Interpretation of the bible is very important for the Christian world. Also, interpretation of the apocalyptic literature is important for the Christian world. Totally for interpretation, we need to read the Bible clearly; it is more impacting to us, so we can draw out more information for personal and others through edification and teaching.
We need to use the proper rules for interpretation. We need to use word meanings, context, syntax, and grammar. When we give the right interpretation of apocalyptic books it will be helpful to the people to get more knowledge about it.
Because it gives courage and hopes to people in trouble. The context and form of apocalyptic literature’s misunderstanding can bring many misinterpretations.
So, giving the right interpretation of apocalyptic with context and background will be acceptable and understandable for people. Here we try to explain the interpretation of the apocalyptic briefly.
There are Some Methods of Interpretation of Apocalyptic Literature. Apocalyptic literature has been studied for centuries; and many of those who utilize a systematic method of interpretation falls into one of several dominant groups:
1. Genre apocalypse
This method seeks to determine the literal meaning of the images in apocalyptic literature through the comparison of a text with all other texts of the Genre.
Such a method ignores the historical, prophetical, and idealist methodologies, and becomes bogged down in the determination of what literature to include in the comparison.
Most students of the Bible would agree that correct biblical interpretation is attainable when one is able to ascertain the content of the message intended by the authors.
2. Historical method
Historicists hold that the events described in the text are directly related to world events that can range from the time of the writer to the end of the age.
Those who hold to the historical method must work to equate the images and symbols in apocalyptic literature to specific world events.
3. Preterit method
This method presupposes that all of the events that are recorded in the text took place within the period of time that is contemporary to the writer.
Preterits’ method of interpreting the Revelation of John places all of the events in the first century as it symbolically chronicles the conflict between the church and Rome.
Preterits deny any content of prophesy in the text, assuming that any eschatology it contains has already been realized.
4. Idealist method
The idealist does no longer tie the activities of apocalyptic literature to either historical or future events, but as an alternative to spiritual truths.
The text is not about swords and dragons, but about God’s word and Satan, it is not about train bows and green fields, but about God’s promises and His mercy.
The idealist searches for the religious meaning that the author intends upon conveying within the symbolism.
5. Prophetic method
This method presupposes that all of the recorded events in the text have yet to take place. The symbolism and imagery that is used maybe interpreted as literal or symbolic, or combination of both.
It may also argue that the symbolism is an attempt by the author to describe images and events that cannot be described in known vocabulary.
Some guidelines of Interpretation of Apocalyptic Literature
As an example of interpretation methodology; let’s examine some passages from the Revelation of John. While reading John’s Apocalypse we should keep in mind that,
- (1) It was written to Christians who had been undergoing long-term persecution (at least two-generations) with no hope for change.
- (2) This was written to give the author’s readers encouragement and purpose during that difficult time.
- (3) It uses symbolism (containing a lot of common idioms and metaphors) to describe the attributes of the person/place/thing being described rather than simply naming the person/place/thing described.
Some of the point becomes important as we look at the text. As we encounters images, think about what the symbolism might mean as applied to attributes of that which is described.
We have to try to avoid attaching the symbols directly to the description. This is what makes the Revelation more of a challenge to read. We are not that familiar with how ancient Christians understood many of these symbols, though many are obvious.
We often left with the context of symbolic usage to formulate an explanation. Not all symbolism is lost to us. For example, numerology is used extensively in Revelation to describe attributes.
When numbers encountered, try to ascertain the symbolism that was used for these numbers in their time. Some common applications of numerology include.
Conclusion (Apocalyptic Literature)
When we use the method and guidelines for interpretation that will bring out good interpretation. It will avoid the misinterpretation of the bible.
Particularly, it will be helpful for interpretation of the apocalyptic literature. So as a minister of God, we have to be aware in this matter.
Through right interpretation people will get proper knowledge about this book and they will get good hope in their painful life.