to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
We could go much further into this particular study, and I have done so on my own; but what I have described here is, I trust, sufficient to illustrate the process without wearing out your patience. My friend and fellow pastor, David Roper, is a master at asking interpretive questions. See the Appendix for his questions on 2 Timothy 1 and 2.
The expression of the psalmist is exactly what our hearts should say: Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law Psalm Or, as the apostle prays for the Ephesian Christians, …that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know.
Ephesians , We really are wholly dependent on God for the illumination of his Word to our minds and hearts. Methodology and techniques, though necessary, are fruitless unless we are truly taught of God. With that desire, then, we can listen, search, compare, meditate, reach conclusions, and be ready to obey the truth we have discovered. Approaching our study with this attitude we can then use various means to enhance our understanding of the Bible.
There is one basic method of Bible study, but several different approaches utilizing that method. It goes like this: Observation—what it says Interpretation—what it means Application—what it means to me personally, that is, what I must do about it Three different approaches to Bible study are the panoramic, the telescopic, and the microscopic. As a telescope limits the field of vision and focuses attention on one place at a time, so we can view the Bible.
This is pictorial of topical study, with its focus upon a specific truth, theme, or word. And just as discovering hidden treasure brings excitement and delight, so it is when we examine the Bible this way. This type of study involves vocabulary and language study, includes the investigation of biblical history and culture, and demands an intensive, methodical approach to scripture. The results are eminently worthwhile, for we find God revealing to us the underlying pattern and purpose of his Word through our diligent use of this approach.
Casual curiosity will never discover this hidden wealth. Follow with me as we work through an illustration of each of these three modes of study, will you? The Panoramic View If we were to read the whole Bible, seeking to discover its central theme, we would see something like this: The First Look—The Old Testament The Old Testament, we can easily see, is focused primarily on the Hebrew people, for as early as the eleventh chapter of Genesis, which is the book of beginnings, we are introduced to Abram, the first Hebrew, and the father of the nation Israel.
God chose to work through this people and to make their history a living illustration of his own desire to relate to all of us on a basis of loving reality. The New Testament confirms this idea with these words, referring to Israel: Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come 1 Corinthians NASB, italics mine.
And …whatever was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope Romans NASB, italics mine. Does this ring a bell with you regarding your own personal life? It should, for all of us are pictured here.
This is a picture of the flesh in us, with its inherent pride of achievement. The result, in their case, was a boy named Ishmael, the progenitor of the Arab peoples. Thus we see a pointed illustration of the consequences of the flesh—whether in them or in us. He will bring in better times. The gospel writers proclaim: Here He Is! Not recognizing their Messiah, though given ample evidence, the Jews had Jesus killed. In their mistaken religious zeal, they thought they were doing God a favor—to rid the world of this blasphemer.
But God raised him from the dead and, since then, he has become the author of eternal life and salvation to any who want him to be their Lord, Jew or Gentile. The action of this book is still going on. Its final chapters are, perhaps, being written in the life of the church today. The Fourth Look—The Epistles Even while he was engaged in his earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus laid the groundwork for this new society see John 13 through Thus, the men he called to begin the action he also prompted to write letters of instruction on how the new regime was to operate.
So we have the New Testament letters. The whole of the biblical revelation, we observe, is centered on one person—Jesus Christ. I suggest that you take a book of the Bible, perhaps one of the Gospels or the Book of Acts, and write your own synopsis of its contents, with a simple outline to summarize. A real adventure is to make a New Testament survey, using this approach with every New Testament book.
My friend and colleague, Ray Stedman, has a tremendous grasp of the full scope of the biblical revelation. The following outline has resulted from his study. Ephesians and 2 Timothy , 17 I. An inescapable imperative to understanding the truths of the New Testament.
Example of Grace—The personal life of each. LOVE D. These fall into three groups, each group begun by a fundamental epistle Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews. In application, I ask myself, what is he to me? Is he the most important person in my life? Do I really let him be Lord in my life in the practical level of making choices, determining life style and life direction?
