“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
There is a popular idea that the five stones David picked to fight Goliath represent the letters J-E-S-U-S. Some people have built entire messages on this, saying things like the letter five is the number of grace and so on. But the word, Y-E-S-H-U-A which is Hebrew for Jesus is six letters. If the power was in the letters, would Jesus still be potent as Yeshua? Don’t forget that it was only one stone that killed Goliath eventually.
We hear allegorical methods of bible interpretations every day. This above, is one of such examples. The point is, many Christians tend to see everything in the bible as a symbol of something deeper. However, the right approach is this: “When the plain and obvious sense of Scripture makes common sense we are to seek no other sense.”
Texts are to be taken literally except, upon applying systematic guidelines, we find them to be figurative. One of such guidelines is to see texts as figurative when you are told to. There are several instances where we are clearly told to apply allegorical method of interpretation. For instance, we are told that the two children of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael were an allegory of the two covenants (Galatians 4:22-25). We are told that the Sabbath of the Old Testament pre-figured the rest that the redemptive work of Christ brings (Colossians 2: 16-17). You see, we need not be ingenuous. There are already clear, true and good allegorical examples to use if we study properly.
Another guideline is to see a text as figurative when it is obviously figurative. For example, when the Lord Jesus said: “I am the door…” (John 10:9), he couldn’t have meant that He is wooden now could he? The key word there is ‘access.’ Paul says this refers to Jews and Gentiles: “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18). Don’t start a sermon on upholstery! Door means ‘access.’
Apply these lessons as you study the bible today.