Archive for the 'Literal Interpretation' Category

The Wedding at Cana Led to Divorce

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

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By Spencer D Gear PhD

I read the Brisbane Times online (28 June 2016) and the story, ‘Koala in pain for hours after dog attack’. It stated:

A koala was left lying in pain for five hours after being attacked by a dog north of Brisbane before finally being put out of its misery.

The koala, a young male coming into his first breeding season, was attacked about 2.30am on Tuesday at Petrie, but the dog’s owners did not contact the RSPCA until 7.30am.

The animal had to be euthanased due to the severity of its injuries (Brisbane Times 2016).

clip_image004(photo of koala, courtesy Wikipedia)

 

Do you think it is reasonable to understand this as referring to a cuddly marsupial koala that was attacked by an actual dog in the Brisbane suburb of Petrie? The real pain lasted hours until the koala was euthanised after the RSPCA, an animal welfare organisation, had been contacted.

Or would you prefer that I interpret this story as referring to pain that was a symbol of what God wanted to teach Christians about the benefits of suffering, according to James 1:2-4 (NASB):

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

You would be justified in calling for the mental health people if I came up with such a crazy allegorical interpretation of imposing on the text of the Brisbane Times a meaning that was in no way found in the newspaper’s wording about the injured koala.

But that’s exactly the kind of interpretation I encountered when I visited a Christian forum online with allegorical interpretations of Jesus’ miracle of converting the water into wine at the wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11 NLT).

If you want to screw up the meaning of Jesus’ first ‘sign’ miracle and cause it to be divorced from the fundamental narrative of the text, there is a way to do it. Read on and you’ll be exposed to some glaring examples of what people do to reject an objective interpretation of a biblical text.

When I speak of the wedding at Cana leading to a divorce, I’m referring to a divorce from the meaning presented by the text. It is disarming to see how some Christians can do it but not see the danger of what they do. We will see this as this article unfolds.

Two people did this on a Christian forum with their allegorical interpretations of the Wedding at Cana. I’ll use a back and forth dialogue with me as the format for this engagement although the original was in posts that could have been separated by a day or two.

1. Divorce in view: Allegorical interpretation of the wedding at Cana

FHG[1]

This person started the thread with a lengthy statement of interpretation. I can see the divorce in motion: [2]

God’s word can be literal and Spiritual as in the case of the wedding in Cana. The wedding represents the Spiritual being the union between Jesus and his bride whom are the children of God through repentance. Jesus brings his disciples to the wedding to show them the wonders of God through the renewal of his Spirit. I want you to see the relationship we have between the old self in the flesh and the new Spiritual rebirth in Christ. We are called the bride of Christ and I could not find any better example of this as in the story of the first wedding Jesus attended with his disciples, (Ref: John 2:1-11).

The word marriage represents our relationship with Jesus. We are called the bride of Christ which means when we ask Jesus into our life through repentance we become one in the Spirit that is in Christ and have communion with his life, death and resurrection. We are united with Jesus as one body that has been renewed through the Spirit that is God. We become as a bride to the bridegroom as we are joined together as one. (Matthew 9:15; Rev 21:9)

The word call means that we do not just happen to fall into a relationship with Jesus as we are called of God or predestined before the world began for Gods purpose and grace. Jesus and his disciples were called to the wedding to witness the testimony of Gods power and authority through the miracle of changing water into wine, which was Jesus first miracle. The water and the wine represent the word of God and his Spirit as a renewal of our body and soul through the salvation of Jesus. (Jeremiah 1:5; 2Timothy 1:9; John 3:5)

Wanting wine meant the disciples wanted understanding of those things Jesus was teaching them as they could not understand with their carnal minds, but did know that Jesus was a prophet sent by God. When Jesus said to his mother my time has not come yet he was speaking of his death and resurrection. Spiritual understanding could not come until Jesus ascended unto the Father and the Holy Spirit that is the Spirit of God be brought down from heaven to open our Spiritual eyes and ears to understand those teachings of Jesus while he walked the earth with his disciples. (Romans 8:5-8; John 14:26)

The water pots in themselves are a Jewish tradition of placing these pots outside the wedding feast so everyone could wash their hands and feet before entering into the feast. The significance of there being six water pots of stone is that the number six represents the number of the beast or sinful nations that are being controlled by Satan using others to deceive man like he used a serpent to deceive Adam and Eve as Satan is a spirit that has no form and has to use whatever or whomever he can to work through to deceive man.

When Jesus asked the servants to fill the water pots with water and then he changed the water into wine is a Spiritual representation of the water being the word of God and the wine being the Holy Spirit as it is only by the word of God and his Holy Spirit that we can see the kingdom of God through a renewed Spiritual rebirth through repentance.

The governor asked Jesus why was the good wine served last after everyone was already drunk as he could not understand such a thing. In the beginning man was pure and knew no sin until they allowed themselves to be deceived by Satan who used the serpent to deceive them thus the knowledge of sin was revealed to them and extended to all generations. The good wine (Gods Spirit come to flesh in Jesus) was sacrificed for the atonement of sin as through repentance we now have the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God – new wine) that renews our inner man through the word of God that we can now have life eternal with the father. (Rev 13:18; John 1:14; Colossians 3:5-14; Genesis 3:6, 7)

Before the dispensation of grace (Jesus) men were bound by the laws and traditions enforced by the Priest and the Scribes. The laws that were established by God were changed daily by the Pharisees so they could justify their own deeds of unrighteousness, By changing the laws this put men under bondage and they ended up dying in their sins for if you broke even one you were guilty of breaking them all because the law had no saving provisions in it and became a curse to men because they could not e justified by the laws. (Galatians 3:10-12)

Jesus gave a parable about the old garment and old bottle which represents our old sin nature. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior through repentance this created a new Spiritual inner man and old things are passed away (sin) and remembered no more by God and all things become new once again. You have two masters you can choose to serve as one is God and the other is self. If we have truly died to self (old garment, old bottle) and serve God then he clothes us in his robe of righteousness and we drink from the new bottle from the fountain of living water. There is no fence riding when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. You either trust him in all things or you deny him in all things. You can not put a new piece of garment on an old piece as it ruins the new garment if you cut into it. (Note: wine bottles were made from the hide of animals and if used to much the hide would wear out and split.) (Luke 5:36-39; Matthew 6:24)

