Understanding Scripture

Approach the scripture with two things in mind. First, that every word is divinely inspired and has a purpose. Second, that the bible is primarily non literal.

I recall a time when I was explaining how the Lord had shown me the handwriting on the floor in John 8. I made a claim that the woman taken in adultery is a type of the church. "Well how do you know that she is a type of the church, how can you find these types all over the place?" someone asked. I didn't have a ready answer at the moment, but I learned to explain it this way. You have to expect it. You have to expect to find types, symbols and allegories in the bible. Once you see that this is how the Lord puts things into the scripture, it's much easier for him to reveal them to you. Then when you come across a type in the bible, you are prepared to see the correspondence between the type and the thing it points to. You cannot force a comparison or depend strictly on your own logic. It must not come by 'flesh and blood' but from the Spirit revealing it to you. But if you do not expect to find types, or your theological background has taught you to treat these topics as strictly literal, then you'll be stuck. You won't be able to go past the literal face value of the word, ever learning, but never coming into deeper knowledge.

Let's start with an illustration of how this works.

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead

Who delivered us from so great a death 2 Corinthians 1:8-10

This is written by Paul, describing his experiences on one of the trips he took through Asia. That's the literal face value of this passage. How can you go deeper? Here's a clue. Jerusalem is also in Asia. If you substitute Jerusalem for Asia, you see that these words could have been spoken by Jesus after his resurrection. The same thing that happened to Paul had also happened to Jesus. [Just because it happened later makes no difference.] Here is a case where Jesus is speaking to us directly through Paul.]

The bible was produced by men writing down what the Spirit directed them to write. So all of it is God speaking to man. Parts of it have the appearance of historical record, or personal memoirs. But that is just the surface meaning. The real meat is below the surface. Here it seems as though Jesus is speaking through Paul, because he really is speaking through Paul. Many of the other things that happened to Jesus also happened to Paul. Paul is used as a type of Jesus in many cases; and he is also used as a type of the church in many places.

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