These questions get pretty close to home, if he is as important as God says he is. Without looking at your Bible or concordance, list the verses or Scripture portions on the subject that you know, with references if possible. In other words, set down all that you know about the subject.
Take your concordance, subject index, topical or reference Bible, and count the references to this subject. Look up each reference and list the ones that set forth a basic principle or key thought. State these principles, that is, identify them by some pertinent phrase. Track down the answers to any apparent contradictions so that you have an answer satisfying to you and one you can explain to others.
Write out the additional facts or facets of this subject that you learned in your study. Note subjects that caught your interest, for future study. Ask the Lord for an opportunity to share the truth learned. I got less than one per cent. Of these, were in the Old Testament and 35 in the New Testament. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer Isaiah , 8.
Moving to the New Testament data, we see the picture rounding out: mercy is always there for those who will turn back to God in the obedience of faith. So we observe that there are two possibilities: either we are storing up wrath through our unbelief and disobedience, or we are enjoying life in Christ through our faith in him and obedience to his Word. There are those in that day who would prefer to be buried by an avalanche rather than to repent. Who ever heard of a fearsome lamb? On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords Rev.
The Lamb is Lord over all, and those who oppose his gracious reign have only his wrath left to face. Even in this awesome time of the final expression of his wrath, God remembers mercy. What a great and gracious God! We do this almost unconsciously, as we absorb the content of the scripture and think through its meaning. Here are some that occurred to me: 1. This, for them, means utter destruction, for one cannot defy the living God in his sovereign authority see 2 Thessalonians According to Romans the wrath of God is now being revealed in the present mess the world is in.
But there is a future expression of his wrath from which there is no recovery. Meanwhile, he is long-suffering toward us, that his goodness may lead us to repentance. The price of disobedience is too high. He sent a Savior. So I conclude that God is not a petulant, vindictive, or punitive deity just waiting to catch us in some failure, but rather he is a loving, kind, heavenly Father committed to achieving nothing but the best for his children—even if they must have a spanking.
Such a one is to be loved and obeyed—not to be taken lightly or presumed upon. In working through this topical study, I have carefully followed the procedure outlined at the beginning. You can identify the steps if you think it through. The only point I did not address is to note subjects that caught my interest. To consider this item, all the way through my study I kept thinking I must now study the other side of the picture, the grace of God.
With this additional study, I will hopefully achieve a balanced view of two vital topics centering around the character of God. Such study can bring nothing but profit. Once again, some steps on how to proceed in this investigative adventure may be useful. Seeing the Setting reconnaissance 2. Pulling into Focus observation 3. Getting on Target meditation 4. Hitting the Bulls-eye interpretation 5. Getting the Point application 6.
Putting It Back Together outlining I suggest you take six blank sheets of paper and write in headings with spaces in between as we have done on the following tables. From the Local Scene: b. From the Broader View: other scripture, history, the whole Bible.
In statement of principles. Schematic Summary sometimes called an outline Final Exam: Will it hold together? On the following pages you can see what I have done as a sample, and then do likewise with your own subject. From the Local Scene: 1. The chapter, back to is a remarkable prophetic picture of the atoning work of Christ. The immediate context portrays the value of his death and resurrection. Prophetic portrait of Christ as the suffering servant of Jehovah, written B.
Text and early date confirmed by two manuscripts dated second century B. So extensive is his writing concerning the person and work of Christ that Isaiah has been called the Evangelical Prophet. Declaration of fact The fruit—the result of His travail—resulting from as a source. Those who know Him shall be declared blameless of sin through His righteousness. He shall bear—Christ shall the passage is prophetic bear, i.
There is a question regarding the antecedents of the pronouns: I take it that this is saying that Christ is satisfied with the results of His sacrifice. I see no strong reason why it could not equally well be that God is satisfied. This is justification by faith in the Old Testament. It means that: a. Christ shall be satisfied with the results of His sacrifice. Through the knowledge of Christ many shall be accounted righteous because Christ has borne their sins. In statement of Principles. Justification is through the knowledge of Christ as the atoning sacrifice for sins.