When the Pharisees saw Jesus sitting with such undeliverable type of people in their opinion they question his disciples why he would waste his time on those they deemed unworthy and Jesus overhearing their conversation told them that he came to call the sinner not the righteous back to the grace of God through repentance as the righteous already hold that which is of God in their hearts. The Pharisees could not understand what Jesus meant as they felt that anyone who did not support their interpretations of the laws of Moses would become an outcast forever. Their interpretations of the laws, as they changed them daily, became more authoritative than the original ones God gave to Moses. The laws had become bondage and caused many to die in their sin for they could not keep all the laws as there were over 613 of them as I said before the Pharisees added to them daily to try and justify their own deeds. Jesus was sent of God to make an end to the curse of the law as he was made the final blood sacrifice to redeem us all from sin through repentance to bring us back to the grace of God. (Matthew 9:10-13; Galatians 3:10-14)

Once again the Pharisees came against Jesus and his teachings for what he was teaching came against their own interpretations and traditions of the laws and as he was also teaching to the gentiles who were thought to be heathens as they worshipped other gods this angered those who held high office in the Priesthood in the Jewish nation. The Jewish people were bound by the laws as they were taught by the Priest and Rabbi in the Synagogue they also questioned Jesus about why his disciples did not fast as fasting was part of the law of purification and Jesus told them why would one fast for something they already had. He also told them that he would not always be with the people and they would fast again, but it would be another type of fast that the disciples of Jesus (us) would loose the bands of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke of bondage. The fast Jesus was talking about was to feed the hungry, help the poor and clothe the naked.

Fasting was not afflicting the soul as what would that bring about, but only ones own emotions of pain. Fasting is to take the word of God out to those who need to hear of Gods salvation and showing the actions of the word of God by helping those in need. The old bottle or the old wineskin (man under the law) was bound by the law or the interpretation of it, which only brought Spiritual death and literal death, but the new bottle or new wine skin (man under grace) has been set free from the curse of the law as the Holy Spirit has been given to us that renews Gods Spirit in us and teaches us the true knowledge of Gods spoken word. (Matthew 9:14-17; Isaiah 58:5-8)

We have to be careful for what we are being taught by others so we will not fall into the bondage of traditional interpretations and preach a deceptive gospel that will cause others to stumble and separate themselves from grace, but rather we need to be teaching the acceptable word of God in all truths no matter what tries to come against us. You might think that anything taught from the pulpit is truth because after all these people are our teachers and they should know what they are speaking, but we are warned many times in the word of God to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing because Satan as a roaring lion is seeking to whom he can use to devour us. Learn to discern what is being taught to you so you can rightly divide the word of God to know what is truth or what is error as we will stand before God individually to give an account for what we have learned and taught others and there will be no excuses before the father as he has given us truth by his Spirit, but it was up to us to accept it or reject it.

Never take anyone’s word for what they teach unless they can back themselves up with scripture and you study it for yourself by asking the Holy Spirit to confirm if what you have been taught is truth or error and if you find error in those teachings it is up to you to go to them in love and compassion to show them where they have erred as when you do this you gain a brother, but if they refuse to hear you then shake the dust from your feet and move on. Never argue or debate Gods word for this will only bring foolishness on you and is not pleasing to the Father, but in all things let us bring glory and honor to the Lord by living in his will of love and show forth the good fruits of his grace. (1 Peter 5:8; 1Timothy 1:4-7).

This lengthy interpretation is a classic piece of creative innovation that makes the text state what is not included in it. The interpreter has not separated the subject from the object in interpretation.

1.1   Adding to the text with alleged ‘spiritual’ interpretation

clip_image005Here is my response:

Oz:[3]

The above interpretations[4] you have made from John 2:1-11 are not in the text. They are added to the text in these ways:

  1. ‘God’s word can be literal and Spiritual as in the case of the wedding in Cana. The wedding represents the Spiritual being the union between Jesus and his bride whom are the children of God through repentance.’
  2. ‘The water and the wine represent the word of God and his Spirit as a renewal of our body and soul through the salvation of Jesus’.
  3. ‘Wanting wine meant the disciples wanted understanding of those things Jesus was teaching them as they could not understand with their carnal minds, but did know that Jesus was a prophet sent by God’.
  4. ‘six water pots of stone is that the number six represents the number of the beast or sinful nations that are being controlled by Satan using others to deceive man like he used a serpent’;
  5. ‘The good wine (Gods Spirit come to flesh in Jesus) was sacrificed for the atonement of sin as through repentance we now have the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God – new wine) that renews our inner man through the word of God that we can now have life eternal with the father’,
  6. Etc, etc, etc.

None of these interpretations came from the text; they were your inventive creations. The early church Father, Origen (ca. 185-254) , would have been proud of your allegorical interpretations as he was one of the famous allegorisers in the early church and his method of interpretation has been condemned because it means that anyone can come along and say what he or she wants about a text – a long as it has spiritual overtones. See, ‘The rise of allegorical interpretation‘.

You exhort us: ‘Never take anyone’s word for what they teach unless they can back themselves up with scripture and you study it for yourself by asking the Holy Spirit to confirm if what you have been taught is truth or error’.  As I have mentioned briefly, the teachings you have given from the Wedding at Cana of Galilee are not in the text and are thus in error. I’m using your call to assess whether it is truth or error.

You see, if I accept your allegorising, there is no way that you can reject my responses as well. Here goes:

  1. God’s word can only be interpreted literally and that means all figures of speech are included in literal interpretation. This is the case for the incident of turning water into wine at Cana of Galilee.
  2. The water and the wine are literal products involved in the miracle at Cana.
  3. For the disciples to understand what Jesus taught, they interpreted him as one would any conversation or piece of literature – literally – which includes acceptance of figures of speech.
  4. Six water pots of stone were just that – 6 water pots of stone – no more and no less.
  5. The good wine was kept until last to demonstrate the importance of Jesus’ first sign at Cana.
  6. Etc, etc, etc.

