Spiritual interpretation of Scripture

Spiritual interpretation of Scripture

Types are in the Bible.
Allegory is in the Bible in Galatians chapter 4.
Therefore, limited spiritual interpretations are possible.

1 Cor. 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
1 Cor. 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

Moses was talking about animals, but Paul to ministers. Of course, it is the Holy Ghost through and through. However, this is not carte blanche for any and every allegorical, spiritual, etc. interpretation that people might suggest.

Augustine, for example, explained every part of the Good Samaritan parable as having some sort of meaning applying to Christ and the Church. This method was based on Origen’s method, and was far away from the Apostolic method.

Christians should believe the Scripture, first literally, and then spiritually. But it must be ensured that the spiritualising is based on belief, not to explain away, but to actually give more credence to the truth of Scripture. This legitimately is the true way of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15b). The extremes and oft-cited examples of heretics like Origen’s “allegorising” to absurdity should not be used to negate a proper full understanding of Scripture.

The hyper-allegorising of the Alexandrian school (second to fourth centuries) was extreme. Origen has been justly called a heretic for his wild and speculative methods of interpreting Scripture. These in turn influenced Jerome and Augustine.

Some attempt to contrast the Alexandrians with a “literalist” Antiochian school. In fact, there was an element of moderate spiritualisation in the Antiochian school, which is called the “theoria” method.

For an interesting take on Revelation (which is not entirely correct), have a look at this old booklet, written in Australia back in 1869.

Gillingham, B., 1869, Visions in the Isle of Patmos, Gillingham & Co., Sebastopol, VIC, Australia.