Dispensational Approach to Interpreting the Bible


DispensationalismWhen one allows God himself to interpret the meaning of his prophecies through later revelation, it becomes impossible to employ a naturalistic, Dispensational hermeneutic. Dispensationalists claim to have a literal hermeneutic, taking prophecies in a simple, material sense unless the immediate context demands otherwise. The problem with this approach is that it arrives at interpretations which are later contradicted by the New Testament. In opposition to this principle, Covenant Theologians recognize the validity of “the analogy of faith,” that is, that the best interpreter of scriptures is other scriptures. The hermeneutic which allows the Author to foreshadow spiritual realities through physical means, and later interpret them in clear, didactic writing, is actually a more natural and literal hermeneutic than one which demands a physical/material sense unless an immediate absurdity arises thereby, even when other scriptures contradict this physical/material sense. The basic question is this: will our hermeneutic allow God to explain himself, or will it allow our own human understanding of what is more literal to negate the interpretation of God himself?

by Nathan Pitchford, Source

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  • Brian Jonson

    Dispensationalism has morphed very much over the decades. There is a big difference between the Clarence Larkin dispensational nonsense and the type many evangelicals hold dear today. For me, it is fundamentally the understanding that Israel is not the church and vice versa. Salvation is the same for all, by grace through faith, but unconditional promises to the children of Abraham must still be fulfilled as promised.

  • Ross Purdy

    The dispensationalist would agree that Scripture interprets Scripture. They object when that becomes a license for human flights of fancy rather than interpretation. The dispensationalist is confident that when God says something, He actually means it. When men come along and start redefining the Words God chose to use, you will have to excuse them for retaining their original meaning. The dispensationalist also wants to know what the original context means before we start dumping all kinds of applications on it. The real meaning of Scripture can quickly be lost in the chaos of subjectivity. Hermeneutics should be done in an orderly fashion. Not that the layman dispensationalist has not made errors but then dispensationalism is really a work in process…reformed and continuously reforming is good if it happens. But honestly, the inane desire to hold to some kind of claim of orthodoxy is holding Covenant Theology to the RC door stoop.