When one allegorises Scripture, one can make it say anything one wants. It’s really imposing on the text a meaning that is not there. It is like postmodern, reader-response interpretation where the reader determines the meaning of a text and does not allow the intention of the original author to speak.

I did not state this in the thread and I was negligent in not doing it. I should have provided a definition of allegorical interpretation and a list of its dangers. Here goes for this article:

1.2   Definition of allegorical interpretation

clip_image007Let’s check on three leading texts from the past on hermeneutics (i.e. biblical interpretation.

Berkeley Mickelsen, in a text I used in seminary, warns that

allegory, a very legitimate way of teaching truth, should not be confused with allegorizing, which takes a narrative that was not meant to teach truth by identification. By a point by point comparison, allegorizing makes a narrative convey ideas different from those intended by the original author. Thus allegorizing is an arbitrary way of handling any narrative (Mickelsen 1963:231).

Milton Terry’s definition is:

The allegorical method of interpretation is based upon a pro­found reverence for the Scriptures, and a desire to exhibit their manifold depths of wisdom. But it will be noticed at once that its habit is to disregard the common signification of words, and give wing to all manner of fanciful speculation. It does not draw out the legitimate meaning of an author’s language, but foists into it whatever the whim or fancy of an interpreter may desire. As a system, therefore, it puts itself beyond all well?defined principles and laws (Terry n d:164).

Bernard Ramm, in a text I used in Bible college, stated that:

Allegorical interpretation believes that beneath the letter (rhete) or the obvious (phanera) is the real meaning (hyponoia) of the passage. Allegory is defined by some as an extended metaphor…. But if we presume that the document has a secret meaning (hyponoia) and there are no cues concerning the hidden meaning interpretation is difficult. In fact, the basic problem is to determine if the passage has such a meaning at all. The further problem arises whether the secret meaning was in the mind of the original writer or something found there by the interpreter. If there are no cues, hints, connections, or other associations which indicate that the record is an allegory, and what the allegory intends to teach, we are on very uncertain grounds (Ramm 1970:24).

We’ll discuss the dangers of allegorical interpretation after my discussion with two promoters of the allegorical method below.

Now we return to the Christian Forum dialogue. The stereotype continued:

1.3   ‘Spiritual meaning’

FHG:

Can we quit making this a battle field and please stay on topic. My whole point of starting this thread was to show how something that is literal can also have a Spiritual message to it. Thank you.[5]

Oz[6]

Your supposed ‘spiritual message’ is really allegorical interpretation, which means that you impose your own alleged spiritual meaning onto the text. That ‘spiritual message’ is not stated in the text (John 2:1-11). It is invented by you. It is a battlefield of your own making because of your invented method of adding to the text.

Roy Zuck’s practical definition of allegorical interpretation (what you have done) is:

Allegorizing is searching for a hidden or secret meaning underlying but remote from and unrelated in reality to the more obvious meaning of a text. In other words the literal reading is a sort of code, which needs to be deciphered to determine the more significant and hidden meaning. In this approach the literal is superficial, the allegorical is the true meaning.[7]

FHG:

Just as Nicodemus did not understand that of the Spiritual in John 3 that Jesus was telling him so the same as many will not see the Spiritual teaching in the wedding in Cana. Words have literal meaning like water and wine, but some, like water and wine, have very Spiritual meaning within the literal as I have already explain in my OP with scripture.

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?[8]

1.4   We should not go beyond the text of Scripture

Another came in to offer support of the position I was advocating.

Wondering:

I must, however, agree with Oz. He’s right in making the point that we should not go beyond what is actually in the scripture. Anyone could come up with any concept and put it forward as a teaching. How would we ever know which is correct and which isn’t correct?

We should try to adhere to what the original writer intended us to know. Wine is held in jars. It’a normal everyday thing. It’s okay to see some spirituality in this – but it should not be a teaching, an official teaching. If John had meant to say what is being expressed here, then he would have just said it.

John made it a point to say what he believed to be important.
Scripture looses all meaning when we give our own private interpretation and then pass it along as a factual teaching. If you believe anything – believing becomes meaningless.[9]

1.5   Spiritual meaning ‘given to me’

FHG:

From where did this ‘spiritual meaning’ come that was given to the person?

I already stated that this was something that was personally given to me and no, I am not adding anything to the text, but only showing things that are also Spiritual within the literal. Spiritual usually is never stated, but can be applied, as it is given to one by the revelations of the Holy Spirit when one seeks understanding.

Changing water into wine was Jesus first miracle at the beginning of His ministry. We can also apply this to we (sic) being the water only having the word, but not yet having the new wine which represents the indwelling of the Holy Spirit like that of what Jesus taught Nicodemus in John 3.[10]

Wondering:

The advocate, against allegorical interpretation, continued:

THIS is what happens when we read too much into a scripture.
You mention the discourse between Jesus and John in John 3.
There are already 2 different theological theories as to what Jesus meant about being born of water.
1. One big denomination believes that Jesus is speaking about baptism. Baptismal water. This brings up problems but we won’t get into that.
2. Protestantism believes that Jesus is speaking about being born naturally since Nicodemus asks how it could be possible to return to the mother’s womb.
Now, YOU are introducing a new idea. You’re saying:
We can also apply this to we (sic) being the water only having the word,

You’re saying that WE are the water (the new idea) only having the word.
(And I still haven’t gotten some scripture as to how you can relate water to being the word …)
According to you, I must add a number 3 to my list above.[11]

Oz:

This is rank eisegesis, so I replied:[12] When you engage in allegorical/figurative interpretation of any text, you are adding to the text – adding your own ‘spiritual’ interpretation that is not stated in the text of John 2:1-11 (ESV).

All right, let me try my own allegorical interpretation. Changing the water into wine means that Jesus promoted the view that it is spiritually uplifting to indulge in drinking large quantities of alcoholic wine when I gather with God’s people, to assist my spiritual life in developing miraculous, spiritual understanding and development.