The Lord Jesus is satisfied with the result of His atoning work on the cross. Christ is alive, enjoying the result of His obedience. The satisfaction of Christ with His work. The justification of believers, those who know Him as sin-bearer. Since Christ is satisfied with His atoning work, certainly I should be. I am accounted righteous through what He has done in my behalf. This means freedom from guilt.
ONE sin-bearer is enough! Schematic Summary sometimes called an outline of Isaiah A. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them Ephesians My study of these verses follows.
From the Local Scene: In a chapter describing What we were vs. From the Broader View: other Scripture, history, the whole Bible. Historical background—Acts 19 Doctrinal correlation—see Acts , , 38, 39 Romans , 5, , This passage highlights the work of God in taking poor material and making it fit for His use and habitation. Faith or salvation? What is faith? God does it, no ground to boast. This should be the pattern of our life and conduct, doing what He has planned for us.
We who are Christians have been saved by God alone, apart from any work or effort on our own part. God has done all that is possible and necessary for salvation. Salvation is received through faith. Faith is taking God at His word, that is, believing what He has said is true and acting upon it. Faith is not the gift, salvation is. The Gospel is a valid proposition— addressed to faith, demanding a response from the will of man. These works are not done independently of God, but are the result of and empowered by His working in us we are His workmanship.
God has a plan for us. A specific pattern of good works plotted out for us. Our place is to discover a step at a time what He has for us to do, and DO it. It is a gift, received by faith. Salvation does not originate with man. Good works are the consequence of our belonging to God.
God has a prearranged plan for our life. I have made, and can make, no contribution toward my personal salvation. All I can do is to take the great gift of grace that God offers in His Son. Any attempts at self-justification or claims of self-righteousness are a contradiction of the truth of this passage. My complete dependence should thus be on Jesus Christ. I must seek to discover and walk in the specific plan of God for my life.
A Settled State 1. An accomplished fact a 2. A present experience B. A Sovereign Source 1. Completely from God 2. Not from human origin or works b-9 C. A Prearranged Purpose 1. Arranged by God 2. Performed by us D. A Calculated Condition Faith. God is not content to be cut out of our lives in any degree. Sure think so! It is this: Procedure for Analytical Study 1. Choose a portion of Scripture on which you would like to have additional light.
Read it over several times, in different versions if possible. Look for the central thought and write it down. Divide into natural paragraphs and give each division a title. Look up definitions and derivations of the important words use dictionaries.
Phrase or re- phrase these definitions in terms that you understand. Simplify the dictionary definition if possible. Observe the most frequently used words or phrases to determine the emphasis or thrust. Trace through the argument or progress of thought of the writer and think through the steps used in arriving at a conclusion. Make your own paraphrased translation of the passage in contemporary American language. This will show you just how much you really understand of the passage, and will enable you to transmit the truth you have learned to someone else, in terms easy to understand.
New Life in Christ , 4 2. Putting On New Garments a. In general conduct b. In marriage , 19 c. In relation to worldlings , 6 1 In wisdom, redeeming opportunities 2 In gracious not insipid speech Note that I ignored the chapter break, since it does not accord with the thought content. Yes, it was a lot of work—but worth it, for now I have a much clearer understanding of what this passage is all about.
Grammatically, the series of imperatives makes strong impact. Fathers, do not provoke your children! Some impact, when you consider each of these is a demand upon our will—to do it! He is the one who enables us to do all the rest, as we trust him. Tracing the Argument As I trace through the progress of thought of the writer, his argument seems clear. Since we have the risen Christ, and he is our life; and since he has the place of honor and authority; and since we died with him and now our life is hid with him in God; and since we share his glory all in verses of chapter 3 , we have no need to live in the old way.
We can now, because of all these facts, put off the old life and adopt a new life style consistent with the one who is our life, the Lord Jesus. All the commands and exhortations that follow are based on this premise. This is spelled out in generalities, applicable to all Christians, then in specifics relating to the various relationships of life.
