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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Chris Rosebrough has an interesting article on Bible reading and misinterpretation of the text. I must confess I used to apply this technique to twist Scripture and I see many pastors resort to using it with motivational speaking, Prosperity “gospel” and Word of Faith teachings. It is very faulty and man centred and I am glad to condemn it today. You see…
There is an epidemic of Narcissistic Eisegesis a.k.a. Narcigesis, infecting the churches in America today. Pastors and Bible teachers have mastered the art of allegorizing all of the characters and details of every Bible story in order to make the stories about YOU. Therefore, I’ve decided to give a little ‘how to’ advice regarding this Bible twisting technique in the hopes that by doing so you’ll see the obvious problems with this way of approaching the Biblical texts. So here we go.
How to Narcigete Any Bible Story In 4 Easy Steps
Primary Assumption: Every Bible story is about YOU. And, since YOU struggle with setbacks, problems and challenges that keep YOU from achieving YOUR maximal greatness that means that the Bible is really all about giving YOU a road map that YOU can follow to achieve YOUR dreams and god-given destiny.
Read a Bible Story.
Identify the hero and the villain(s) in the story.
Identify yourself with the hero (who also happens to be on a journey toward greatness and achieving his god-given destiny, just like you).
Identify your current problems, challenges and setbacks with the villain(s) in the story.
Identify the key action taken by the hero to defeat the villain. Allegorize that action by calling it a ‘principle’ and then challenge people to ‘apply this principle’ in their lives in order to defeat the problems, challenges and setbacks in their lives so that they can achieve greatness.
Excerpt from Letter of Marque. The reason why this method of interpretation is wrong is because:
o Since there is no objective standard to which the interpreter must bow, the final authority ceases to be the scripture and becomes the interpreter. Whose allegorical symbols are right? This question leads to the establishment of an endless self centered bias which effectively replaces Scripture as the true locus of authority.
o Allegorical interpretation is only rarely seen in scripture (Gal. 4:21-31; 1 Cor. 10:1-4). Parables are usually not allegories.
o An even more extreme example of this kind of over- interpretation is numerology. In numerology, numbers in the Bible (whether actual numbers, or the number of letters in names and passages) are seen to hold secret symbolic messages. There is no warrant in the Bible for this kind of interpretation. It should be avoided at all times. For further reading on hermeneutics or the interpretation of Scripture click here.