What I have written here is just as suitable as what you have written because both of us have added to Scripture of John 2 (ESV) what is NOT in the text. However, your use of allegorical interpretation allows me to use the same method and make the text mean whatever I want it to mean. I can add all the spiritual words I want, but that does not detract from the fact that you and I have engaged in eisegesis with our allegorical/figurative interpretation.

Allegorical interpretation destroys the meaning of any text.

FHG:

Predictably, the emphasis continued:

It’s not an allegorical interpretation, but a Spiritual understanding of that which is literal. It’s like all the parables Jesus taught. They were literal fiction stories, but each story had a Spiritual reference to our salvation through the Spiritual new birth as we take the part and combine it with the whole of scripture for our understanding. Your interpretation would have no merit for it has no scriptural founding in it and actually comes against what Jesus already taught about gluttony in Proverbs 23:20; Ephesians 5:18. Nicodemus only saw the literal in John 3:1-6, but was then given the Spiritual meaning. Water-word, wine-Holy Spirit.[13]

What could I do but have a laugh over the continued refusal to listen to the exposure of her unbiblical interpretations.

Oz:

So I wrote:[14] I’m chuckling FHG! clip_image008Your ‘spiritual understanding’ is nothing more and nothing less than allegorical interpretation of infusing into the text of Cana of Galilee something that was not there. It’s an invention.

Cana of Galilee is NOT a parable but you are trying to make it into your own special variety by infusing your own imaginative stuff. You claim that my interpretation has no merit because it has ‘no scriptural founding’. Do you mean foundation? Yours has no more scriptural foundation than mine in interpretation of Cana of Galilee.

‘Spiritual meaning’ is your individualistic invention of spiritual sounding words that add to the text and make it say what it is not saying.

1.6   Unnecessary conclusion: Bible literal and not spiritual

FHG:

The promoter of allegorical teaching continued:

So what you are saying is that the whole Bible is literal and contains nothing Spiritual in it for our understanding? How do we become born again without the Spirit? How do we learn the mysteries of Gods word without the Spirit revealing those things that confound the carnal mind, Deuteronomy 29:29; Proverbs 25:2 Matthew 13:11-13; Colossians 1:26, 27; 1Timothy 3:16 ? Not all private interpretations are to be shared unless God says it’s time to share them to those who have ears to hear. This is why God told Daniel to shut up the words and seal the book (visions) that were revealed to him until the time of the end when knowledge would increase, Daniel 12:1-4. The time of the end was when Jesus was taken up and the Holy Spirit was sent down to indwell us and teach us all things as then Spiritual knowledge was increased, John 14:26.
The book was opened in the end with John who was indwelled with the Holy Spirit who received these visions in Revelations from the angel Jesus sent to him while he was being held captive on the isle of Patmos for his witness and testifying of Christ. John was in the Spirit, not caught up to the third heaven where God sits on His throne, when these visions of Daniel were given to him to share with the seven Churches in Asia and all generations after him. It’s only understood by those whose knowledge has been increased by the Holy Spirit.[15]

1.7   John 3:5: Born of water and the Spirit

clip_image009FHG:

A portion of the allegorical promoter’s post read:

John 3:5 never mentions the word baptize, but says only by being born of water and spirit, which means water as living water (word) that no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are Spiritually renewed (born again) by the word, which is Christ Jesus and by the Holy Spirit that came on them in the OT and indwells us in the NT. Many do read into the passage a preconceived idea or theology, but baptism is never mentioned in this verse. Word in John 3:5 is living water as described in John 4:10; 7:38; 1John 5:6; Jeremiah 2:13; Isaiah 55:1-3 to name a few.[16]

Oz:

Therefore, I asked: ‘Please share with us how you obtain the meaning of John 3:5 (ESV), ‘unless you are born of water and the Spirit’ in context’.[17] The reply was:

FHG:

Can we be born again by literal water like that of John the Baptist, no, for John’s baptism in water was for repentance and had nothing to do with being Spiritually born again. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. We are saved through faith by Gods grace, not by being dunked or sprinkled with water as that would be by works. Jesus being the word of God made flesh, John 1:1-14, as being the water in John 3:5 or a better word would be living water we are then born again by the word of God and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit as then we are baptized into Christ, Galatians 3:22-27.[18]

Oz:

How should I reply? This was my retort:[19] This is a wonderful example of avoidance. I asked: ‘Please share with us how you obtain the meaning of John 3:5 (ESV), ‘unless you are born of water and the Spirit’ in context’, and this is what I got.

You assert that ‘as being the water in John 3:5 or a better word would be living water we are then born again by the word of God and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit as then we are baptized into Christ’. This does not tell us HOW you obtain the meaning of ‘unless one is born of water and the Spirit’ (John 3:5 ESV).

I still don’t know how you obtain the meaning you have given in the context of John 3:5 (ESV). In this thread you have imposed your allegorical/figurative interpretation on the text of the Wedding at Cana. Is that what you are doing here? Your imposition of your own idiosyncratic meaning on the text! Seems so!

Let’s get back to the Wedding at Cana. Why don’t you accept the literal interpretation of John 2:1-11 (ESV) instead of inventing your figurative understanding that is found nowhere in the text?