It concludes with instructions about how we should talk to God and how we should talk to men. Your Own Paraphrased Translation There is just one more step in our procedure: to make our own translation in paraphrased form, using our own terms. Stop being preoccupied with earthly things.
For you died, and your life is centered in Christ and is being kept with Christ in God; whenever Christ, our life, shall be made evident, then also you will be shown to be with him in the splendor of his character. Because of these things in which you formerly walked, the righteous anger of God is coming, yes, because of these things in which you once lived. Stop lying to each other, having put off the old man with his habits, and having put on the new man, who has been renewed in fuller knowledge to conform to the likeness of the one who created this new man.
In him there is no place for human differences of status, whether national, religious, cultural, or social; rather Christ is all that matters, and in all his people. This is the quality that holds it all together and shows how mature we really are. You children, listen to your parents and heed them, for this pleases the Lord greatly. You slaves, hear your masters as under their authority in everything; they are your lords in a human sense. Obey them, not just when they are watching, just to please them, but with unmixed motives caring most about what the Lord thinks and says.
You masters extend to your slaves that which is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Lord in heaven. Now Interpret Since we have now done a pretty thorough observation of the text, our next step is to deal with the interpretive problems and arrive at conclusions—then to apply the truth learned.
I expect by now you can do this for yourself, using the principles we have suggested earlier. So, to avoid being tedious, I will only touch on some of the interpretive areas as examples, rather than try to interpret the whole passage for you. The first interpretive decision I faced is in Colossians Here I had to decide whether Paul was referring to the future coming of Christ or his present manifestation in the believer.
For at least two reasons I chose the latter, 1 because the context is dealing with present conduct, not future conditions, and 2 because the word when in verse 4 is really whenever in the Greek text I admit I may have an advantage over you if you do not have access to the Greek, but you can get a Greek-English interlinear translation like I have and read it right out of that in English. The point is, I believe, that since Christ is our life, as we walk with him our life will be evidencing the glory of his character.
What a delightful prospect! To act in the name of another is to act out of his authority and consistent with his character and purposes—just as if it were that person acting. We are truly his representatives among men! How important, then, the impression we convey to a watching world. But it also uses the rather unusual combination of terms in the Lord Christ, instead of the usual expression, the Lord Jesus.
And Apply. The applications are many if I take the passage in detail—and you can make your own as the Lord points you to an area of need. But in general, the passage says to us that it really matters what life style we adopt, for we are accountable to the Lord Christ.
Since he is our life, what we do and say every day reflects on him, whether favorably or unfavorably. So I need to be consistently putting off the old ways and putting on the Lord Jesus—to show forth that newness of life I have in him. But this is not some legalistic paste-on, rather it is just being myself in Christ and allowing his life to show through in all that I do. Through this study, I was greatly encouraged to keep responding to Jesus Christ as my Lord.
This chapter concludes Phase 1, the basics of Bible interpretation. I hope you find it helpful and sufficiently rewarding to move to Phase 2, a study of Figurative Language. Milton Terry introduces us to this subject with keen insight: The natural operations of the human mind prompt men to trace analogies and make comparisons. Pleasing emotions are excited and the imagination is gratified by the use of metaphors and similes. Were we to suppose a language sufficiently copious in words to express all possible conceptions, the human mind would still require us to compare and contrast our concepts, and such a procedure would soon necessitate a variety of figures of speech.
So much of our knowledge is acquired through the senses, that all our abstract ideas and our spiritual language have a material base. With us these metaphors are all forgotten. We speak of spirit without thinking of breath, of heaven without thinking of sky, of pardon without thinking of a release, of revelation without thinking of a veil. But in ancient language every one of these words, nay, every word that does not refer to sensuous objects, is still in a chrysalis stage, half material and half spiritual, and rising and falling in its character according to the capacities of its speakers and hearers.
Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics. How long till you are quiet? Ephesians is a simile, making a formal comparison between Christ and the church on the one hand, and husbands and wives on the other. THAT the husband might sanctify his wife. It communicates an impression more by implication. In those early days, salt was the major means of arresting corruption in meat or fish, so the figure is not lost on those who listened to Jesus.
