Sensus plenior

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Bob Jones, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Sensus plenior

    The term means 'higher meaning' and is used by various Christian authors in slightly different ways. It generally refers to the meaning of scripture intended by God, but perhaps not even known by the human author. There have been some heated debates as to whether it exists, and if it exists are we allowed to unpack it.

    Through the ages the church has been unable to rid itself of allegorical interpretations yet has been uncomfortable, and rightly so, of the free-for-all nature of them.

    At the same time, Jesus was particularly critical of the teachers in his day, since they could not discern from the scriptures that there is no marriage in heaven and that angels do not marry. He said that they did not "know the scriptures nor the power of God." Yet there are apparently few today who can show which verses Jesus was referring to, which may direct the same criticism at our modern hermeneutic.

    Likewise we seem to be content with Matthew's statement that it was prophesied that Jesus would be called a Nazarene, even when we cannot find such a prophecy.

    We are also left with the conundrum that Jesus had emptied himself of his deity in the incarnation, yet we cannot explain how he knew who he was, and what he was to do without the use of his omniscience.

    And though he apparently explained this all to those on the Road to Emmaus, how all the scriptures spoke of him, we cannot but see glimpses of hints in the OT scriptures. Even those passages we agree are prophetic appear to be written in riddle.

    Isn't is possible that we don't read the scriptures the same way Jesus did? If we could, should we? Isn't Christ the mystery of the OT that is revealed in the New? Shouldn't we be able to see him hidden, now that we see him clearly?

    I am hoping to find some folks who would be willing to look at a method of interpretation that may fit the bill. This would be a serious discussion of methodology and content. The method was available in the first century, and I am finding that in using it, every verse of scripture participates in painting pictures or shadows of Christ which are firmly attached to the words of the literal and yet contain a double entendre speaking of Christ. They appear to prophesy eveything Jesus did from his twelve year old adventure in the temple, to his temptation is the wilderness, to walking on water, etc. though I am far from proving it out.

    If the method is of human invention then I have no interest in pursuing it further. If it is real, and verifiable and reproducible, then I would think it would have the same weight of scripture as the literal.

    Simply claiming to answer the questions above is an extraordinary claim, and I expect extraordinary proof should be demanded. Thanks in advance.
  2. Hm . thanks for that . i have been living in many of those questions for some time now .

    i've learned that the point of a question is not so much the answer .. but the journey it implies .

    .. especially relating to that first matter you spoke of .. "what God meant by it"
  3. The basic premise is that there are at least two meanings to each scripture: that intended by the author, and that hidden one intended by God. This implies that we will be looking at double entendre. Now not only is it a second meaning, but it is hidden. This is the nature of riddle. We will be solving riddles which are contained in double entendre in Hebrew.

    These are the rules I play by. (Copied from my web site with my permission.)

    The reviewer who is too lazy to apply the rules or contemplate them will conclude that sensus plenior is just allegory. The lazy or careless exegete will slip into allegory. These rules are discerned from the scriptures using the same hermeneutic as sensus plenior:
    1. Since God has said that not a jot or tittle will pass away, until one knows why each jot and tittle is there, a complete understanding has not been derived. (This keeps us humble)
    2. Since man shall live “ every word”, a doctrine is not sound until it sums up and includes all that God has said about it. (This keeps us searching)
    3. Since every word must be established by two or three witnesses, every shadow must have at least two supporting scripture witnesses. (This keeps us rigorous in methodology)
    4. Since God’s word is established forever, a shadow means the same thing everywhere is it used. So, since a donkey is a shadow of a prophet, everywhere there is a donkey, it is a shadow of a prophet. This rule alone makes the shadows humanly impossible to fabricate. (This keeps us in awe)
    5. The riddle of Samson tells us Christ is the answer to all the riddles. If the shadow doesn’t look like Christ, it isn’t a good shadow. (This keeps us focused)
    6. And since we are to “let everyman be a liar and God be true”, outside references are not required to solve the riddles and see the shadows. (This keeps us devoted)

    If rules 1, 2, 3, and 6 were applied to literal hermeneutics we would have fewer theological arguments.