FHG:

I did share the meaning, but will bring maybe a better light to what I said about the water in John 3:5 meaning the word of God:
Word is living water as described in John 4:10; 7:38; 1John 5:6; Jeremiah 2:13; Isaiah 55:1-3 to name a few.
I never said I didn’t accept the literal wedding. I’m just showing how it can be compared to the Spiritual new birth and there is nothing wrong with that as even Jesus compared different things in scripture. It’s called “likened”. I’m not interpreting it, but likening it to John 3:3-6 with the water, wine and six water pots.[20]

Oz:

The evidence is obvious: ‘You are engaging in allegorical interpretation with adding to Scripture what is NOT in the text of John 2:1-11 (ESV)’.[21]

FHG:

It’s not an allegorical interpretation, but a Spiritual understanding of that which is literal. It’s like all the parables Jesus taught. They were literal fiction stories, but each story had a Spiritual reference to our salvation through the Spiritual new birth as we take the part and combine it with the whole of scripture for our understanding. Your interpretation would have no merit for it has no scriptural founding in it and actually comes against what Jesus already taught about gluttony in Proverbs 23:20; Ephesians 5:18. Nicodemus only saw the literal in John 3:1-6, but was then given the Spiritual meaning. Water-word, wine-Holy Spirit.[22]

There were two consecutive comments here by FHG because there was an interjection by a moderator who was complaining about ‘no trolling’ and it’s a Bible Study forum where no debate is allowed.[23]

FHG:

The whole point of my OP was not only based on the water and wine, but more importantly what is said in:
John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
The water can be related to the word as well as the new wine being the best wine can be related to the Holy Spirit in that of our Spiritual rebirth and seeing the glory of the Lord when we first begin to follow Him as He is our Bridegroom and we His Bride. Many if not all of the teachings of Christ are directed to our need of a Savior as we put off the old man (flesh) and put on the new man (Spirit). We are renewed by the word of God and through the Holy Spirit teaching us of all things. John 3:1-6, 14:26, Colossians 3:1-4.[24]

Oz:

My response was that this is allegorical interpretation because it adds to the text what is not in the text of John 2:1-11 (ESV).[25]

FHG:

‘It adds nothing to the text, but draws a reference from the text that not everyone can see unless light is brought to it’[26]

Oz:

That’s your adding to the text the alleged ‘deeper meaning’, which is the method of interpretation called eisegesis – reading into the text what is not there. To call it ‘light’ is to redefine the meaning of ‘light’ to make it equal eisegesis and allegorical interpretation. This is an example of the fallacy of appeal to authority.[27]

2.  Another supporter of allegorical interpretation

While I was engaged in the above challenge of allegorical interpretation, I was doing battle with another promoter of figurative, ‘spiritual’ hermeneutics.

The discussion on spiritual meaning and allegorical interpretation in this thread had been rolling along with much acceptance until I interrupted with my posts. It was at this point that this person stated:

Jethro:[28]

There’s no question that Jesus came to transform the knowledge of the word–the water of the word–into the joyful infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is unique to the New Covenant….unless you were a king, or a priest, or a prophet, or a handful of other privileged people in the old covenant.
We can speculate as to specific details beyond that fundamental truth, and each one of us is free to take them or leave them, but the fundamental truth being illustrated by the story stands.[29]

2.1   Transforming knowledge with water

clip_image010Oz:

To the statement, ‘There’s no question that Jesus came to transform the knowledge of the word–the water of the word–into the joyful infilling of the Holy Spirit’, I asked him to ‘please provide book, chapter and verses in the NT to confirm your statement here’.[30]

Jethro:

Are you asking because you do not think Jesus makes it so mere written words become the Holy Spirit in a person?
I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:8-10 NIV bold mine)[31]

Oz:

How should I reply?[32] Your statement was: ‘There’s no question that Jesus came to transform the knowledge of the word–the water of the word–into the joyful infilling of the Holy Spirit’.

I asked for you to provide book, chapter and verse to confirm what you stated. The reference you have given here from Heb 8:8-10 (NIV) in no way relates to the question I asked. Thus, this makes your reply a red herring. We can’t have a logical conversation when you engage in this kind of erroneous reasoning.

2.2   The first covenant of words transformed to the New Covenant of the Spirit

Jethro:

Then came this lengthy reply:

The first covenant, as we know, was a covenant of words, witnessed by a carving of stone. Those words provided a ceremonial outward cleansing. The New Covenant is a Covenant witnessed by the Spirit. It writes the words of the law on the heart by the Spirit and provides a complete inner and outer cleansing. Jesus did that. Jesus transformed the witness of the words of scripture carved in stone into the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the people of God. Just like in the story, the very best was saved until last. And all to the pleasure of the Master of the Banquet.
Now, let’s look at the passage I provided, again: As was said, the first covenant was a covenant of written words, and which provided outward cleansing for the people of God as necessary. That fact is contained in this part of the NT scripture you requested:
I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt
Then the NT author reminds his audience of God’s promise to write those words on the heart in a New and subsequent Covenant (which we know is done by the Holy Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3:3 NASB):
10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:8-10 NIV bold mine)
So you can see, the words of the old covenant used for ceremonial outward cleansing, likened unto the outward cleansing of water, become, like the best of wines, the very life and joy of God in us in this New Covenant. Jesus did that. It’s the miracle and glory of the New Covenant. It’s the miracle that he was to effect, scheduled to happen at a particular time in history, and after the time of ceremonial cleansing.
This could be hard to see for a person if they’re still in a ‘word only’ relationship with God and only attend churches where the promise of the life and joy and abundance of the Holy Spirit in the believer is suppressed and not taught, let alone experienced. This can be likened to only having John’s baptism–repentance in response to hearing the words of the gospel. In these kinds of churches, the Holy Spirit is just a factual reality, not a felt reality. For most Christians this is true. They simply do not get taught about, let alone experience, the joy and life of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it seems they get taught to resist that experience. This was the very first thing I realized when I was born again. I could see how the church of the world was devoid of the Spirit and how, sadly, even among the true believers in the church of the world, these promises remain unclaimed:
“And their heart will be glad as if from wine;
Indeed, their children will see it and be glad,
Their heart will rejoice in the LORD.” (Zechariah 10:7 NASB)
5“…you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice” (Isaiah 60:5 NASB)
And so it is that most of the ceremonial jars of clay in the church filled with the water of the word have yet to have that water turned into the wine of the Spirit. And worse, are terribly offended for you telling them that.[33]

2.3   Eisegesis of Wedding at Cana

I could not let him get away with this falsehood so I responded: This is false teaching. That is NOT what the Wedding at Cana of Galilee teaches at all in John 2:1-11 (ESV). You have imposed a foreign meaning – your idiosyncratic understanding – on the text. You have not obtained the meaning of the text from out of the text. You have imposed YOUR meaning on the test. This is called eisegesis.
This means that I could make John 2:1-11 (ESV) mean whatever I wanted and you would have no objective means to oppose my false or even heretical views. That’s what allegorical meaning does. It adds to the text. You have done just that in your response to me.[34]

Instead of pursuing his previous thought, I reverted to commenting on what I said above:

All right, let me try my own allegorical interpretation. Changing the water into wine means that Jesus promoted the view that it is spiritually uplifting to indulge in drinking large quantities of alcoholic wine when I gather with God’s people, to assist my spiritual life in developing miraculous, spiritual understanding and development.

