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BIBL 102 (Sp ‘15) T13 - Are There Different Levels of Meaning?
Transcript of BIBL 102 (Sp ‘15) T13 - Are There Different Levels of Meaning?
(Adapted from Zondervan Academic Resources for "Grasping God's Word)
Does the Bible have
multiple levels of meaning?
Looking for deep, secret, “spiritual” meanings apart from what the author communicated in the text.
Levels of Meaning
Since God used literary conventions to communicate with us, the real spiritual meaning of the Bible will be the same as the literary meaning!
Allegory – a story that uses an extensive
amount of symbolism
Limited only by the fanciful imagination of the reader
Looks for deeper, “spiritual” meaning below the surface of the text
The details of the biblical text stand for many different things (e.g., tent pegs representing Jesus)
Goes far beyond comparison or symbolism
deep “spiritual” meanings
hidden in the text of the Bible that are unrelated to the historical-cultural and literary contexts?
Letters of the Hebrew
alphabet represent numbers.
Words are analyzed for their numerical value.
Equidistant Letter Sequencing (ELS)
Uses computer to string together the text of the Bible without spaces and search the string for hidden messages
- Unaware of variations in
the Hebrew text of the OT
- Consensus of biblical
scholarship that ELS
is a sham!
- Problems with probability
(e.g., Moby Dick)
Event or person in the OT that serves as a prophetic pattern or example of a NT event or person.
to what is fulfilled in the NT.
foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice of Christ
Example: The Sacrifical System (OT)
part of one salvation story where we see a promise (OT) and later see its fulfillment (NT)
general connections made explicit by the NT (and therefore intended by the divine author)
Does the Bible have different levels of meaning?
I don't believe it does.
There is one level of meaning—the literary meaning (intended by the divine/human author)
Meaning for the biblical audience
(Step 1 of The Journey)
(Step 3 of The Journey)
Avoid the temptation to spiritualize or allegorize.
Don’t be naïve and fall for ELS.
Affirm OT typology when it is
Use the Interpretive Journey to help you discover the meaning communicated by the divine/ human author through the text.
By God’s design this meaning is very spiritual.
Dichotomy between spiritual and literary
Will we seek the literary (and truly spiritual) meaning intended by the author?
Or will we seek the “meaning”
created by our own
Are There Different Levels of Meaning?