Dialogue For and Against the Allegorical Method of Biblical Understanding

The following is derived from a series of recent communications between a representative adherent to the Literal-Grammatical-Historical hermeneutic and this representative of the Allegorical hermeneutic, which has has been elaborated and illustrated on the https://bereansearching.com website.

It is hoped that it will be enlightening and edifying to all who are interested in both 1) Biblical Hermeneutics and 2) the basis for their variances, which are also discussed further here in this post.

Interlocutor  (representing the Literal-Grammatical-Historical Biblical Interpretation Viewpoint)

In https://bereansearching.com/2009/09/19/the-battle-of-armageddon-the-earthly-version-already-happened/, I can certainly see how Barak foreshadows Christ, and the victory over Sisera anticipates Christ’s ultimate victory over the devil and all his works. I appreciate any approach to Scripture that sees Christ as the central theme. Also, the article contains several valuable word studies. Where we differ is the allegorization of every detail of the Old Testament stories and the symbolic interpretation of Revelation. 

The Bereansearching website is devoted to an allegorical/typological interpretation of Scripture, which will disagree with (or at least find wanting) any studies derived using the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic.  Given the website’s commitment to a different hermeneutic, we do not need to spend more time evaluating the expositions.

BereanSearching.Com (making the case for the Allegorical Method of Biblical Interpretation)

I very much appreciate your taking the time to read the entire study of Judges 4&5.

I would only ask that if the word studies were valuable, that you please consider them for future reference going forward.

I am deeply sorry that there is no further interest in the other studies, such as Esther and Jonah, as I believe that there are insights of significant value there as well.

The section in the Judges 4&5, which shows how it could be proven from scripture, using the Allegorical hermeneutic, that “Abinoam” unequivocally represents “God The Father”, which has never been published anywhere on earth previously to my knowledge. And that is why I offered it for your review and critique.

If it can be shown that anything in the study is in error, then please tell me how it is in error?  If it is correct, then how is it that the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic cannot provide the same derivation?  Do the studies glorify God? or do they cause anyone to stumble?  

This is eternally serious business, and I only want to bring to light the full Truth of the scriptures that point to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.


That’s the problem with an allegorical hermeneutic, there is no way to point out an error. Allegorical interpretation is inherently subjective. When anything can refer to virtually anything, how could anything be proven to be incorrect unless it is explicitly incorrect?


Regarding the point you just raised, “There is no way to point out an error. Allegorical interpretation is inherently subjective. When anything can refer to virtually anything, how could anything be proven to be incorrect unless it is explicitly incorrect?

The allegorical method is only “subjective” if the interpreter derives a Biblically unsupportable claim from scripture, then yes, “anything” in the Bible “can refer to virtually anything” that the interpreter wants it to mean…but then that sin is entirely upon that person’s head for having derived it out of his or her’s own intellect and biases. The Bible is its own interpreter and any interpretation must be entirely supportable by the Bible alone, by itself, and not derived from any human’s carnal intellect or bias.

1 Corinthians 2:13 makes clear, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. We are to compare Holy Spirit inspired Scripture with Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.

To claim that there is nothing more to scripture than that which is found only on the surface sets human limits upon The Almighty Sovereign God, and such a claim brings God down to humankind’s level. That is man’s wisdom.

The presumption would seem to be that God never crafts history into historical parables that point to God the Father’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, but are merely texts with surficial meanings as they appear only in the literal typeface, nothing more.  Without realizing it, those who make such claims undercut, and belie, Jesus’s own exposition of Old Testament Scriptures as we find in the account on the Road to Emmaus.  (Luke 24:27, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.) Please see the study on The-Road-To-Emmaus/

The expositional Bible Studies provided on the https://bereansearching.com website, such as that provided in Jonah, Esther, Ruth, Judges 4 & 5 are all self-validating using the Bible alone as the ONLY cross-reference. The studies are consistent and academically reproducible, if one only trusts that God Is The Author, and that the consistent theme is to glorify God by pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that the expositions found there are objective and irrefutable, as they were derived solely by searching out and comparing scripture with scripture (spiritual things with spiritual). Please search them out yourself, as a Berean, to see if this is a valid claim or not. Remember what Jesus said in John 5:39, where He was admonishing the Jews said, “Search the scriptures (only the Old Testament in that day); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”(The “me” being Jesus Christ Himself!).