Jethro:

Predictably, he did not like this and stated:

That’s impossible. Not because I personally don’t agree with it, which is the reason some people choose not to believe other people’s insights into scripture. See, it’s important to know that Biblical insights come from the Bible itself. This is not about knowing things pulled out of thin air and calling it from the Spirit and then insisting everyone agree with it. It’s about knowing what the Bible says about a particular subject in the places where it says that and then using that information to spiritually discern more veiled or less understandable passages of scripture.
This being true, we know that we can immediately discard the interpretation of the water into wine passage that you developed for purposes of illustration. Not only does it have zero Biblical support, it actually contradicts the Bible. So we know without a doubt that these pretend spiritual insights into the story are false. And again, not just because I don’t agree with them, but because they have no support from the Bible itself and actually contradict it.
The ‘water into wine’ meaning the converting of the water of the word in to the wine of the Spirit in this New Covenant is developed through other scripture. That’s how and why it can be received as a legitimate spiritual insight. In fact, here we see the water of the word being changed into the wine of the Spirit in an actual recorded Biblical account:
43“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. (Acts 10:43-44 NASB)
The servant, Peter, filled the clay ‘vessels’ of Cornelius’ household up with the word of the prophets and it in effect became the wine of the Spirit in those vessels. That’s what happens in this New Covenant. It’s the miracle of the New Covenant.[35]

Oz:

This gave me an ideal opportunity to expose the destructive nature of his hermeneutics:[36]

You don’t seem to understand how destructive your allegorical interpretation is to the actual statements of Scripture. I’ve tried to show you over and over how your invention of the meaning is nothing more than allegorical-figurative eisegesis. See the article, What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis? (Got Questions) which explains the difference between exegesis and eisegesis:

Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.
The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.
Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.

I continued: This is how you have engaged in allegorical interpretation in this quote of yours:

  • ‘It’s about knowing what the Bible says about a particular subject in the places where it says that and then using that information to spiritually discern more veiled or less understandable passages of scripture’ (Here you are searching for the ‘deeper meaning’ behind the words – this is your invention of what is in the text but all done ‘ to spiritually discern more veiled or less understandable passages of scripture’ (your language). That is not how Scripture asks us to read it. Take a read of Acts 17:11 (ESV).
  • ‘we know that we can immediately discard the interpretation of the water into wine passage that you developed for purposes of illustration. Not only does it have zero Biblical support, it actually contradicts the Bible’. You have no basis to make this judgment of what I stated because the method I used (allegorical interpretation) was exactly the same as you used. The only difference is that you don’t like the content of what I wrote. That’s hardly a reason to reject it when it is true to your methodology – the deeper allegorical meaning which I gained. Your method contorts and distorts Scripture, as I did when I gave my example.
  • ‘The ‘water into wine’ meaning the converting of the water of the word in to the wine of the Spirit in this New Covenant is developed through other scripture‘. This is another allegorical invention that has no connection with Acts 10:43-44 (NASB). Zero connection!
  • ‘The servant, Peter, filled the clay ‘vessels’ of Cornelius’ household up with the word of the prophets and it in effect became the wine of the Spirit in those vessels. That’s what happens in this New Covenant. It’s the miracle of the New Covenant’. That is nothing more than your figurative invention. It is not based on exegesis of the text but is your insertion, which is called eisegesis as a method of interpretation.

You are so enraptured with this method that you can’t see the damage done by it to meaning of a biblical text. I suggest that you learn to use the historical-grammatical method of interpretation that will enable you to get to the meaning of the text and not engage in a spiritually esoteric meaning.

Jethro:

Oz, I want to preach a sermon about people–you know, clay vessels on the earth (2 Corinthians 4:7 NASB)–receiving the word of God and it resulting in the Holy Spirit being in them. Can you think of some Biblical stories and/or accounts I can use to illustrate this miraculous experience?[37]

Oz:

It is fairly easy to respond to this kind of challenge. If you want to preach a sermon about anything, I suggest that you quit allegorical interpretation and learn some sound exegesis of the text that you will use as the foundation of expository preaching/teaching. Then preach your way through books of the Bible and engage in historical-grammatical interpretation.
I’m not interested in fuelling any of your imagination with figurative hermeneutics.[38]

Jethro:[39]

Here’s water being symbolic of the washing of the word:
“…having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:26 NASB)
3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3 NASB)
Here’s wine being symbolic of, and likened to, the joy of the Holy Spirit:
“And their heart will be glad as if from wine” (Zechariah 10:14 NASB italics in original)
“do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NASB)
Here’s people being referred to as earthen vessels (you know–bodies made of the clay of the earth):
6For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NASB)
And here’s an actual Biblical account of the water of the word being changed into the wine of the Spirit in earthen vessels:
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.” (Acts 10:44 NASB)
The word becoming the wine of the Spirit in earthen vessels is a miracle of the New Covenant. And all scheduled to happen at the appointed time through Christ’s ministry:
“when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” (Galatians 4:4 NASB).

Jethro:

Oz, I guess your argument would mean something if you could show us how it is unBiblical that water = the word, wine = the Holy Spirit, earthen vessels = people, and so on. I’ve shown you where they are Biblical. edited . Just because you don’t see it (even though the interpretation is right in the Bible) doesn’t mean it’s false. What it means is you can’t see it.[40]

Oz:[41]

I’ve already shown you that nowhere in the story of the Wedding at Cana is anything said about the water = word and the wine = the Holy Spirit and earthen vessels = people. That’s your allegorical invention – imposing a meaning on the text that is not there.

Showing me where you gain your figurative interpretation does not make the view legitimate when it is imposed on a narrative where that information is not contained.

