https://webmaster.yandex.com/downloads/verification/f7c80dda621592bb/
Menu Close

Biblical Interpretation Of Symbols, Types, Allegories, And Parables.

Biblical Interpretation Of Symbols, Types, Allegories, And Parables.
Biblical Interpretation Of Symbols, Types, Allegories, And Parables.

Biblical Interpretation Of Symbols, Types, Allegories, And Parables must be understood first followed by its divine message, conveying important divine truths.

Interpretation of Parables

Before we go on, let us look at them in their entities:

The interpretation of parables can be approached in a variety of ways. The essential concepts of parable interpretation are explained here.
Parables are not allegories in which the author controls every aspect and may assign a symbolic significance to every detail. When interpreting parables, it is important to take into account the requirements, the occurrence, and the application. The tale has one primary concept and one truth, not several truths, thus we should look for this fundamental truth.

Interpretation of Allegories

There are some allegories in the Bible. In most cases, the scriptural context makes it plain that this is an allegory. Parables are exaggerated analogies. Allegories are elaborations on metaphors. They feature a lot of parallels that aren’t necessarily linked to the core topic.

If the Bible contains an allegory, its interpretation is usually given in the text, for example, Proverbs 5:15-19; John 15:1-10; 1 Corinthian 3:1-5; Ephesians 6:10-17). So, the main principle of interpretation of allegories is to read them carefully to find out the explanation of each detail. It is also important to notice the context of the allegory: when who, and why said this allegory and interpretation of Types

When the Bible specifies that something is a type, all theologians agree that it should be considered a type. Some theologians try to discover types even when the Bible does not offer these hints. Most evangelical theologians are opposed to this. They argue that if the Bible contains a type of something else (antitype), typological interpretation cannot be objective and is dependent on the reader.

The main characteristics of types:

1. The type and antitype should have some point of resemblance or analogy. They may, however, have significant disparities. Adam, for example, is a pattern of Christ: “Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Romans 5:14). However, the Bible emphasizes the distinctions between them rather than the similarities (Romans 5:14-19).

2. There should be proof that the type was created by God to represent what it depicts. A likeness can be deemed a type if there is evidence of God’s confirmation of that kind.

3. A type should illustrate something in the future. Antitypes in the New Testament unveil the truths more fully than types in the Old Testament.
So, something can be considered a type if there is a similarity between a type and an antitype, proof that the type was set by God, and an antitype in the future.

The kinds of types:

1. Persons as types illustrate some important principles or truth of redemption with their life. For example, Adam is a type of Christ (Romans 5:14).

2. Events as types have analogies with some later events. For example, Paul used the condemnation of Israel as a type to warn Christians about unfaithfulness (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

3. Ordinances as types illustrate later events in the history of salvation. For example, Sabbath was a type of the believers’ eternal rest (Hebrews 4:1-11).

4. Ministries as types include Moses’ ministry who being a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15) is a type of Christ, Melchizedek’s ministry (Hebrews 5:6) which is a type of Christ’s eternal high priest ministry, and David’s ministry as a king.

5. Actions as types. For example, Isaiah walked naked and barefooted as an illustration that Assyria would soon take the captives from Egypt and Ethiopia naked and barefooted (Isaiah 20:2-4).

Principles of interpretation of types:

1. In both the Old and New Testaments, every type is interpreted in the same manner. A type-only has one interpretation, and that interpretation is used at a higher level. In the Old Testament, a type has just one interpretation, as conveyed by the author. As a result, the original meaning is not lost. God, on the other hand, employed types in a higher sense as representations of something else. An antitype is a higher-level manifestation of the type’s original meaning.

2. When the New Testament provides an interpretation of a type, that interpretation should be used exclusively.
If the New Testament provides two or three analogies between a type and an antitype, the interpretation should not create further kinds.

3. Types should not be based on such weak analogies as colour, number, or shape.

4. A doctrine should not be based on a type. A type can serve only as an illustration of a doctrine.

Interpreting of Symbols

The distinctions between types and symbols are as follows:

1. A type always indicates something in the future. Time has no bearing on a symbol.

2. A type is always something real, such as a person, a location, an event, or a commandment. It is possible to create a symbol.

3. A type may have many symbols.

4. A type is never abstract. A symbol is an abstract concept.

5. A-type and type are always related in some way. A symbol may or may not be related to the item it depicts.

Principles of interpretation of symbols:

1. There is usually only one comparison. Context should serve as a gauge of the symbol’s sole conceivable meaning.
2. Look for an explanation of the symbol’s significance in the context. The Bible is the only one that can decipher its symbolism. If the author employs a symbol, it is assumed that he will explain its meaning in the immediate context or that you are already familiar with its meaning from previous works.
3. The Bible has no universal symbols. The same word can be employed as several symbols as well as in its literal sense. It all depends on the situation.
4. If the author does not indicate a symbol, then no symbol exists.


Biblical Interpretation Of Symbols, Types, Allegories, And Parables.

“He’s a fantastic Bible expositor,” my colleague. The “great” preacher walked through an Old Testament tale, uncovering secret symbolism and types that even Moses and the apostle Paul would have found surprising. My excitement grew as we approached the chapel, but five minutes into the sermon, my dreams were shattered.