IF at all possible, I would humbly ask that you not give up on me, and please do take the time to review some other of the expositions and any errors that you might find i will address immediately and correct if necessary.

“Come let us reason together.”


I am truly interested in your response to this. How am I, or anyone else, to judge an allegorical interpretation of Deborah and Barak? How could I disprove that “this person represents this person, this person represents this other person, this event points to this other event, this event actually is talking about this”? None of that can be proven or disproven. Is it possible? Yes. Can it ever be conclusively demonstrated that it was God’s intent for the passage? No. You say the grammatical-historical-literal interpretation method limits God. I disagree. There are examples of God explicitly using allegory in Scripture (see Galatians 4:21-31). If God desires us to understand His Word, wouldn’t He inspire the authors of Scripture to write in a way that could be easily understood? In this conversation, are you not interpreting my words in a way that they would normally be understood? Following the “rules” of communication is essential to understanding what a person is saying. Could there be “hidden” and/or allegorical meaning in Scripture? Yes. But does that mean we should abandon the rules of language and ignore what the text actually says? Absolutely not.


I am truly grateful for the opportunity to answer your questions.

The historical events and accounts in the Bible are indeed real, literal, and historical events that really happened as recorded in the Bible. So in that respect, the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic is therefore valid so far as it goes. However, the Bible makes clear that those events were both carefully crafted by God, and recorded by God by His Holy Spirit, to convey spiritual truths that are otherwise hidden if one casually reads the Bible at only a surficial level…stopping at the “plain sense” as some have said. 

I sincerely believe that those who hold to the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic are self-blinding to the deeper spiritual information that God has hidden in the scriptures. To say that those deeper spiritual things are not there is the same as saying that God did not put that information there, and that they are therefore only figments of the mind of the interpreter (in this case, me).

1) So then, to answer your first question regarding whether it is possible to prove or disprove.  I addressed this in the Judges 4&5 account.  In discussing the allegorical “Types” provided by both Barak and his father Abinoam, I provided a proof.  As I have said before, it used scripture with scripture to validate the “Types”.  And yes they are valid, as they are supported by the entire Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Please take a look at the Abinoam “Type” derivation.

Also please take a look at the “Types” in Esther, as they are all based solely on Biblical scripture as the only cross-reference.

The Road to Emmaus exposition is helpful with this as well: https://bereansearching.com/2022/09/26/the-road-to-emmaus/. Jesus expounded out of Moses and all the prophets and the Psalms and all the scriptures concerning Himself.  What was Jesus talking about?  My studies seek to show how God is Glorified through the searching of the scriptures to see Jesus. John 5:39.

2) In answer to your second question, “If God desires us to understand His Word, wouldn’t He inspire the authors of Scripture to write in a way that could be easily understood? In this conversation, are you not interpreting my words in a way that they would normally be understood? “

My short answer is no, God does not use the same rules of language that we use in our normal daily lives.  The Word of God is “alive” and reads the reader  Hebrews 4:12.  No human rules of language can account for that.  And why would Jesus speak in parables/riddles if what He was saying was meant to be readily understood by everyone?  It is because Jesus never intended to save everyone. Mark 4:12

I provide the more complete explanation on why God hides information in the Bible in Chapters 4, 5, &6 in https://bereansearching.com/2023/02/11/exalting-the-person-and-work-of-the-lord-jesus-christ-the-key-of-knowledge-for-unlocking-the-mystery-of-the-bible/

I also speak to the need for the Holy Spirit to provide the insights in this exposition: https://bereansearching.com/2021/12/29/the-hearing-ear-and-the-seeing-eye/

Finally, I also point out in Chapter 2 in the “key of knowledge” post:

“In Proverbs 25:2 (KJV) we find this extraordinary verse, “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.” If we look carefully at the text as it reads in the original Hebrew using an Interlinear Bible or Online cross-reference like this: http://biblehub.com/text/proverbs/25-2.htm, we find that it can also read like this…”[It is] the glory of God to conceal a word” (because it is from the Hebrew דָּבָר (dāḇār)H1697, a masculine noun): but the honour of kings[is] to search out a “word” (because the word that was translated into English as “matter” is also the same word found in the original Hebrew to be דָּבָר (dāḇār) H1697, which is translated more than eight hundred times in the Old Testament as “word.”)*.  It appears, therefore, that God is telling us that He is glorified by the concealing of The Word (Jesus Christ) in the Bible, and the believers are “honored” by being made able to search out The Word (Who is Jesus Christ) when reading the Bible.”