I have zero misguided fear. My only concern is over what allegorical interpretation does to propositional revelation – what the text actually says. It prostitutes the text.

Your statement, ‘even though the interpretation is right in the Bible’, is not a fact. Your allegorical interpretation of John 1:1-11 (ESV) is NOT in the Bible. It is Jethro’s creative invention.

Jethro:

Well, this is the Bible study forum, so perhaps you can provide some Biblical study material to show that water can not be interpreted as the word, wine can not be interpreted as the Holy Spirit, and earthen vessels can not be interpreted as people. Then you will have some Biblical foundation to resist interpreting the wedding at Cana in the way it is in the OP.
Until then we’ll go with the Biblical material that has been presented that does allow the wedding at Cana to be interpreted per the OP. I think that’s only reasonable. I think it entirely unreasonable to say one can not interpret those things that way when in fact the Bible itself sets the precedent to interpret them that way. This has nothing to do with Jethro’s creative invention. It doesn’t come from me. It comes from the Bible itself. I proved that in post #119 which you are free to discuss (not debate) using the Bible per the guidelines of this particular forum. I’m interested in what you say is in the Bible that makes it so water can not be interpreted as the word, and so forth.
So tell us, what Bible material do you have to show that water can not be interpreted as the word, wine can not be interpreted as the Holy Spirit, and jars of clay can not be interpreted as people? And then, tell us Biblically, what to do with the examples in the Bible of the word of God going into a person and it becoming the Holy Spirit in that person?[42]

Oz:[43]

Since my reply was edited, a moderator claiming I was ‘trolling’, I do not have my exact words of reply. However, this is approximately what I wrote: Since it is a Bible study forum, I have shown you over and over that nowhere in the text of John 2:1-11 is it ever stated that water = the word and wine = the Spirit. That is foreign language you have inserted in the text. It is not a ‘fact the Bible itself sets the precedent to interpret them that way’. That water, wine, word, Spirit interpretation is an invention of Jethro.

I have repeated this over and over to you but I’ll not hold my breath waiting for you to see that you have added to the text. If you come back with a repeat of what you’ve already said, I’ll not respond.

2.4   What are the dangers of allegorical interpretation of the Bible?

Bernard Ramm has already hinted at one of them:

1. If the secret meaning was not stated by or hinted at by the original writer, then the allegorical is on ‘uncertain grounds’ of interpretation (Ramm 1970:24). I would go beyond that to state that the interpretation is irresponsible and should not be accepted.

2. It is an imposition of meaning on the text that is creatively invented by the reader. Therefore, it promotes eisegesis when exegesis is needed to obtain the meaning directly from the text. Reading into the text meaning that is not there is a travesty of hermeneutics that no responsible interpreter should support.

3. It sounds remarkably like a contemporary postmodern, reader-response interpretation. By reader-response, I mean that ‘all reading is ideological and guided by certain interests…. The text, with no aims nor interests of its own, is at the mercy of the reader. With only slight exaggeration, Mark Taylor characterizes interpretation as “a hostile act in which interpreter victimizes text”’ (Vanhoozer 1998:28).[44]

Scholar of the Jesus Seminar, John Dominic Crossan’s plays reader-response with the text when he says of Christ’s conception:

My position as an historian trying to be ethical and a Christian trying to be faithful is this: I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus (Crossan 1998:29).

4. One of the fundamental principles in our quest for knowledge is the subject-object distinction. By this I mean that the subject is the thing or person who is the observer. The object is the thing or person observed. There needs to be a distinction between these for objective knowledge to be obtained. So knowledge of any object is independent of the subjective if ‘objective knowledge’ is to be acquired.

So, Norman Geisler makes this pointed statement about how to obtain objective meaning from any text:

The objective meaning of a text is the one given to it by the author, not the one attributed to it by the reader. Readers should ask what was meant by the author, not what it means to the reader. Once a reader discovers what the author meant by the text, he has obtained its objective meaning. Thus, asking, “What does it mean to me?” is the wrong question, and it will almost certainly lead to a subjective interpretation. Asking of the author, “What did he mean?” will almost certainly lead the reader in the right direction, that is, toward the objective meaning (Geisler 2002:173).

What allegorical interpretation does not do is separate the subject and object so that objective knowledge can be obtained about any text. Suppose I refuse to separate the subject and object in this story that appears in Queensland Country Life (June 28, 2016):

Cattle station announces plans for a yacht club in the outback

With the announcement last week that the Longreach community is to host an Outback Yacht Club, many could be forgiven for thinking that seeing their dams filled for the first time in years has made the locals a little over-excited.

If you were to have driven over the bank of a turkey’s nest at Camden Park, east of Longreach, last Thursday evening and spotted some red sails in the sunset belonging to a tiny boat hitched to the bore water outlet, you might be forgiven for thinking it was a mirage.

It was all fair dinkum though and all in aid of building bridges between city and country, according to “commodore” James Walker, who conceived the idea along with his brother Dan and some urban mates in the depths of last year’s drought (Cripps 2016).

If I meld the subject and object in this story and introduce allegorical interpretation or reader-response ideology, I can arrive at this understanding: The parched lives of unbelievers who lack the living water was ended with the living water of the Gospel coming to the spiritually dry people of outback Queensland, especially Longreach. This town is a symbol of the lengths to which God goes to reach people and the Yacht Club is a reminder of Jesus’ desire to turn water into the wine of his Holy Spirit. Drought becomes life when God is involved.

That inventive, spiritual, ‘deeper meaning’ of the Country Life story is an example of creative nonsense that is associate with imposing the reader’s reader-response understanding on the text (my creation). This is parallel to allegorical interpretation. It destroys the objective interpretation of the text.

Therefore, Geisler hit the target with his pursuit of objective meaning: ‘Look for meaning in the text, not beyond it’. He explains:

The meaning is not found beyond the text (in God’s mind), beneath the text (in the mystic’s mind), or behind the text (in the author’s unexpressed intention); it is found in the text (in the author’s expressed meaning). For instance, the beauty of a sculpture is not found behind, beneath, or beyond the sculpture. Rather, it is expressed in the sculpture.