One of the hidden truths they found was that reference to a “camel” in the story was a pastoral ministry. Like a loaded camel, the pastor is carrying the church to Christ across the deserts of immorality and secular humanism. As the camel must drink deeply before his deserts trek, the overworked pastor was admonished to drink deeply of the waters of the Holy Spirit whenever possible in preparation for days when his schedule would not allow him time for prayer.

This action came from the preacher’s imagination, not from the Bible! It illustrates a common error in understanding more involved and extended figures of speech such as symbols, types, parables, and allegories. In this Training, we will examine rules for interpreting extended figures of speech.

Interpreting Symbols

Interpreting Types

Interpreting Parables

Interpreting Allegories.

When you finish this training, you should be able to:

  • Define the words symbol, type, and anti-type.

  • Recognize four rules of interpretation that are valid for interpreting both types and symbols.

  • Identify four differences between a type and a symbol.

  • Given an example of a parable, identify its setting and application.

  • Recognize the difference between the interpretation of allegories and allegorizing.

  1. 1. Work through the training development as usual. When you have completed it, review the objectives at the beginning of the training and those throughout the training. These will enable you to answer the self-test questions more easily. In your person, the Bible tries to locate examples of extended (complex) figures of speech such as symbols, types, and allegories.

Allegorizing

Allegory

Symbol

Type

In a previous training on this site as linked, we studied four categories of figures of speech that compare, relate, contrast, and add. Now we will study the fifth category:

representation. These new categories new an advanced form of figures from the comparing and relating categories. The symbol is a metaphor or metonymy that is so commonly used in a figurative and becomes fixed as a presentation of something.

This implies that in certain contexts the symbol can be used without introduction, and the readers will immediately understand its broader meaning.

A type is a prophetic symbol associated with a prophecy in the Old Testament and its fulfilment. The parable is usually an extended simile and the allegory is an extended metaphor.

FIGURES OF SPEECH THAT REPRESENT

Advanced Metaphor or Metonymy = symbol

Prophetic Symbol = type

Extended Simile (__ is like ____) = parable

Extended Metaphor (____ is ____) = allegory

INTERPRETING SYMBOLS

A symbol is something that suggests or stands for meaning in addition to that which is ordinarily associated with it. Often it is a material object that represents something immaterial. You may find it difficult to separate what is a metaphor or a metonymy from what is a symbol. The breadth is not of kind.

For example, the “seed” of Abraham is a metonymy that implies all of Abraham’s descendants in Genesis, which through constant use has become a broad symbol of all “spiritual descendants” of the patriarch. Similarly, when Christ first called Himself the “bread of life,” He used a metaphor, but by the time of the Last Supper, the “bread” had become a symbol. It might be said that some metaphors and metonymies evolve to become symbols.

Our lives are full of symbols. A flag symbolizes a country. The dove is an international symbol of peace and the cross is a common symbol for the church. Note that rather than just making a comparison between two things, the symbol suggests (for represents), something larger than itself.

The Bible uses many varied symbols. For example, metals such as gold and brass symbolize wealth and judgment; objects such as lamps symbolize churches; actions like breaking a pot and burning weeds stand for judgment; or ordinances like baptism and communion represent aspects of salvation. Numbers, names, colours, and plants are all used to symbolize other objects, characteristics, and concepts.

1. Circle the letter preceding each TRUE statement.

a, A symbol is a metonymy on a higher level

b, A symbol is a person, place, or thing used to represent something else

c, Biblical symbols are never based on something as trivial as numbers or colours.

colour metaphor has a broader sense than a symbol does.

Because symbols are so common in the bible, many interpreters have abused them, claiming strange and mystical meanings the author never intended. The following rules can help you avoid finding symbols where God did not intend them. They will also clarify the actual meaning of biblical symbols.

Usually One Major Point Of Comparison

As in the case of the simple metaphor, the interpreter is looking for a single point of comparison (or occasionally two) between the symbol and what it represents. It is a mistake to preach a sermon based on multiple similarities which were not intended by the author. For example, when Paul used the symbol of the “body” for the church in 1 Corinthians 12:12, he had in mind the fact that the body has many parts but is one unit. He was not commenting on the need for the church to rest in the Lord, feed on God’s word, vomit out false doctrine, or walk in the spirit. The comparisons could be endless but they would not help us understand Paul’s point. In others, pas other the same symbol could be used in a different sense. But the context must always determine the point of comparison.

Although it is legitimate to elaborate on the nature of the symbol for a sermon illustration, the interpreter must resist making comparisons that come from his imagination rather than from the scriptures. Any illustrations about that symbol (such as a lamb or blood) must relate to the central point the Bible is making.

When the point of comparison is not directly stated, the interpreter should assume that the most natural qualities of the symbol are intended. For example, salt, to the ancients, was primarily used as a preservative; or a pig, to the Jew, was naturally associated with fifth.

2 We have stated that when the interpreter encounters a symbol in his study of the Bible, he should look for the primary point of comparison. We have also asserted that seldom will he find more than one comparison implied. Cited a potential danger if the interpreter simply makes as many comparisons as he can imagine.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Look For The Meaning In The Context

The interpretation of a symbol should not be used arbitrarily nor simply to express the interpreter’s c. As we have just mentioned, most of the time the point of comparison is found in the text or in parallel passages where the symbol is also used. The book of Revelation clearly illustrates this. For example, when the Lord God says that He is the Alpha and the Omega (1:8). He uses the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet symbolically. He then explains the point of comparison (1:8): He is the beginning and the end of all things. We can confirm this meaning further by comparing paralleling passages as in Revelation 1:6 and 22:13.