The Word of God is not surficial for the Believer.  We are effectively told by God to search for wisdom (via the scriptures) like “hid treasures”.  I pray to God before reading the Bible just what the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:18

What I have shared with you and the world via the internet are the “hid treasures” that God has allowed me to find. The purpose for doing this is spelled out carefully in  https://bereansearching.com/2023/02/11/searching-the-bible-to-come-to-jesus-christ-the-way-the-truth-and-the-life/

Nonetheless, ultimately, regardless of how well (or not) those discoveries are presented and published, it is only God, and God Alone, Who must open the eyes of the reader, and give them a heart to understand and accept.  I just pray that God will bless the work.

That’s it.  I am open to any and all questions and comments that you might have, and it is my sincere prayer that you might be blessed through the reading of the studies.

Thank you again, and please let’s continue our reasoning together if at all possible.


Can you appreciate the fact that we are not comfortable trying to find allegories behind passages that clearly have a normal meaning on their own? If Scripture, in the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic gives us so much we can learn and apply to our lives, why do we need to seek an allegorical interpretation? And, if it is as you said, that all allegories must be backed by other Scriptures, why do we even need the allegories if we have the other Scriptures? And, don’t you find it strange that we must verify the accuracy of allegories by comparing them with passages that are interpreted with a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic?


I appreciate all your efforts to continue our dialogue.

I have sincerely tried to answer all of your questions to the absolute best of my ability, with in depth answers and cross references, and I hope that my responses along with the following will be helpful to you.

Regarding your questions:

1) Can you appreciate the fact that we are not comfortable trying to find allegories behind passages that clearly have a normal meaning on their own?

Yes, I can appreciate the fact that you are not comfortable identifying allegories that are not clear on the surface.

But, isn’t it interesting that the very allegory that you point out in Galatians chapter 4 wherein God (through the Apostle Paul) described the revelation of the two covenants, namely, that of the works of the flesh (man) and the works of Heavenly grace (God). There is no other place in Scripture, where these two theological principles of the doctrine of works, over and against the doctrine of grace, are explained, except through the use of allegory.  No one, not the Pharisees of the Old Testament, or even the Jews today, could use the historical/grammatical hermeneutic to go back to the Ishmael and Isaac account and see any of that allegory or its meaning (or “prove” it)…and yet it is entirely true. 

2)  If Scripture, in the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic gives us so much we can learn and apply to our lives, why do we need to seek an allegorical interpretation?

The use of allegory is a God ordained principle used over and over.  e.g., God is the Potter, we are the clay or “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman“., etc.  None of Jesus’s parables were “plain” to those who heard them, that is why the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables (hence, in a veiled manner).  Matthew 13:10&11 “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”

And we know from Matthew 13:34,

“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”    And BTW, this refers back to Psalm 78:2 “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:” But immediately following that verse, all that is provided are “historical” accounts.  So where is the parable?  Where are the dark sayings? The literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic has no answer. 

The understanding of the hidden meanings woven in the Scripture is for the edification of the true saints, and not in any way for modifying or contradicting the basic message. 

3) And, if it is as you said, that all allegories must be backed by other Scriptures, why do we even need the allegories if we have the other Scriptures? I explained that if someone claims that there is allegory in a particular passage of scripture, then they must validate it entirely with scripture alone, because we are told in 1Corinthians 2:13 that we must compare “spiritual things with spiritual” which for us is “scriptural with scriptural”… “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

4) And, don’t you find it strange that we must verify the accuracy of allegories by comparing them with passages that are interpreted with a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic?