All textual meaning is in the text. The sentences (in the context of their paragraphs in the context of the whole piece of literature) are the formal cause of meaning. They are the form that gives meaning to all the parts (words, punctuation, etc.)….

Look for Meaning in Affirmation, Not Implication

Another guideline in discovering the objective meaning of a text is to look for its affirmation, not its implication. Ask what the [text] affirms (or denies), not what it implies. This is not to say that implications are not possible or important, but only that the basic meaning is not found there. Meaning is what the text affirms, not in how it can be applied.

There is only one meaning in a text, but there are many implications and applications. In terms of meaning the sensus unum (one sense) view is correct; however, there is a sensus plenum (full sense) in terms of implication (Geisler 2002:174, 175, emphasis in original).

5. Another dangerous aspect of allegorical interpretation is that it sounds so spiritual. The language used comes from other portions of Scripture, mingled with aspects of the wedding at Cana. What could be so dangerous in allegorising when it sounds so harmless?

The peril is in seducing the reader into believing this is the objective meaning of the text when it is not. It is a deceitful way of spiritualising Scripture with the intent of getting a supposed ‘deeper understanding’, but it is a fabricated meaning that comes out of the mind of the reader or interpreter.

3.  Which is a better method of interpretation?

Surely this encounter with a couple people on a Christian Forum should provide evidence to refute allegorical interpretation. Pursue principles of objective biblical interpretation that acknowledge the subject-object distinction.

Also see my articles:

clip_image012 What is literal interpretation?

clip_image012[1] What is the meaning of the literal interpretation of the Bible?

clip_image012[2] Is the Bible to be interpreted as literal or metaphorical?

clip_image012[3] Dangerous church trend: Subjective spiritual knowledge

4.  Conclusion

Two people in this Christian Forum thread cannot see the damage they are doing through allegorising the Wedding at Cana. Both inserted their own, idiosyncratic ‘spiritual deeper meaning’ into the narrative text. This means they invented content what was not in the Wedding at Cana narrative in John 2:1-11. No matter how one wraps the package, the end result is that allegorical interpretation is destructive to the meaning by an author of any text because it adds to the text, reads into it content that is not there, and thus engages in eisegesis.

It is a parallel perspective to that being promoted by postmodern reader-response advocates such as John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar.

The need was demonstrated for an interpretation methodology that is objective and maintains the subject-object distinction.

What caused the divorce following the wedding at Cana? It was a divorce between the literal words of Scripture and a subjective, spiritualised, allegorical interpretation. When the subject-object relationship in interpretation is lost, a divorce is inevitable. It is a divorce that sends the subject (the reader) into the arms of another ‘lover’ – a lover of spiritual, deeper meaning that is divorced from the literal interpretation.

Works consulted

Brisbane Times 2016. Koala in pain for hours after dog attack (online), June 28. Available at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/koala-in-pain-for-hours-after-dog-attack-20160628-gptg4b.html (Accessed 28 June 2016).

Cripps, S 2016. Cattle station announces plans for a yacht club in the outback. Queensland Country Life (online), June 28. Available at: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/3995190/red-sails-in-the-sunset-at-longreach/?src=rss (Accessed 28 June 2016).

Crossan, J D 1998. The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus. New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco.

Geisler, N 2002. Systematic Theology, vol. 1. Minneapolis, Minnesota: BethanyHouse.

Mickelsen, A B 1963. Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Ramm, B 1970. Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics, 3rd rev ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

Terry, M S n d (first reprint 1974). Biblical Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Vanhoozer, K J 1998. Is There a Meaning in This Text? Leicester, England: Apollos (an imprint of Inter-Varsity Press).

Notes


[1] FGH is an abbreviation for a poster by the name of for_his_glory. I think the person is a female.

[2] Christian Forums.net, ‘Wedding in Cana’, now a dead thread that has been closed. for_his_glory#1. Available at: http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/the-wedding-in-cana.64985/ (Accessed 21 June 2016).

[3] Oz is an abbreviation for my posts as OzSpen.

[4] This is my response, OzSpen#75, 21 June 2016.

[5] Ibid., for_his_glory#62.

[6] Ibid., OzSpen#78.

[7] In Bible Study Tools 2014, ‘The rise of allegorical interpretation’. Available at: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/introduction/the-rise-of-allegorical-interpretation.html (Accessed 28 June 2016).

[8] ‘Wedding in Cana’ loc cit., for_his_glory#80.

[9] Ibid., wondering#81.

[10] Ibid., for_his_glory#82.

[11] Ibid., Wondering#83.

[12] Ibid., OzSpen#102.

[13] Ibid., for_his_glory#109.

[14] Ibid., OzSpen#112.

[15] Ibid., for_his_glory#84.

[16] Ibid., for_his_glory#86.

[17] Ibid., OzSpen#91.

[18] Ibid., for_his_glory#94.

[19] Ibid., OzSpen#96.

[20] Ibid., for_his_glory#99.

[21] Ibid., OzSpen#101.

[22] Ibid., for_his_glory#108.

[23] Ibid., reba#109, reba#110.

[24] Ibid., for_his_glory#111.

[25] Ibid., OzSpen#112.

[26] Ibid., for_his_glory#113.

[27] Ibid., OzSpen#120.

[28] Jethro is a shortened form of the poster, Jethro Bodine.

[29] Wedding at Cana, op cit., Jethro Bodine#76.

[30] Ibid., OzSpen#79.

[31] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#95.

[32] Ibid., OzSpen#97.

[33] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#98.

[34] Ibid., OzSpen#100.

[35] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#104.

[36] Ibid., OzSpen#105.

[37] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#108.

[38] Ibid., OzSpen#112.

[39] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#119.

[40] Ibid.., Jethro Bodine#122.

[41] Ibid., OzSpen#125.

[42] Ibid., Jethro Bodine#126.

[43] My reply, ibid., OzSpen#128, was edited by reba and then the thread was closed

[44] Vanhoozer (1998) provides a superb critique of postmodern hermeneutics.

 

Copyright © 2016 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 28 June 2016