While the identity of the seven lampstands (Revelation 1:12) and seven stars (1:16) is not given immediately, it is found in the wider context. John records the words of the Christ in verse 20, which identifies them clearly: “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Many of the descriptions of Christ in Revelation 1:13-16 are obvious but the meaning cannot be based on speculation. Instead, we turn to a concordance to find parallel metaphors in the Old Testament that reflect the meaning of these symbols. In our search through the concordance, we can find parallel symbols in the versions of God seen by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Comparing the account of John’s vision of Christ with the visions of God these men saw reveals that the ideas symbolized are that Christ is divine and that He is the ultimate judge of mankind. I suggest the following parallels for a start.

  1. 1. The long robe parallels Isaiah’s and Daniel’s visions of God (Isaiah 6:1; Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 10:5). The idea is that Christ is divine, coming in total authority to judge the world (see Daniel 7:10).

  2. 2. His hair white as snow parallels a description of the Ancient of Days who is none other than God Himself (Daniel 7:9). He is crowned with Holiness.

  3. 3. Eyes like blazing fire are another description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 10:6. He is all-knowing: nothing is hidden from His eyes.

  4. 4. His feet were like bronze reflects reflected in Daniel 10:6; it is probably a symbol of judgment.

  5. 5. Voice like the sound of rushing waters describes God’s voice in Ezekiel 43:2. He is all-powerful.

  6. 6. In his mouth is a sword (Isaiah 11:4;49:2), Again, His coming in judgment is pictured.

Note: the Bible is the only legitimate interpreter of biblical symbols. If the writer of a Bible book uses a symbol, he either identifies its meaning in the immediate context or assumes the reader will understand it from previous biblical revelation.

3, In the following verse, the word “head” is used to describe Christ. Read the immediate context of this verse in your Bible and indicate what Paul intends for the “head” to symbolize here; “He is the head of the body…..so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:18).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

There Are No Universal Symbols In The Bible

It is a common mistake to assume that certain objects, men, and things will always have a symbolic meaning—or even the same symbolic meaning. “Oil,” for example, is often automatically interpreted as a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit when it may represent something entirely different, such as flattery (Psalm 55:21), or it may not be symbolic at all (Luke 16:6).

It is imperative to establish the meaning of a word by its context. Imagine someone thinking that every time the word “lion” appears it is symbolic of Christ (see Revelation 5:5). As a matte, these symbolize Satan (1Peter 5:8).

The more common error is to find symbolic allusions where none exist. Remember that the symbolic usage of a word is the exception, not the rule. There must be ample evidence in the context to indicate the intention of a symbolic sense. In certain types of literature, such as poetry (Psalms, Ecclesiastes) and apocalyptic books (Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation), symbols are to be expected, but in historical narratives, there must be convincing evidence from the context (see Genesis and Exodus for examples) that a symbolic sense is intended.

To illustrate how words can be used literally or in multiple numbers symbolic ways, consider this list of biblical symbols representing God’s word. Beside each is an alternate symbolic use and the last column has a scripture reference where the word is used in a simple literal way.

4 When the word red appears in the Bible, it does not always symbolize salvation nor does it always have a symbolic meaning. Read the following passages and indicate if the word red is used symbolically or not. If it is, note what it symbolizes.

  1. a. Isaiah 63:2 ………………………………………………………………………………….

  2. b. Proverbs 23:31 ……………………………………………………………………………

The Writer’s Intention

The golden rule in finding symbols is: if the original writer did not intend a symbolic meaning, none exists. In the case of type and prophecy, the writer often wrote more than he realized. However, this does not mean that any passage has a literal and a spiritual (symbolic) meaning. It has only one meaning. If you are uncertain whether something is a symbol or not, ask yourself, “Does it appear that the original writer meant it that way?

INTERPRETING AND DEFINING TYPES

The author of Hebrews declares that God spoke in “various ways” in the Old Testament era. Besides speaking through direct verbal revelation. God spoke indirectly about the coming of Christ through Old Testament “shadows included events, person, institutions, actions, and ceremonies, and served as prophetic symbols of events, persons, and institutions in the New Testament.

The Bible uses two words to describe these divinely ordained Old Testament parallels: they are “shadows” (Hebrews 10:1 and Colossians 2:17) and “patterns” (Romans 5:14). Modern scholars label Old Testament symbolic prophecy as the type and the New Testament fulfilment of types. Types are only found in the Old Testament, and anti-types are found in the New Testament.

A type differs from a common symbol in four respects. First, it always involves a future element. Symbols have no relation to time but types always prefigure a future truth, event, or person.

Secondly, a type is always an actual person, place, event institution, or object. A symbol may or may not be. Sometimes symbols can be created, as in the case of the personifications of animals and fantasy characters. (Examples of this occur in Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation.)