I’m not entirely sure what you mean, but the scriptures that I used to show how Abinoam represents “God The Father” are not interpreted using the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic as the basis:

This is a portion of that proof:  Abinoam means “father (abi) of beauty (noam)”

Zechariah 11:10-13*, “And I took my staff, [even] Beauty (Noam), and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it [was] the word of the LORD.  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give [me] my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty [pieces] of silver.  And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” 

Note, specifically, that it was the “poor of the flock that waited on me” (the LORD)… it was the believers who knew that it was the Word of the LORD! The believers who wait upon God must “know” that it was Jesus who was cut asunder, and that the price paid by the chief priests was thirty pieces of silver, because Jesus is the Word made flesh as we read in John 1:14.”  The literal-grammatical-historical cannot provide any insights on this connection, and its adherents can only say that this is some kind of coincidence with no other validity whatsoever. If you are comfortable with saying that then so be it.

Now that I have answered your questions, I have to say the following.  

It is inconceivable to me how anyone could read the expositions such as that of Esther (and I mean read carefully it in its entirety) and not stand amazed and rejoice and praise God for His mastery over time and space in the crafting and recording of the historical account of an actual period in history, recorded and written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that has been incorporated into God’s Word the Bible for the edification and consolation of His people.  This is because it perfectly mirrors, harmonizes with, and validates all that we know about God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps just as significantly, the Book of Esther is also a book of Prophesy, because it culminates with a picture of Judgment Day at the end of creation and the eternity in Heaven that will follow for all who are counted among the people of Jesus… and the eternal death and destruction in hell for all those who are not.  

The Literal-Grammatical-Historical hermeneutic is entirely mute on this.

The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

I have come to realize that trying to explain God’s amazing use of allegory throughout the Biblical Scriptures, pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is much like trying to describe a rainbow’s colors and their vivid richness to someone who is colorblind.  

We can both see the shape of the bow, but no matter how hard a person tries to explain the different colors, the colorblind can only see shades of gray. 

The colorblind person is saying that he sees the rainbow, and so therefore what difference does it make if he cannot discern the colors? Moreover, perhaps what is even worse in this case is that the colorblind person is willfully colorblind and has no interest in seeing the colors!

And the rainbow is a particularly useful analogy, because it too is a Biblical allegory, as it is a physical creation of God, that is meant to serve as a memorial symbol of God’s Covenant of Grace that Glorifies God and Honors God though His Son, Jesus Christ…And make no mistake, because of that symbology, the likeness of the rainbow will be seen throughout all eternity in Heaven, as it will shine with all its colors around the throne and the head of The Lord Jesus Christ as we read in Revelation 4:3 and Revelation 10:1

Just as God Is The Only One Who can make it possible to physically see the colors of the rainbow, so too is it the same with spiritual eyes…exactly as it says in Proverbs 20:12.

God makes plain in Isaiah 55:8&9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We are told in 1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

I would hope that you will carefully ponder all of the points made, pray about them, and that you would take another careful look at the expositions on the Bereansearching blog and not harden your heart. 

I have humbly told you the truth of what God’s Word is and how I and others study it, and the amazing richness that it contains for the seeker. 

If you want to know more, then I am willing to show you, but, otherwise, there is no benefit in our going any further. 

The Reality

The reality is that there is only one true hermeneutic of the Scriptures, and this is because the Bible record consists of the historical context (true historical accounts, perfectly crafted and orchestrated by God), within which God has embedded and interwoven the full truth of the spiritual/gospel message which point to, and focus upon, the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ… Who is our ONLY means of salvation for our sins.  The Literal-Grammatical-Historical hermeneutic, which claims that the Bible is written plainly and is easily understandable, will only lead to confusion, stumbling, and wrong doctrines when it comes to understanding things like election, predestination, the role and means of water baptism, dispensations, and the end times, etc…as well not lead to the true meaning of the Books of Ruth, Esther, Judges 4&5, Jonah, Nahum, the Parables, etc., …and notably also the Book of Revelation (which is so relevant in our day). I say this not to ridicule, but rather to instruct. 

IF anyone really cares at all about knowing the Truth from the Bible, as God Himself ordained, I urge you to please read the expositions and prove for yourself once and for all who really has the true understanding.

But please do not take that to mean that the posts are a substitute for reading the Bible, as they are only a supplement to help with understanding.

