How to Read the Bible: The Allegorical

If you spend enough time on Internet message boards, you will see a lot of bad analogies.  In the course of a discussion (pronounced “argument”) someone will try to make a point by referencing something that is presumably a point of common interest and common understanding between the two dialog partners (pronounced “combatants”), say, football.  One might compare a political candidate to a quarterback, for example.  Then, of course, the conversation turns to each person’s assessment of both the quarterback and the candidate.  As an analogy, the whole thing fails because there is no common ground, no point of agreement from which to expand.  This is the trouble with any kind speech that attempts to draw a comparison: everyone has to agree about the meaning of the things being compared and how they relate to one another.

This week, we continue our series on how to read the Bible by looking at the classical category of allegory.  In the Four Senses of Scripture, which is the framework for our study, the ltieral meaning is maintained, but there is always a layer of allegory on top of that. That is, every bit of Scripture points toward something beyond its literal meaning.  For these early scholars, that something was always Christ.  For them, Jesus is the answer.  Adam in Genesis points to the new Adam: Jesus.  Moses the liberator points to Jesus the liberator from sin.  As Noah was the one good person to save humanity, so is Jesus.  David was the anointed one of God; Jesus is the Anointed One of God.

But even if we could agree that every bit of Scripture points to Jesus – 2 Kings 2:23-24 might be problematic – what exactly would that mean?  In what way is Jesus the new Adam?  It depends on what we think the story of Adam is about.  And what we think the story of Jesus is about.  Perhaps Christians are more united on that than on candidates and quarterbacks, but not much.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we talk about how to read the Bible allegorically to speak into our own lives.

Grace and Peace,


We don’t normally do movie previews in the church email, but there is something special premiering tonight at Grapevine Mills: Hellbound.  This documentary features interviews with scholars on the doctrine of hell, including my friend and teacher, our own Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles.  On Saturday, after the 6:10pm showing of the film, there will be a Q&A at the Cozymel’s at Grapevine Mills with Jaime, the producers of the film, and Sharon Baker, the author of Razing Hell, who is also featured in the film.  This is a terrific opportunity to pick the brains of some brilliant people on a longstanding, perhaps questionable, doctrine of the faith.  Hope to see you there!


Last night I had the opportunity to preview the third installment of the I AM A TEACHER series of plays, written and performed by my friend and long-time CitCer, David Marquis.  It made me sad that I have not seen the other two.  The play traces a year in the life of a teacher, Ben James, at the end of his career.  Mr. James is a fierce advocate for kids, who is determined to teach them in spite of all the obstacles in his way.  It is inspiring and thought-provoking, highlighting the challenges we face in treating kids in our schools as human beings that matter instead of cogs in a machine.  For anyone who is a teacher, knows a teacher, or just cares about the next generation and the future we are leaving them, this play is a must-see.  It will be at Stage West in Fort Worth October 18-21.

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