Thirdly, a type may contain one or more symbols. For example, the tabernacle, the Exodus, and the Passover are all types that involve multiple symbols. Thus the gold in the tabernacle symbolizes royalty and the skins on the outside symbolize commonness and humility. Together they represent or typify Christ’s heavenly royalty and His humanity (John 1:14). Fourthly, a type is particular while a symbol is generalised. A type specifies narrowly what it represents. An example could be the word “blood.” Used as a symbol, it could represent death in general. Used in conjunction with a type of the blood of the Passover lamb, it refers only to Christ’s blood given to redeem mankind. Figure 8.4 summarizes these differences:

SYMBOL TYPE

 

 

TIME: no limitation always prophetic (O.T. /N.T.)

REALITY: can be imagined as a person, event, etc. NUMBER: solitary may contain sub symbols SPECIFICITY: broad, general very specific

 

 

 

5, In the space preceding each element, write S if it describes a symbol. Write T if it describes a type.

  1. a. Finds its fulfilment Testament

  2. b. Could be based on an imaginary and mythical animal

  3. c. Is narrowly limited to its sense by the immediate context

  4. d. May contain various sub-symbols.

 

Identifying Biblical Types

As Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with two men. He explained what “all,” the scriptures said about Him from Moses to the prophets (Luke 24:27). Some interpret this verse to mean that every chapter of the Old Testament must have some typological reference to Christ, and determining these becomes an extremely mystical and mind-twisting exercise. This erroneous rule of interpretation also dilutes and distorts pure biblical typology. Surely in one afternoon, Jesus did not have time to “quote” every Old Testament scripture, let alone give a typological interpretation to each. The truth remains, however, that the Messiah and His work are the central themes of the old covenant and genuine types do exist. Recognizing the types revealed by the New Testament writers is not

difficult. Here are just a few:

—–A person Adam (Romans 5:14)

—–A thing The temple (Hebrews 10:20)

—-An institution The priesthood (Hebrews 5-7)

—-A ceremony The Passover (1Corinthians 5:7)

—-An event The Exodus (1Corinthians 10:1)

—-An action Moses lifting the brass serpent (John 3:14).

The debate in typology is seldom with those types and anti-types directly identified by the New Testament. The debate is whether there are other true types, and, if so, how they are to be identified.

Although it would be extreme to say that nothing can be regarded as a type without a precise confirmation in the New Testament, there must be obvious biblical evidence to support the type. For example, many types are contained by implication within broad general types such as the tabernacle or the Exodus. Some tails of the Tabernacle furniture and religious events may be seen as types without an explicit statement from scripture because of strong indirect evidence.

Other parallels between Old and New Testament truth are so clear that they could not have occurred by chance. It is providentially repeated patterns and themes that point towards a culmination in Christ.

Guidelines for identifying these implied types are crucial. In past years some interpreters have been so imaginative in their search for types that the study of typology has fallen into disrepute. The abundance of these pseudo-types has thus tended to obscure the true meaning of the text. Here are some sound guidelines recommended by Milton Terry (1890, 247).

First, there must be some notable point of resemblance between the type and the anti-type. Seeing it, the interpreter is challenged to stay with the focal point of comparison. Nike is anti-type in all ways. Consider, for example, how Adam is a type of Christ; yet in many ways, the two are very different.

Second, there must be evidence that the type was designed and appointed by God to represent the thing typified. That is, we must be aware of this by means using statement, application, or manifest analogy.

Finally, a type is in many ways a prophecy. It looks into the future, prefiguring person, events, and the truth of a later time. Don’t confuse types with symbols and spiritual lessons. A type always has a New Testament counterpart.

6, Luke 24:27 states that Christ explained to the men on the road to Emmaus all that the Old Testament scriptures said about Him. What do we learn from this passage?

  • a) Not every verse but every chapter will have a typological reference to Christ.

  • b) The Old Testament should be considered one vast allegory of New Testament truth.

  • c) Christ is the focus and central theme of the Old Testament story of redemption, though He is not featured in every passage.

  • d) Christ is a testament to Jehovah in human form.

7 According to our study, types

  • a) Do not have to be related to the anti-type.

  • b)Are not restricted to those identified by the New Testament.

  • c) Can be found in every chapter of the Old Testament.

  • d)Can be found in the New Testament if they are so clear they could not have happened by chance.

Interpreting of a Type

Since a type is a form of a symbol,” the four rules mentioned in this lesson for interpreting symbols also apply to interpreting types. In addition to these, however, types require two principles of interpretation that apply to their unique nature. These are:

1) that each type has its Old Testament and New Testament contexts; and

2) when the New Testament interprets a type, one must limit the interpretation to the point the Bible gives. Let us look at these two rules in greater detail.

1. Types have one interpretation that is applied at a higher level. It is a common error to think of the historical meaning of an Old Testament type as irrelevant. It is often considered the “literal” that is trivial beside the second, “spiritual” meaning drawn from the New Testament, but this is not true. The Old Testament types have but one meaning, and that is the meaning in the mind of the author when he wrote. The relationship between the types and anti-types is more by way of application than by interpretation.

For example, the Old Testament writer may speak of the sacrificial system, knowing somehow that its speaks of the need for death to atone for sin and yet be unaware that it prefigures the death of Christ. When Moses described the tabernacle, he knew that it related to God dwelling among men; however, God meant it to have an additional “higher application”: that of Christ living among people and people being able to come into God’s presence through the supreme High Priest.

