The Danger of Treating Historical Narratives as Allegory

by Bob Picard, God’s Grace Bible Church

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. – Psalm 119:140

The trap
Allegorizing Scripture can, and many times is, indeed a dangerous thing.  This is because one tampers with the very much inspired words of the Lord.  One of the main reasons that we must look at this issue is the fact that there is a growing segment of people, unbelievers and believers, who are in the trap of “artificial allegorization.”

In today’s “seeker sensitive” church this indeed is one of the most common ploys used to ensnare people in a false sense of security (or in some cases insecurity), and ultimately, into blatant apostasy.  Tragically, many who were once Biblical literalists are now also stooping down to the level of applying texts in the same manner.

Real people, places and events

The most common thing to do is to take a descriptive Biblical text, and turn it into a prescriptive one, ultimately changing that historical narrative into a principle to follow, such as, David having five smooth stones for his sling.  What does this mean?  Many would say that there is a special attribute for each one.  One stone being a stone of anger, a stone of sorrow, etc.  This is completely wrong.  They were five literal stones.  One of which was imbedded into Goliath’s forehead.  There is no spiritual application for them.

Neither is Goliath a type of obstacle one must defeat (with the aforementioned spiritual stones, which I must sling).  Goliath was a genuine historical figure in Scripture.  He was a real 9 foot tall man, the champion of the Philistines!

The hero of the story is not the listener (or reader) of the sermon.  The hero of the story is David, another real historical figure, who defeated a REAL, honest to goodness GIANT!   So, the account is not about slaying the giant of debt, bad relationships, etc.

Also, you can pick any Biblical account, and use (I should say abuse) it in the same exact way, to the detriment of the reader, but mostly mocking the Lord, and His Word – and will.

What is your Jericho?
What obstacle is in your way?  The Red Sea, Jordan River, and tragically, the stone at the entrance of Jesus’ tomb!

These are all historical accounts, not a way to psycho-analyze your life, and make it better!

There is a spiritual application, however, in the story of David and Goliath.  The Old Testament, full of history, has interwoven throughout types of Christ.  If anything, the battle portrays Christ’s defeat of Satan!  God’s Champion, Jesus Christ defeated the greatest foe – Satan, at the Cross of Christ.  As David cut the giant’s head off, after killing him, Jesus made a spectacle of Satan at the Cross!

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. – Colossians 2:13-15

The way to get out of the trap

To the people out there that are under allegorical teachings, which prop you up, above the glory of God, you will be held accountable for what you believe, and how you act.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13

You need to be a Berean:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. – Acts 17:11

If you are a minister of the Gospel, or one that teaches the Bible, you need to remember that you will be accountable to God for the way you handle His Word.  The Bible was given so that we can learn about God, and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is such a wonderful thing.

We are not to learn about how important we are, but of the importance of Christ, His will, and His Word!

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. – James 3:1

The simple truth of the matter is that we MUST get back to the historical, literal, grammatical, interpretation of the Scriptures.  That is the bottom line!  Over and out, for now…



Updated: August 6, 2018 — 9:05 pm