Light, in any age, enables us to function with any degree of confidence. It dispels darkness. These metaphors speak with penetrating force, even though they are implicit in nature. Irony The use of irony as a figure of speech, though it has a bite to it, often has its humorous side. Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you. We are weak, but you are strong.
Can you imagine how the Corinthian Christians must have felt the shame of their misplaced value systems, how this pointed word of sarcasm must have punctured their swollen pride in men? We should review our value systems, today, and discover the only ground of boasting—the Lord Jesus and his life in us. Here cup and table are used for what they contain and what they offer. Again, in Romans the circumcision is used to represent the Jewish people, while uncircumcision refers to the Gentiles.
In the anguish of his torment Job indulges in this kind of language. More graphically than any other form of speech it expresses the awfulness of his feeling of affliction. And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me. The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With violence it seizes my garment; it binds me about like the collar of my tunic. God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. I cry to thee and thou dost not answer me; I stand, and thou dost not heed me. Thou hast turned cruel to me; with the might of thy hand thou dost persecute me. Thou liftest me up on the wind, thou makest me ride on it, and thou tossest me about in the roar of the storm. Yea, I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living Job Certainly we get the keen sense of his utter despair from this highly expressive, but extravagant, language.
Personification Referring to inanimate objects as if they possessed life and personality is especially evident in the language of imagination and feeling. Here the earth is personified as having a mouth to devour these men. How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! The city of Jerusalem is here personified. Here tomorrow is invested with characteristics of human personality, as being beset with anxious cares.
Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son! In one hour has thy judgment come! This figure of speech seems best adapted to the expression of deep emotion. As such, it readily grabs our attention and draws out our interest. We mean this is his time of glory, or suffering, or whatever we associate with his current experience. We have substituted a part for the whole. Perhaps now we have seen enough of the prevalence and expressive value of figures of speech to help us appreciate the color and realism they lend to the language of the Bible.
Also, interpretively, our review should take some of the mystery out of our encounters with these forms, in studying the Bible. These are the communication modes which use comparison, resemblance, or correspondence whichever term best expresses it to lead us from familiar ground to new, unexplored realms of thought.
In them he reveals truth in concealed forms, thus intriguing the human mind. He knows we all love a mystery, so he couches his truth in enigmatic terms. By this he also separates those who are merely toying with ideas from those others who are determined to pursue the clues to ultimate understanding of truth. Because of the very nature of these expressive literary forms, their interpretation is correspondingly more difficult and intensely challenging.
We get our word typical from it, also typeface and typewriter. Parable A story which is true to reality and teaches a moral or spiritual lesson. Allegory A story in which people or things have hidden or symbolic meaning. A real parable, the details of which are woven by God into the facts of Type history.
While I have attempted to give general definitions to these forms of expression, if we view their usage in the Bible we find that they seem to defy exact and specific classification but rather blend into each other. I would suggest that they are so normal to the expression of thought that they are not meant to be rigidly categorized. It would appear that the Bible is not concerned to make exact, sharp distinctions between these various forms.
This it does in form rather than in essence; in the allegory an interpenetration of the thing signifying and the thing signified finding place, the qualities and properties of the first being attributed to the last, and the two thus blended together, instead of being kept quite distinct and placed side by side, as in the case of the parable.
In other words, an allegory, with its implied comparisons is related to a parable, with its more formal, identifiable comparison just as a metaphor an implied comparison is related to a simile a formal comparison. Add to this that a type combines the features of metaphor as an implied comparison with parable a realistic story with a moral or spiritual lesson , the whole being implanted by God in historical fact.
Here is what I would call a type. Call it just an illustration if you will—whatever we call it, the important thing is to see the truth it is designed to convey. Serpent originated and personifies sin That old serpent, Satan, still brings sin and death Gen. God sent serpents picturing sin to bring Sin still brings death Romans God provided the remedy for sin and death.