In interpreting the type, the writer’s original meaning is NOT lost, it is amplified. The interpreter cannot ignore the grammatical-historical exegesis of an Old Testament text because it contains a type. Rather, he must understand the original intention to fully understand the type. The anti-type always reflects the original truth on a higher level of application.

They did not always understand that a type related to Christ, but he did understand that it related to the need for atonement for sin, divine forgiveness, and intercession between God and man.

8, Suppose a preacher reads Nehemiah 3:3 and sees a type of evangelism in the name of the “fish gate.” Since the rule states that the anti-type is based on the interpretation of the type, would you reject or accept this interpretation? Explain your answer.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

9 In the text we learned that the type and anti-type are not two different interpretations but one interpretation with an application on a higher level. Read the following passage that demonstrates this truth to determine what Moses had in mind regarding the purpose of the blood and how the writer of Hebrews saw that purpose as a type of Christ’s ministry.

He [Moses] said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. There’s that nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (Hebrews 9:20-23).

The writer’s purpose was to indicate:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

2, When the New Testament interprets a type, limit the interpretation to the point the Bible gives. Simply because the New Testament finds one or two correspondences between a type and an anti-type does not mean that the interpreter can create types on every detail in the Old Testament account. Figure 8.5 gives details of the story of the bronze snake, and the points of correspondence used will illustrate this point (Sterrett 1974, 109).

Numbers 21:4-9 (Type) John 3:14-15 (Anti-type)
The people complained No mention

God sent venomous snakes, many people died No mention

People confessed, “We have sinned” No mention

Moses prayed for them No mention

God commanded Moses to make a fiery serpent Christ lifted up

Moses made a snake of bronze and put it on a pole No mention of the bronze as a symbol

Anyone who looked was healed whoever believes will have eternal life

 

One more word of caution is that a type should not be based on something so weak as colour, or shape. Symbols may be based on such but not types. Furthermore, even a genuine type should never be the sole foundation of a doctrine. The role of the type is to illustrate doctrine, not establish it.

10 In Ephesians 2:20-22, the temple of the Old Testament is seen as a type of the New Testament church. Read this passage to find what point of comparison the Holy Spirit intended with this type.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

INTERPRETING PARABLES

A proper understanding of the parables, which comprise nearly one-third of Christ’s recorded teaching, is vital to correct Bible interpretation. Parables are sprinkled throughout the scriptures, but they are particularly important in the New Testament where Christ used more than thirty of these teaching stories to tell of God’s kingdom.

A parable is a story of a commonplace event that is told with the PTO teaching moral or spiritual truth. The story describes true life but not necessarily an actual event. The word “parable” comes from the Greek word meaning to “throw alongside.” Thus, the story (or parable) parables the abstract truth, illustrating a heavenly principle in earthly terms.

11, Circle the letter preceding each TRUE statement.

a. The only parables found in the Bible are those told by Christ.

b. Christ told over thirty stories that can be considered parables.

c. It is common for the parables of Christ to describe supernatural events.

One Central Point

When studying parables, it is best to identify the true Christ is teaching rather than to search for one central point. Details of the parable will all relate to the central idea much as the spokes of a wheel relate to the hub.



Likewise, when teaching a parable, we should emphasize the central point and not the illustrative details as the principal truth. Certainly, the details are not to be overlooked, but they should be presented as contributing to the truth of the parable, not as illustrating separate truths.

The Parts Of A Parable

In interpreting parables we need to distinguish three elements: the setting, the story itself, and the application. The setting refers to the occasion which gave rise to the story. Sometimes the parable is prefaced by an explanation of the audience, the location, and the problem Christ was confronting. For example, the parable of the labourers in (Mathew 20:1-16_ is prefaced by Peter’s questions (Mathew 19:27) concerning the future rewards for the disciples.

As we already mentioned, it is an error to search for hidden and multiple meanings in every detail of the story. Generally, the application is given in a formal try finished (Mathew 25:13). Sometimes a series of “stories” share the same “setting” (given at the beginning) and the same “application” (given in the last story). An example is Luke 14:28-33 in which two parables about counting the cost have one explanation in verse 33.

When Christ gives an application, we should look no further for an interpretation. Such explanations are common and simply require the interpreter to read each parable carefully to locate the application. Here are some examples:

This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). (This follows the parable of the rich man and his barns.)

I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent (Luke 15:7). (This follows the parable of the one sheep separated from the ninety-nine).

12, Read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and locate the verse or verses in which each of the following is given.

a. The Setting ……………………………..

b. The Story ………………………………..

c. The Application ………………………..

The Parables In Christ’s Ministry

A more precise significance can often be clarified in a parable by examining it in the light of the phase of Christ’s ministry in which it was given.

With this in mind, we can discern three distinct periods in which Christ gave parables in His ministry. The first was in His second year of public preaching when He was rejected by the leadership of the Jews and sought to explain through parables the true nature of His kingdom. Note the abundance of parables in Mathew 13 following the rejection in Mathew 12. Note also the tone of the parables which deal with the rejection, judgment, and ultimate success of His kingdom.

