The Inbox #14: Should Bible Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Symbolically?

Hello, I’m Eschatologist Nathan Jones, and here at Maranatha Labs, we research day and night to fight the deadly disease known as Symbolically. Those infected with this inhibitive condition are at first difficult to spot, for they look like any other Christian. Show them a symbol out of everyday life, and they can identify it with ease.

But, show them a symbol taken from the Bible, particularly Bible prophecy, and the Bible translation portion of their brains are quickly overcome by Symbolically.

When it comes to the interpretation of the Bible, patients with this debilitating affliction often struggle over the question…

Should Bible Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Symbolically?

In 9 out of 10 cases, those afflicted with Symbolically will intentionally spiritualize the Scriptures, choosing whatever interpretation that suits their fancy, and then argue automatically that the plain sense meanings found in the Bible are not their true meanings.

90% of those suffering under this inhibitive interpretive condition may experience…

  1. A disturbing inability to believe that God knows how to communicate.
  2. Compulsive desires to strip Bible verses away from their context.
  3. Sudden spasms of detective work, searching for hidden meanings.
  4. Manic mythologizing of the Genesis Creation and Revelation end times accounts.
  5. And, delusions of grandeur, playing God by deciding what the Bible truly does or does not mean.

The Cure

If you are suffering from Symbolically, there is hope. Ask your local Eschatologist about the fast acting Golden Rule of Interpretation. Yes, the Golden Rule of Interpretation is the cure that will guide you to a literal interpretation of the Bible. Just generously apply this motto every single time you read the Bible — “If the plain sense makes sense, don’t look for any other sense, lest you end up with nonsense.” — and you, too, will be cured from spiritualizing Scriptures.

Treatment Options

Once you’ve started implementing the Golden Rule of Interpretation, keep the Bible study portion of your brain healthy by applying the following eight treatments:

  1. The Right Approach
    Always approach the Scriptures with a childlike faith and an honest heart.
  2. Be Filled By God’s Spirit
    Before you open your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to provide clear understanding.
  3. The Inspiration of Scriptures
    Because God Himself inspired the writers of the Bible, accept the truth that what they wrote must be without error.
  4. Plain Sense Symbols
    Let the Bible be its own best interpreter as to the meaning of its own symbols.
  5. Context, Context, Context
    Meanings of words in the Bible should always be determined by their context.
  6. The Principle of Searching
    All verses on a particular topic should be searched out, compared, and then reconciled. Never hang a doctrine on one isolated verse.
  7. The Problem of Prefilling
    Allow that some Bible prophecies are prefilled in symbolic type first before being completely fulfilled later on.
  8. Telescoping Prophets
    Understand that prophets often looked into the future and saw a series of prophetic events, not realizing they’d be separated by long time intervals.

Side Effects

There are side effects from using the Golden Rule of Interpretation.

  • a deeper understanding of God
  • a new appreciation of the Bible
  • mental acuity
  • a richer faith
  • unbelievable hope
  • spiritual enlightenment
  • and, an inexpressible joy.

So fight the dreaded Symbolically with the Golden Rule of Interpretation — “If the plain sense makes sense, don’t look for any other sense, lest you end up with nonsense.” Why live with the heartbreak of confusion? Take the Golden Rule. Because He’s worth it.

No prescription necessary. Available to all ages.

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