This is a review article that summarizes many earlier posts. My purpose in writing is to make the types and symbols used in the Bible more understandable to modern readers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the Bible’s own stated rules for interpretation. Typology study deepens our understanding of the Bible because types carry additional information to help us understand what was expressly written or left out in the text.
This is why Jesus can make statements like the one in Matthew 13:11-12:
“It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Almost anyone can get a copy of the Bible and read it. People who can’t read can obtain audio Bibles and listen to it. Some teachers think that Jesus taught his inner circle of disciples certain mysteries that aren’t spelled out in our Bibles, but that is not what Jesus said.
“Whoever has” means anyone who has the words of Jesus and understands it; “to him more will be given… but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” How can this be?
Jesus answers by explaining the parable of the sower:
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” -Matthew 13:19
From this one statement we know that the sower is Jesus, the soil is hearts, and the seed is his words, which we have in plain text in our Bibles. The only difference between “whoever has” and “whoever does not have” is that one understood his words, and the other did not.
There is something Jesus expects us to understand from the words of the kingdom that is not entirely explained by the words themselves!
So what are some of the rules the Bible gives for interpretation?
- The law of first mention
- Natural first, spiritual last
- Bible names should be translated, not transliterated
- Numbers have consistent meanings in Hebrew
- Every Bible passage has 3 levels of meaning – historical/contextual, prophetic, and spiritual
- Things hidden in the Old Testament are explained in the New Testament
- Things we don’t fully understand in the New Testament rest on types taken from the Old Testament
Are you the “whoever has” and are you ready to have an abundance? Please take a moment to visit some of our past conversations at the above links, and find out what God’s word says about interpreting the Bible.