The Soils: Mathew 13:1-9 Rejection/Acceptance

The Weeds: Mathew 13:24-30 Hypocrisy/Judgment

The Mustard Seed: Mathew 13:31-32 Future Growth

The Yeast: Mathew 13:33-35 Future Growth

The Treasure: Mathew 13:44 The Cost/Reward

The Pearl: Mathew 13:45-46 The Cost/Reward

The Net: Mathew 13:47-50 Hypocrisy/Judgment

 

During almost the entire year after this period, Christ gave only one parable. Then, as He left Galilee for His final trip to Jerusalem, He again taught His disciples with abundant parables. With the approaching moment of His climactic death and triumph. He gave parables that called for strong decisions; salvation for the lost and commitment from the disciples. Most of these are found in Luke’s Gospel between Luke 9:51 and 19:27. Here are some examples:

The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

The Rich Fool Luke 12:13-21

The Narrow Door Luke 13:22-30

The Three Lost Things Luke 15:1-32

The Persistent Widow Luke 18:1-8

The Pharisee and Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14

The Ten Minas Luke 19:11-27

 

The third major period of parables was Passion Week. Those given in public were used as barbs against the hypocritical Jewish leaders. While those given in private involved final instructions to His disciples. Examples of attacking the hypocritical leaders are the parables of the Evil Tenants (Luke 20:9-19) and The Wedding Banquet (Mathew 22:1-14). Examples of instructions for followers are the story of the Ten Virgins (Mathew 25:1-13) and the Talents (Mathew 25:14-30).

13 Match the appropriate period of Christ’s ministry (right) with the parable that corresponds to it (left).

  1. a. The Lost (prodigal) Son (Luke 1) Period One: After the rejection

15:11-32)

2) Period Two: On His way to Jerusalem

  1. b. The Four Soils (Mathew 13:1-9) 3) Period Three: During the last week
  2. c. The Evil Tenants (Luke 20:9-19)
  3. d. The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

 

The Parables And The Kingdom

A major theme of the Gospels is the kingdom of God (also called the kingdom of heaven). This teaching reflects, on the prophecy of a coming kingdom in Daniel 2:44. It refers to Christ’s rule and authority on earth but it is not restricted to His rule over a physical domain. It includes both Christ’s “domain” in the hearts of believers after His first coming and His ultimate rule over all things after His second coming. It has, then, both an individual and a universal application.

The kingdom of God is not one of many truths taught in the parables of Christ; it is the only one! Somehow, every parable must be interpreted in the context of the revelation of the kingdom about aspects.

First, it is a kingdom that has come in the form of a spiritual transformation in the lives of people through the born-again experience (John 3:3). Even tax collectors and sinners were able to enter Christ’s kingdom by allowing Him to reign in their hearts (Luke 17:20-21; Mathew 21:31).

Second, it is a continuing kingdom. Christ prophesied that from seed (a little band of believers) would come forth a great tree (many believers). He also compared His kingdom to a net in the sea of humanity that would be drawn in at the end of the age. And in yet another place He compared it to grain and tares, growing together until the time of the final harvest. In other words, these parables cover the kingdom (in the form of the church) from Christ’s first coming until His second coming.

Finally, some parables indicate that Christ’s kingdom is yet to come. This refers to the future consummation of the kingdom when Christ reigns over all the nations from His earthly throne in Jerusalem. Examples of such parables are those of the Ten Virgins and the Talents (Mathew 25).

14, Identify and give the significance of three aspects of the kingdom to which Jesus referred in His parables.

  1. a. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  2. b. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  3. c. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

INTERPRETING ALLEGORIES

Allegories differ from parables in two primary ways. First, the parable has one “moral” taught by the entire story; the details have meaning, but only as they support the central message. Allegories, by contrast, are stories with multiple points of comparison. They do not have a single major moral, but the details of the stories each have equal significance.

A second contrast is that an allegory can be based on complete fantasy or even a myth. Often the characters of an allegory are symbolic, obviously not true-to-life figures. The parable is a created story that is always a “believable,” true-to-life account that involves familiar, everyday characters.

 

 

15, Circle the letter preceding each TRUE statement

Allegories and parables are alike in that both have multiple main points of comparison.

b Allegories may be stories of fantasy, obviously not true to life

c Allegories tend to have a major moral to teach rather than multiple points of comparison.

d Christ’s parables generally taught a practical and spiritual truth.

 

Allegories In The Bible

In the instances where the Bible uses allegory, the meanings are cont the text itself. (See example s in the Proverbs 5;15-19, John15;1-10, 1Corithians 3;1-15,Ephesians 6; 10-17) Here is an allegory from Ezekiel 17 Note the multiple points of comparison made and ‘beyond real life’ aspects.

THE TWO EAGLES (Ezekiel 17)

  • The Great Eagle = King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar)

  • The Cedar = House of Judah

  • The Topmost Branch = King of Judah (Jehoiachin) Taken to Babylon

  • The Transplanted Seed = Second King of Judah (Zedekiah) Set Up By Babylon

  • The second Eagle = King of Egypt

  • The Tender Sprig Restored = The Messiah

In the preceding example, the use of the allegory and its meaning are set Ezekiel 17:12-21). This is standard practice for an allegory in the Bible. It is not to be confused with a standard historical narrative. When it is used on rare occasions, its figurative nature is obvious to the original author and his original audience. Occasionally the modern reader must review Bible history and the context to fully understand the meaning, but the meaning is not purposely hidden.

