Symbols in the Bible:
How Do You Know When a Word is Used Symbolically?
If a word or phrase you are reading makes sense as it is, and does not contradict a simple understanding of the Word of God, then it can be understood literally, not, symbolically. But if the word or phrase doesn’t seem to make common sense, then you should look into the possibility that it is a Symbolic word. Also if it is a prophecy (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Revelation, etc…) it can have a dual application, symbolic and literal.
- Most often Nouns. (Names of Objects like Animals, Tools, Places, and other things or objects.)
- but can also be Adjectives like a color.
- Sometimes a Phrase.
The Golden Rule: Let the Bible define itself.
Scripture must be its own expositor (translator, or definer) since it is the Standard of all doctrine, and it is how we discern all true doctrine. If I depend on a teacher to explain the Bible to me, because we think he is wise, and he guesses at its meaning, or if he explains it so that it fits his own religious beliefs, then you have taken his guessing, desire, belief, or wisdom as your rule, and standard, not the Bible.
How Do You Know When a Word is Used Figuratively or Symbolically?
Rule: If a verse defies common sense in its literal meaning, then we must look for a figurative, or Symbolic, meaning.
As you become familiar with the Symbolic words, and the way and context in which the Bible uses Symbolic words you will start recognize more symbolic words in many Bible Passages that you have passed by when you read them previously.
Finish reading the next couple of pages, then look through the list of Symbolic words in the list I have on the “Symbolic List” page.