As God provided the antidote and remedy for the serpent was lifted up-so the Son of man John sin and death Num. God so loved that he gave John Serpent lifted up on a pole Num. Christ was lifted up on a cross John , The result: the one who looked at the bronze The result: whoever believes in him should not serpent lived Num. On that basis, if none 4 R.
Revell Co. Originally written in I hope you noticed, too, that all these words by their very definition express some form of correspondence, that is, the idea of laying one thing alongside another for the purpose of gaining additional understanding. Parables In a parable, the lesson is always woven into a story which is true to reality. The transition is highlighted in Matthew , where his disciples, noting the change, asked him why he was speaking now in parables.
Their having heard the truth, thus presented, becomes a judgment on their intransigence. The same applies to the Pharisees. After his resurrection they must have spent some sleepless nights thinking of what Christ had said. Fortunately, the Lord Jesus interprets some of his parables. This gives us a handle on our interpretive approach to them. The explanation is in Matthew , in which Jesus identifies some of the pieces of the puzzle.
Please follow it through in your own Bible. Again our Lord identifies the figures Matt. The prospect is either weeping and gnashing of teeth—or shining like the sun, in righteousness. However, we can formulate a few guidelines from these illustrations: 1 We can expect to see a correlation of the physical features of the parable to the spiritual implications involved. Our Lord joins these together: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons.
So we see that these three comprise one subject, a parable about lost things. I am not going to reproduce the text here, but I assume that you will read it from your own Bible, as if we were studying together. The lost sheep story Luke highlights the value of the sheep to its owner and the joy he expresses at its recovery. The application of the story makes it clear that the Lord Jesus is the shepherd of the sheep, and his concern is to seek the lost ones.
The Lost Coin. The next one, the lost coin, needs a bit of Hebrew cultural background. As Fred H. Wight points out: Since a divorced wife in the Orient is entitled to all her wearing apparel, for this reason much of her personal dowry consists of coins on her headgear, or jewelry on her person. This becomes wealth to her in case her marriage ends in failure. This is why the dowry is so important to the bride, and such emphasis is placed upon it in the negotiations that precede marriage.
The woman who had ten pieces of silver and lost one was greatly concerned over her loss, because it was doubtless part of her marriage dowry. In losing the coin, she lost some of her security. The joy is the same in heaven, but the added element of restored security for one who was distraught is the cause of rejoicing. The Lost Sons. Looking at the third parable in this trio, the lost sons, we discover another addition. The closing scene is one of enjoyment—love, fellowship, music, being expressed in a merry party.
The key figure here is the father, who is clearly representative of the heavenly Father. He could have done so at any time, but the Lord Jesus, as the master storyteller, leaves this an open question. Can you see how these three stories were designed to hit the Pharisees right where they lived? They portray the heart attitude of God toward lost ones. He desires for each of us safety in his fold, security against all that threatens our peace of mind, and enjoyment of all the good 5 Fred H.
Wight, Manners and Customs in Bible Lands. Moody Press, Chicago, IL. His program is all profit, no loss, for his people. There is much more we could gain from these beautifully expressive stories, but we have seen, I trust, that it is possible for us to understand parables. To add to my own personal observations of parables, I worked through a basic textbook on the subject, Trench, Notes on the Miracles and the Parables of Our Lord, seeking to condense and summarize his conclusions on this subject.
Here is what I learned: Why Jesus Taught in Parables Our Lord used parables to teach spiritual truth through well-known physical counterparts. Parables are not just happily-chosen illustrations from a library of storybooks; they have their ground in the nature of reality. They are arguments, and may be alleged as witnesses; the world of nature being throughout a witness for the world of spirit, proceeding from the same hand, growing out of the same root, and being constituted for that very end.
Here God communicates in terms of human relationships and natural phenomena—the ordinary stuff of which life is made. Again quoting Trench: …besides his revelation in words, God has another and an older, and one indeed without which it is inconceivable how that other could be made, for from this it appropriates all its signs of communication.