16 Read the allegory of the shepherd and his flock (John 10:1-18) and identify the three points of comparison Christ made in the following verses.

  1. a. The shepherd (v. 11): …………………………………………………………………..

  2. b. The gate (v. 7): ……………………………………………………………………………..

  3. c. The robbers (v. 8): ……………………………………………………………………..

It should be pointed out that the study of allegories and allegorizing (referring to a form of faulty hermeneutics sometimes called spiritualizing) are not the same. An allegory is a legitimate literary device purposely used by the author. Allegorizing is a pseudo-spiritual method of interpretation that finds multiple meanings never intended by the Old Testament author. The allegorizer views the Old Testament as one huge allegory whose hidden meanings are to be found by a mystical rather than a studious approach.

One of the characteristics of Bible allegory is that the careful reader does not need to debate whether a story is meant to be taken literally or allegorically. Since the Bible tends to make its allegories very obvious, the student does not search the Bible for hidden allegories!

Some would disagree, claiming that Paul’s interpretation in Galatians 4:24 is an example of allegorizing. However, a close study reveals that this is not true. He used the Greek word allegories to describe what he is, but he did not intend this to mean ‘allegory’ in the sense in which the Greeks and early church fathers used it. Instead, he carefully warned his audience that he was making an illustrative parallel. Paul did not claim to interpret the passage in Genesis; he merely drew a comparison to counteract similar reasoning put forth by his enemies in the Galatians church.

Often what a preacher calls a type (or allegory) is merely a convenient parallel between something in the Old Testament and truth in the New Testament. I would advise that when in doubt as to whether the parallel is divinely intended, you should avoid dogmatism and simply admit that you see an “illustration” of a New Testament truth—just as Paul did! E.J. Bullinger, perhaps the foremost scholar of figurative language of the modern church, agrees, arguing:

There is, therefore, not much profit in following out what have been called types by men. Many are merely illustrations, and it would be better to so call them since and do not themselves teach the truth, but only illustrate those truths which are elsewhere clearly revealed. We should never have called them types but for such subsequent revelation; therefore they are only illustrations so far as their teaching agrees with clear revelation (afterwards get 1968, 768).

17, Circle the letter preceding each TRUE Statement.

  1. An a. The primary difference between the study of allegories and allegorizing is that only the first take into the author’s original intention.

  2. b. Paul’s allegorical interpretation in Galatians 4 is a biblical pattern for ignoring the author’s meaning to find spiritual meaning.

  3. c. Any parallel that can be made between an Old Testament story and a New Testament truth is a legitimate type if it teaches an accepted truth.

Allegories are used in scripture passages, such as that in Ecclesiastes 12 and several in Ezekiel. In each case, however, the allegorical nature is obvious, and the allegory in each has ‘one’ meaning—the allegorical sense. As with all scripture, there is only one meaning for each text.

MULTIPLE CHOICE Circle the letter preceding the best answer to each question.

1 An allegory is best described as

  • a) An extended simile

  • b) An extended metaphor.

  • c) S prophetic symbol

  • d) An advanced metaphor or metonymy.

2 In interpreting types the interpreter usually looks for

  • a) One primary point of comparison

  • b) A literal and a spiritual meaning

  • c) Pictures of Christ in every chapter of the Bible

  • d) Multiple points of comparison in every type.

3 A word used as a symbol in the Bible

  • a) Must have a second meaning in addition to its literal meaning

  • b) It May be used to symbolising symbolizes in another passage

  • c) Is much more particular in its meaning than a type would be

  • d) It May have various levels of meaning such as the literal and figurative meanings.

4 Parables can be described as having

  • a) Many equally important points of comparison

  • b) One primary meaning with smaller points relating to it.

  • c) The solitary purpose of teaching men about Christ.

  • d) Two parts: the story and the application.

5 A type is a symbol that

  • a) Has two levels of meanings—the authors and God’s

  • b) I an extended simile that is found in the New Testament

  • c) Has one interpretation but two levels of application

  • d) Has a secret meaning unknown to the original writer.

6 Allegorizing may be defined most accurately as

  • a) A method of interpreting the allegories of scripture

  • b) A false hermeneutic that ignores the author’s original intention

  • c) An alternate means of interpreting Old Testament types

  • d) An effective way to identify the divinely ordained types of Christ in the Old Testament

7 When Christ referred to the Kingdom in parables. He was referring to a kingdom that

  • a) Had come in the form of spiritual transformations in lives

  • b) Would continue in the church until His return.

  • c) Will be consummated ultimately when Christ returns and rules on earth

  • d) Would be characterized by what is noted in all the above: a), b), and c).

  • e) Would be characterized by what is noted only in b) and c).

8 The parables of the Evil Tenants and the Ten Virgins were given by Christ during which period of His ministry?

  • a) Period One: After His initial rejection

  • b) Period Two: On His way to Jerusalem for the final time

  • c) Period Three: During the last week of His life.

TRUE-FALSE Write T in the blank space preceding each TRUE statement. Write F if it is FALSE

………9 According to your 1ST the parables of Christ can all be related back to the of the Kingdom.

…….10 During the second period of Christ’s teaching with parables. He was on His way to Jerusalem for the time.

……..11 Parables and allegories are similar in that they have many major points of comparison that can be identified.

