One God | Salvation | Baptism | Faith
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Touch and Agree? | One Body? | One Liners
My friend Walter Copes has stated these rules and assumptions in nice order indeed and I present them for your consideration.
The literal method of interpretation is that method that gives to each word the same exact basic meaning it would have in normal, ordinary, customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking or thinking. It is called the grammatical-historical method to emphasize the fact that the meaning is to be determined by both grammatical and historical considerations.
The "literal" meaning of a word is the basic, customary, social designation of that word. The spiritual, or mystical meaning of a word or expression is one that arises from the literal designation and is dependent upon it for its existence.
To interpret literally means nothing more or less than to interpret in terms of normal, usual, designation. When the manuscript alters its designation the interpreter immediately shifts his method of interpreting.
The literal meaning of sentences is the normal approach in all languages.
All secondary meanings of documents, parables, types, allegories, and symbols, depend for their very existence on the previous literal meaning of the terms.
The greater part of the Bible makes adequate sense when interpreted literally.
The literalistic approach does not blindly rule out figures of speech, symbols, allegories, and types; but if the nature of the sentence so demands, it readily yields to the second sense.
This method is the only sane and safe check on the imaginations of man.
This method is the only one consonant with the nature of inspiration. The plenary inspiration of the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit guided men into truth and away from error. In this process the Spirit of God used language, and the units of language (as meaning, not as sound) are words and thoughts. The thought is the thread that strings the words together. Therefore, our very exegesis must commence with a study of words and grammar, the two fundamentals of all meaningful speech.
Inasmuch as God gave the Word of God as a revelation to men, it would be expected that His revelation would be given in such exact and specific terms that His thoughts would be accurately conveyed and understood when interpreted according to the laws of grammar and speech. Such presumptive evidence favors the literal interpretation, for an allegorical method of interpretation would cloud the meaning of the message delivered by God to men. The fact that the Scriptures continually point to literal interpretations of what was formerly written adds evidence as to the method to be employed in interpreting the Word. Perhaps one of the strongest evidences for the literal method is the use of the New Testament makes of the Old Testament. When the Old Testament is used in the New Testament it is used in a literal sense. One need only study the prophecies which were fulfilled in the first coming of Christ, in His life, His ministry, and His death, to establish that fact. No prophecy which has been completely fulfilled has been fulfilled in any way but literally. Though a prophecy may be cited in the New Testament to show that a certain event is a partial fulfillment of that prophecy, or to show that an event is in harmony with God's established program, it does not necessitate a non-literal fulfillment or deny a future complete fulfillment, for such applications of prophecy do not exhaust the fulfillment of it. Therefore such references to prophecy do not argue for a non-literal method.
It is recognized by all that the Bible abounds in figurative language. On this basis it is often argued that the use of figurative language demands a figurative interpretation. However, figures of speech are used as a means of revealing literal truth. What is literally true in one realm, with which we are familiar, is brought over, literally into another realm, with which we may not be familiar, in order to teach us truths in that unfamiliar realm.
The literalist does not deny the existence of figurative language. The literalist does, however, deny that such figures must be interpreted so as to destroy the literal truth intended through the employment of the figures. Literal truth is to be learned through the symbols.
I am in the process of writing this and will post these as they are finished. Keep checking back.
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