This entire moral and visible world from first to last, with its kings and its subjects, its parents and its children, its sun and its moon, its sowing and its harvest, its light and its darkness, its sleeping and its waking, its birth and its death, is from beginning to end a mighty parable, a great teaching of supersensuous truth, a help at once to our faith and to our understanding. And all point to the need for a better order of things.
In parables, Christ moves our thought processes from familiar ground to new concepts, from the known to the unknown, from the physical to the spiritual. In parables he appeals not just to the intelligent reason of man, but to his imagination and to his feelings. They have all the appeal of a human interest story.
Truth imparted in this form has a lingering quality not always true of more abstract modes of expression. To quote Trench again: His words, laid up in the memory, were to many that heard Him like the money of another country, unavailable for present use,—the value of which they only dimly knew, but which yet was ready in their hand, when they reached that land, and were naturalized in it.
And thus must it ever be with all true knowledge, which is not the communication of information, the transfer of a 6 Ibid. How do we get out of them the truth the Lord intends to teach? Here are some suggestions: 1. Seek to understand the one central truth the parable teaches, as distinguished from the corollary truths or facts which relate to it.
Relate all the peripheral details to this central truth, seeking to grasp how they contribute to the central truth to make it shine more clearly. Relate the parable to the context which introduces it and that which follows. Here we often find the key to its meaning—in seeing how the parable applies to the situation at hand.
Again, Trench has a pertinent word on this subject: These helps to interpretation, that is, the clues derived from the context though rarely or never lacking, are yet given in no fixed or formal manner; sometimes they are supplied by the Lord Himself Matthew ; ; sometimes by the inspired narrators of his words Luke ; ; —sometimes, as the epilogue, they follow Matthew ; Luke Occasionally a parable is furnished with these helps to a right understanding both at its opening and its close; as is that of the Unmerciful Servant Matthew , which is suggested by the question which Peter asks v.
So, again, the parable at Matthew begins and finishes with the same saying, and Luke 20 is supplied with the same amount of help for its right understanding. A parable should not be the primary, much less exclusive, foundation for any doctrine. Do not use parables to establish a doctrinal base; establish your doctrinal foundations from the clear teaching of scripture elsewhere, then parables will serve to illustrate and confirm, adding light and color to truth already discovered.
Avoid strained interpretations. A correct interpretation is not easy to arrive at, but having been discovered, should be easy to live with. It should have a sense of fitness. Extremes of interpretation should be avoided. One extreme is to seek only the most general, limited significance, the other is to make every minute detail say something. Hard-and-fast, absolute rules for interpreting parables have not been given to us.
The best we can do is to observe the way our Lord interpreted the parables in Matthew 13 and seek to learn from him. But note that in every case there are known quantities which by comparison and correspondence are designed to lead us to an understandable interpretation. He is so much more imaginative than we are! So we have at least one identifiable example of this figure of speech.
Paul writes, Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants.
One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother Galatians , italics mine.
Sinai—Law Mt. This suggests another comparison. And when you reflect that in Galatians Paul is addressing Gentile Christians, it seems as if he expected a great deal from them, interpretively. How could they grasp such a far-out figure? Where but to the Old Testament from which these false teachers quoted would Paul go to expose their fallacies?
What interpretive principles can we draw from this biblical example of allegory? Allegory is a bona-fide figure of speech used in the Bible. It employs comparison and correspondence of words and ideas. It is illustrative and explanatory of a specific line of truth. It cannot be divorced from its local context or the historical narrative from which it is drawn.
It is comprised of a number of metaphorical expressions in which the meaning of one word is invested in another, e. Hagar is Mt. Sinai, that is, she represents the Law of Moses. None of the figurative expressions are so obscure as to leave us guessing as to their import. We can expect to learn something from their use that will be of profit—applicable to life. We would be wise not to assume that such hidden meanings are latent in every place in the Bible. Are there other legitimate uses of allegory in the Bible, even though not specifically identified as such?
This is the only one specifically identified in the Bible. Here the mind turns immediately to the question, in what ways does the Passover picture the Lord Jesus in his sacrifice? So we turn back to Exodus 12 where the Passover was instituted by God and proceed to think it through. I would commend it to you as a most enlightening exercise of your interpretive skill.
