In the last post (CLICK HERE TO READ), I wrote about the “Allegorical method of bible interpretation”- turning a passage of scripture into a spiritual parable with deeper meanings (please take a break to read it if you haven’t). It is a Subjective method of reading of scriptures.
Here is an example.
A friend (whom I care about by the way), got a ‘conviction’ to go get an academic degree in a school that was way to expensive for him at the time, from the text: “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a GOOD DEGREE, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” – 1 Timothy 3:13
I still find it funny. Did you get it? ‘Good degree’? The problem with a lot of us is the King James Version. There is nothing deep and spiritual about ‘thou’ and ‘shalt’. It’s simply Old English. The fact that, in many cases, you do not understand the language and translation isn’t because it is mysterious. That was simply the way they communicated then. Today, simpler translations will help you a great deal.
Many spiritualize this error calling it ‘rhema’. Rhema for many, is an excuse to derive a meaning beyond a text…a meaning that is not even supported anywhere in the bible.
When you do not understand the language, don’t be quick to accept it something mysterious or as rhema. Study the context. Examine the words and what they meant in the old culture.
Here is another common example:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” – Isaiah 10: 27
First of all, I bet you that many who teach from this text have not even read the preceding twenty six verses! They went straight to verse 27 to form a doctrine. But some newer translations say:
“And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.” Isa 10:27 (ESV)
So what’s the real story. Once again this refers to the Assyrians being allowed by God to punish Israel for their rebellion (see verse 5-6). But the Lord knows that the King will brag as if he could, without the permission of God bring hurt on Israel (verse 7-9, 13-14 ). After a while, the Lord will stop his pride (verse 12), destroying the Assyrians as well (verse 16-19). He will restore Israel in His mercy. And in that day verse 27 says, the burden (or oppression of the Assyrians) will be lifted from your shoulder, and yoke (of slavery) from your neck. And the yoke shall be destroyed because of the fat…or because the Assyrian King was boastful against God because of his wealth and satisfaction from plundering Israel.
Allegorizing scriptures is a lazy thing to do. It is also very dangerous. Why? They are subjective and not objective. The boundaries and guidelines depend on the imagination of the interpreter alone, and so, it cannot be verified. The common defense is “God told me”. That phrase has caused a lot of havoc! I believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit today. But when we place them above the written word, we promote error.
Have a blessed day
Pastor Emmanuel Iren
Pastor Iren Emmanuel is the lead pastor of Celebration Church International, a church which envisions a people whose lives are in Christ, for Christ with Joy. The church presently has 3 branches; Silverbird Cinema, Ikeja. Temperance hall, Bells University, Ota and Benin City. Reach him on Facebook: Iren Emmanuel