…12 Paul’s use of allegorizing in Galatians 4:24 shows that shows the Testament stories have spiritual as well as literal meanings.

…13 a type differs from a symbol in that it is prophetic and particular while the symbol has no time limitation and is general.

…14 a symbol is a metaphor or metonymy that is so regularly used to stand for something that it begins to represent it.

MATCHING. Read the instructions carefully and write your answer in the space preceding each question.

15-23 Match each figure of speech (right) with its appropriate description (left).

…. 15 Found in all parts of the bible a) Anti-type

…. 16 Found only in the Old Testament b) Type

…. 17 Found only in the New Testament c) Symbol

…. 18 A form of prophecy

…. 19 A fulfilment

…. 20 Not restricted by time

…. 21 Always looks to the future

…. 22 Parallels something in the past

…. 23 May not be an imagined person, thing, or event

SHORT ANSWER. Briefly answer the following questions.

24, Read the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 and list the verse or verses in which each of the following is found.

A. The Setting ……………………………

B. The Story ………………………………

C. The Application ……………………….

25 in John 6 we see that Christ was prefigured as the bread of life in the Old Testament incident of Israel eating manna in the wilderness. Explain how this Old Testament story can have one historical meaning and yet teach a New Testament truth about Christy.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

26, Use at least one of the four rules for interpreting symbols that the IST discussed to explain what Paul intended when he used the “body” as a symbol of the church.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

9, Without a sacrificial death for sin, no one can be cleansed from sin.

1 Statement a and b are true

10 verse 22 says that we are the dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

2 The danger is that he could make rival and erroneous comparisons that would dilute or ignore the original symbolic meaning.

11 statement b is true.

3 He uses it to symbolize “supreme leader”.

12, verses 25-29.

b verses 30-35.

c versus 36-37.

4, a. Isaiah 63:2 red symbolizes judgment. Christ is pictured in this context as a military conqueror coming to make war on His enemies.

b. In proverbs 23:31 red does not symbolize anything; it is used literally.

13, a. 2) Period Two.

b. 3) Period One.

c. 4) Period Three.

d. 5) Period Two.

5, a. Type.

b Symbol.

c Type.

14, a. The Kingdom that has come refers to Christ’s spiritual reign in the lives of His people.

b. The kingdom that is continuing refers to the present aspect of Christ’s reign over the church and His kingdom is extended throughout the world.

c. The kingdom that will come refers to the consummation of the kingdom, including the glorification of Christ, His return, and millennial reign.

6, c) Christ is the focus and central theme of the Testament.

15, statement b is true.

7, b) Are not restricted to those identified in the New Testament. Note that d) is wrong because types are never found in the New Testament. Anti-type is found in the New Testament; types are found in the Old Testament.

16, Christ is the shepherd.

B. Christ is the gate.

C. Those who came before Him (the “robbers”) are the present religious leaders.

8 Your answer. We’ve noted that the idea of evangelism is completely foreign to the Old Testament text; cannot be a type of evangelism. Imagine the van of typological truth that an imaginative interpreter could find in the other gates such as the “dung gate (3:14) and the “horse gate” (3:28).17, Statement ‘A’ is true.

I SHALL STOP HERE FOR NOW, TILL THE NEXT UPDATE.

IF YOU TRULY WANT TO LEARN HOW TO BUILD MONEY-MAKING WEBSITES TO MAKE YOUR RECURRENT PASSIVE INCOME, I AM SURE YOU NEED TO HEED TO MY ADVICE.

If you’ve been running about and thinking about leaving the online world as I did before coming into contact with WEALTHY AFFILIATE during black Friday. I also joined; Leadsleap, ShareASale, Walmart, Atlantis, Udimi, Fiverr, Clevenard, and PLR. Brax, etc you’re darn lucky too, but only if you take action by starting immediately. Wealthy Affiliate (WA) is the greatest online platform to get started generating money online for free, even if you have no prior expertise. Build your WEBSITES, Build your FUNNELS, Use JAAXY KEYWORD Tool for free and Build your business today with SEO content and you will be able to swim on money tomorrow, just like many others in WA.

If you truly want to learn any make-money skill online, JOIN HERE FOR FREE, Wealthy Affiliate is the place to be with maximum training and support if you want to build a successful business online. JOIN HERE NOW FOR FREE, and take a walkthrough. Wealthy Affiliate is no “SCAM” and is the place to be with all kinds of training and support. I am having success in my business while training with WA.

Thanks for visiting this site and please don’t leave without commenting below. May your God bless you real Good as you join this legit business platform and avoid SCAMS. CLICK BELOW TO CHECK OUT MY BLOG.

GODSPOWER STRONG aka GODSTRONG.

2 Comments

  1. Aubin Tshiyole

    Coming across your article has just reminded me that I need to read my Bible more often. I did not know that there was so much to it. I will be sure to share this article with friends and family. We are all Christians so I am sure that they will appreciate it. Thank you so much for this lovely review 

    • admin

      you are greatly welcome Aubin Tshiyole. the thing is that we found ourselves in a generation where everyone jumps into the word of God in their own various views, forgetting that this word is God himself and to interpret the word, we need to study, and also be in a good relationship with God through the holy spirit. this then is our drive and commission thanks for stopping by my friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You cannot copy content of this page