Archive for the ‘Hermeneutics’ Category

It is important to obtain a right understanding of the parabolical representation itself, since it supplies the basis of the spiritual instruction

Arthur Pink Fourth, it is important to obtain a right understanding of the parabolical representation itself, since it supplies the basis of the spiritual instruction. Unless we understand the natural allusion, we cannot give a satisfactory exposition of the language in which it is set forth. Care has also to be taken that we do not extend the representation beyond the bounds in which it was intended to move. That representation becomes obvious when we concentrate upon the leading idea of the parable and allow its details to make that more distinct. A parable must not be broken into parts but looked at as a whole, though let it not be forgotten that every detail contributes to its central truth, there being no mere verbiage. Usually the context makes clear what is its purpose and purport. Thus the parable of the king taking account of his servants (Matthew 18:23) was in reply to Peter’s inquiry in verse 21; that of the rich fool in Luke 12 was occasioned by a spirit of covetousness on the part of one who desired to obtain a part of his brother’s inheritance. Those in Luke 15 grew out of what is related in its opening verses. Parables bear upon the more fundamental aspects of duty and deportment rather than on the minute details of either.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures


We must seek to determine Christ’s principal aim of the chief moral lesson which He intended to enforce in each parable

Arthur PinkThird, it is equally apparent that we must seek to determine Christ’s principal aim of the chief moral lesson which He intended to enforce in each one: yet that obvious duty is much neglected. Only too often parables are treated as though their design was left open to conjecture and their lessons to uncertain inference. Such an impious idea and loose way of handling them is clearly refuted by those which Christ Himself explained to His disciples. Thus we are not left entirely to our own resources, for those interpreted by the Lord are to be regarded as specimens—each setting forth some distinct truth, every detail possessing a significance.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Parables are subordinate to direct teaching

December 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkSecond, parables are subordinate to direct teaching; being designed not for proof, but for illustration of a doctrine or duty. It is alway to be deplored when professing Christians are guilty of setting one part of the Scriptures against another, but when a parable is used to nullify some plain doctrine or commandment of God, absurdity is added to irreverence. Hence to appeal to Matthew 18:23 25, in proof that the God of all grace may revoke His forgiveness, or to deny man’s responsibility on the ground that “the lost piece of silver” of Luke 15 portrays the sinner by an inanimate object, is both foolish and profane.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The parable as an illustrative picture

December 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkFirst, the parable, as an illustrative picture, can only present its subject partially. No picture can give every aspect or exhibit every side of its object, any more than an architect’s “ground plan” of a building shows its second and third stories, far less depict it as when completed—though it might suggest something of them. So a parable sketches for us only certain aspects of the subject. Hence we find them in groups: all in a group representing the same subject, but each one setting forth a distinct feature of the same—as in those of Matthew 13, dealing with the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” Hence, too, those of Luke 15 show us not only grace receiving sinners; but seeking, finding, clothing, feasting them.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Parables are virtually word pictures

December 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkThe children’s definition that “a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning” expresses the general idea. It is a form of teaching whereby spiritual things are represented under sensible images. Parables are virtually word pictures, bearing somewhat the same relation to the instruction of those to whom they are addressed as do the pictorial illustrations used in books to elucidate for the reader the printed page. From the relation to the truth presented or lesson enforced can be gathered certain important but simple and obvious principles, which need to be borne in mind in the study of our Lord’s parables.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Exposition of the Parables: More erroneous teaching has been given out through misapprehending the force of some of their details than is the case with anything else in the Word

Arthur Pink17. Exposition of the parables. This is another branch of our subject to which at least one whole chapter should be devoted, but the danger of overtaxing the patience of some of our readers renders it inadvisable. Because of the great simplicity of their nature and language, it is commonly supposed that the parables are more easily understood than any other form of scriptural instruction, when the fact is that probably more erroneous teaching has been given out through misapprehending the force of some of their details than is the case with anything else in the Word. Great care needs to be taken with them: especially is it important to ascertain and then keep in mind the scope or leading design of each one. But instead of so doing, only too often they are approached solely for the purpose of finding apparent support for some particular doctrine or idea which the preacher desires to prove. And in consequence, not a little in them has been wrested from its original purport, and made to signify what is flatly contradicted by other passages. Here, too, the Analogy of Faith must be held steadily in view, and our interpretation of each parable made to square therewith.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The elucidation of the types

November 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Arthur Pink16. The elucidation of the types. No treatise on hermeneutics would be complete if it ignored this important and interesting department of exposition. Yet such a vast field pertains thereto that it is impossible to do it justice in a few sentences. The New Testament plainly teaches that there is not a little in the Old which anticipated and adumbrated things to come. From earliest times it pleased God to prepare the way for the grand word of redemption by a series of parabolical representations, and the business of the interpreter is to explain the same in the light of the fuller revelation which God has vouchsafed since then. Types belong to that sphere which concerns the relation of God’s earlier and later dispensations, and therefore a type may be defined as a model or sign of another object or event which it depicted beforehand, shadowing forth something which should later correspond to and provide the reality of the same. But the question arises, How are we to avoid the erroneous and the extravagant in our selection and unfolding of the types? Space will only allow us to offer the following hints and rules.

First, there must be a genuine resemblance in form or spirit between any person, act or institution under the Old Testament and what answers to it in the Gospel.

Second, a real type must be something which had its ordination from God, being meant by Him to foreshadow and prepare the way for the better things under Christ. Thus the resemblance between the shadow and the substance must be real and not fancied, and designed as such in the original institution of the former. It is that previous intention and pre-ordained connection between them which constitutes the relation of type and antitype.

Third, in tracing out the connection between the one and the other, we have to inquire, What was the native import of the original symbol? What did it symbolize as a part of the then existing religion? And then the expositor is to proceed and show how it was fitted to serve as a guide and stepping-stone to the blessed events and issues of Messiah’s kingdom. For example, by means of the tabernacle and its services God manifested toward His people precisely the same principles of government, and required from them substantially the identical disposition and character, that He does now under the higher dispensation of Christianity.

Fourth, due regard must be had to the essential difference between the actual natures of the type and the antitype: the one being material, temporary and external; the other spiritual, eternal and often internal.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures