16. What does the term “analogy of faith mean?
The “analogy of faith” is a reformed hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the bible teach. In other words, the “faith,” or body of doctrine, which the scriptures as a whole proclaim will not be contradicted in any way by any passage. Therefore, if two or three different interpretations of a verse are equally possible, any interpretation that contradicts the clear teaching of any other scriptures must be ruled out from the beginning.
Another related principle, that is very helpful in interpreting prophecy and apocalyptic literature in particular, is that the clear must interpret the unclear. In other words, a very specific interpretation of the highly symbolic visions of John's apocalypse, for example, may never “trump” the clear teachings of Paul's epistles, which are more didactic and less symbolic, and hence more clear.
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