Isaiah 34:16 admonishes us to, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”

The studies of the parables of the Sower and Talents are useful for new understanding as well.

As Jesus said, “Let him who has ears hear.

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?


Another way that the literal-grammatical-historical method of interpretation falls short is in the understanding of the numbers that God uses in the Bible. The Adherent to that method says simply, “Often a number in the Bible is simply a number. God does not call us to search for secret meanings, hidden messages, and codes in the Bible.” 

This can quickly be proven to be false, because such an Adherent cannot begin to fathom the meaning of the following two lessons involving two significant numbers when using the literal-grammatical-historical methodology. The meanings will be completely lost in such casual reading. And please also remember that numbers are the only language which is universally understood, in the sense that it does not matter what language you speak, the numbers still have the exact same meaning. Ten is 10, and nothing else, in every tongue on earth.

Lesson #1) The 153 fishes caught in the net by the apostles

In John 21:11 “¶Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.” Remember what Jesus said in Mark 1:17And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (see also Matthew 4:19). Therefore the fishes spiritually allegorically represent mankind. Jesus said so! So then what does the number 153 represent? No, it is NOT some random number indicating a lot.

God instructs us to search out the Word of God like hid treasure. The number 153 is very significant but it takes time to search out the otherwise hidden meaning. The Number 153 breaks down like this: 3 x 3 x 17. The number 3 represents the purpose of God (as in the Trinity) and the number 17 (a prime number that cannot be broken down further) represents Heaven in the Bible.

Moreover, the number 17 is also particularly highlighted by the number 153 in another VERY unique manner. If we add 1 +2 +3 +4 +5…..+17 we find that the sum equals 153! So then the spiritual meaning that God has crafted into this account is that the Apostles, led by Peter, would bring in the souls of men by Jesus’s Words into Heaven. It strongly reinforces what Jesus said in Mark 1:17 while also telling us that Heaven is the purpose for fishing among mankind.

Lesson #2) The 276 souls saved in the shipwreck with Paul onto the island of Melita

We also know that the promised land (typifying Heaven) was frequently described in the Bible as a place flowing with “milk and honey”H1706.  And it should be noted here that when Paul was shipwrecked, that the “certain island” that Paul prophesied about in Acts 27:26 was named Melita (now known as Malta) in Acts 28:1.  Melita means “Honey” and it was also used in this event to portray “Heaven”… to where all 276 souls on the ship were saved, even though the ship (representing the corporate church just before judgment day) was destroyed.  Some swam,”And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”  

The ship was destroyed yet every soul was saved. That is the plain and simple understanding, so there is no argument there. But why was the number 276? Is there some kind of hidden meaning as in the case of the 153 fish? Indeed so!

The number 276 breaks down like this 3 x 4 x 23. As indicated above the number 3 represents the purpose of God. The number 4 is universality (like the four points of the compass). The number 23 is another prime number than cannot be broken down further) and it represents the Final Tribulation, which occurs just before Judgment Day, when God’s wrath is poured out on the apostate church and the abomination of desolation takes over because God looses the devil as we read in Revelation 20:3&7.

And just as we learned above how the number 153 was unique, so too is the number 276 unique! This time the number 23 is highlighted in the same unique manner. If we add 1 +2 +3 +4 +5…..+23 we find that the sum equals 276! So then the spiritual meaning that God has crafted into this account is that the Jesus (represented by Paul as a “Type” of Christ) would bring into Heaven the souls of all the believers who were in the corporate body, but escape from the apostate church that God destroys in the Final Tribulation.

It strongly reinforces what Jesus said in Mark 1:17 while also telling us that Heaven is the purpose for fishing among mankind.

Conclusion Regarding the Meaning of Numbers

Both of these lessons show that numbers indeed do have important meanings, and sometimes they can have very unique meaning by which God can emphasize that meaning if He so desires. These two numbers were not included in the Bible by accident or happenstance. Moreover, these particular numbers were embedded within some extremely important historical and spiritual Biblical accounts. Each number highlighted a particular prime number that has an important spiritual meaning that conforms with the rest of each account, and which can be further verified to see how those prime numbers are consistently used in other portions of scripture to convey the same spiritual meanings.

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