Whether we call these allegories or not is unimportant as long as we discover their hidden truths. Stuart Briscoe, in his delightful and careful treatise on Ezekiel,10 is not ashamed to say so. In trying to interpret this difficult book, one is inclined to agree.
Types It is exceedingly unfortunate that modern scholarship has succeeded in almost eliminating the investigation and teaching of typology as a valid interpretive pursuit. So much has been lost of the richness and practical illustrative value which I believe God intends we should have through an understanding of types.
I would like to try to regain something of this lost value, using the Bible itself as the foundation for its validity. Typology is a bad word in many theological circles, but it is not difficult to see that God has a use for it, even if we do not. It is easy to see why many have reacted adversely to this field of biblical interpretation, for one need only read some of the writings of the past centuries to see the tendency to overreach in this obviously fascinating use of figurative language.
Much of the problem would be resolved, however, by simply agreeing on what a type is. The definition can be broad or narrow, based on the source of information we employ. I would remind you once again, the word type is borrowed from the Greek tupos, which is a mark formed 10 Stuart Briscoe, All Things Weird and Wonderful.
The Christian, walking with the Lord and serving Him, finds the work to be easy, and the load is light. This refers to marriage, to business, and to every other form of union. This situation is complicated frequently by those who are saved, born again, after the union is made. God made provision for this situation in various parts of His Word.
The live goat which became the scapegoat is a picture of the Savior living in glory with the marks of Calvary upon Him, having taken away the sin of the world, and having died at Calvary for our sins. The dead goat represents Christ at Calvary, giving up His life for us. To make any sense at all, this latter word must be viewed in the tight context of Leviticus We can draw the lines a bit tighter if we say a type is a person or thing prefiguring a future person or thing; or a figure or example of something future and more or less prophetic called the antitype.
Then we can define the antitype as: a thing formed after some pattern, or a thing resembling another, its counterpart—or something which answers to a type. Essentially, I see a type as a figurative expression picturing, in shadow form, an identifiable reality elsewhere presented in scripture. Both type and antitype are New Testament biblical terms, as we shall illustrate later.
My own composite expression of all I have grasped on the subject is this: I see a type as being a premeditated resemblance which God has built into the Bible and history to illustrate and teach truth—to make it easier to grasp than if it were only stated in prosaic and propositional terms. It is a kindness of God to stir our minds and imagination by the use of 11 Walter L. Wilson, Dictionary of Bible Types. Eerdmans Co. Under the general heading of typology, then, we could group various terms, all derived from scripture, portraying slightly different forms of this figure.
I would like to list these and illustrate each one. High priest in tabernacle the figure; Christ appearing be- fore God on our behalf, the reality. John Gk. SHADOW An image cast by an object Hebrews Gk skia and representing the form of The tabernacle, an earthly that object—but not its shadow of the heavenly substance or reality.
Perhaps it would be helpful to identify the use of some of these words in the New Testament to see their use in context: 1. Hebrews —make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mount 1 Pet. So as we read the whole of Romans 5, we have a study in comparisons and contrasts in which we see that the way Adam typified Christ is that each was the source and beginning of a far-reaching fallout of consequences that have affected the whole of mankind.
Here is the resemblance—and the theological implications are terrific! A clear understanding of this comparison in Romans 5 is a wide-open window toward understanding God and man. Evidently God gave Moses a blueprint—not just of form and furniture, but of the shadows and examples woven into his pattern, pointing to the realities which they picture.
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|2 turnt up yg hootie torrent||Carlos Nakai Changes But note that in every case there are known quantities which by comparison and correspondence are designed to lead us to an understandable interpretation. Bob had also accepted the responsibility as an elder and pastoral spiritual leader, here he based on a total commitment that the ministry of the church is to be carried out by each believer. Andrew W. Log in with Facebook Log in with Google. Make your own paraphrased translation of the passage in contemporary American language.|
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