    You will probably have questions about some of the rules, and that may be a good place to start?
  4. What i would do when decoding these mysteries is i would encounter what i call a "living thought" it was like a person . unlike the thought defining what the number two means or the letter a .. well unless you read the infancy gospel of thomas' dissertation on what an aleph is . that sounded a pretty alive description of a letter .

    but these living thoughts are what the bible is made up of . and in assimilating them into my soul .. it's like it becomes part of me . don't know if that makes sense .
  5. This is a good rule. I would say he didn't read it literalistically. He knew how to read the sensus plenior. The Bible is one context. Here is an example of how this context works:

    Jesus said to let your light shine before men, and also said to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. It appears to be a contradiction to many. But Jesus said the goats are on the left and the sheep on the right. So do your works before men, but don't let your goat nature rob God in the process. The goat nature is the nature of the flesh.

    So the Ninevites didn't know the fleshly from the spiritual (left from right hand), etc.
  6. Does this mean you do not wish to examine the method?

  7. Happy something that lighted on my mind could be of help .

    Regarding what you said . Coincidentally, that lines up with the literal context .

    because sheep and goats are about helping the poor or not .. "the least of these"

    and not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing is related to almsgiving in that you do not pick out the coins out of your pocket .. pick out with your other hand what to give .. you just pick it out with one hand .. don't look at it and give it away .

    and what ever you do to the least of these .. you have done to God .. so these are the good works that make God's light shine before men . and that God is glorified for .
  8. No i don't mind . i just meant i didn't have any questions .
  9. The rules are fairly important since they are what make it verifiable and reproducible. Forgive me for pushing the point but this one should be unfamiliar. If it is not, then I am particularly delighted to meet you.

    Can you really see this rule being derived from Samson's riddle?
  10. "What is sweeter than honey?

    Psalm 119:103

    How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

    Ezekiel 3:3

    And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

    Revelation 10:9

    And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

    since Honey is akin to "the word" and Jesus is called the word made flesh who lived among us .. yes .

    What is stronger than a lion?"

    Genesis 49:9

    Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

    Revelation 5:5

    And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

    Yes . Jesus the lion of Judah . and He is sweeter than honey . and stronger than a lion .

    also this "For three days they could not give the answer. "

    Jesus coincidentally rose on the third day . but i'm not much into coincidences . i would also say that the power of God came on Samson when they answered the riddle seems significant also .
  11. All your rules look good. This one is also notable since:

    Ps 49:4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
    Ps 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

    The word for 'dark saying' is riddle. Each of the parables is a riddle which was first told in the OT, and repeated by Christ in the New in the form of a parable.
  12. Yeah, i've noticed even James who meditates on and uses Parables sounds very proverbs sometimes to quite often .
  13. I am happy to meet you. What you are doing is called Drash. It means to compare. I am glad that you can do it so freely. It is the basis of discerning sensus plenior as it correlates scripture with scripture.

    Lets apply the rules to one of your interpretations:

    For it to be a good sensus plenior answer it must also follow rule 4:
    4. Since God’s word is established forever, a shadow means the same thing everywhere is it used. So, since a donkey is a shadow of a prophet, everywhere there is a donkey, it is a shadow of a prophet. This rule alone makes the shadows humanly impossible to fabricate. (This keeps us in awe)

    So if honey is the Word, we must reconcile these verses, and all others as well. It must be the word everywhere it is used.

    Pr 25:16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
    Pr 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

    If honey is the word, how can we get too much of it? We are supposed to meditate on it day and night.

    Similarly, it is commonly believed that leaven is sin, but Jesus likens the kingdom of Heaven to leaven. In sensus plenior it is 'teaching' which works everywhere it is used. The unleavened bread is Christ who did not need teaching since he is the source of truth, and when we are like him, the day will come when no one needs taught because all will know him.
  14. More specifically concerning Samson...

    He said that if they had not plowed with is heifer they would not have known the riddle. He is specifically talking about solving riddles. We must plow with the heifer.

    The heifer is the sacrifice.. Christ. You plow the earth-ly... the literal. It is Christ who reveals the riddles of the OT so they must look like him.
  15. it balances out in genesis . where light and darkness separate . and on the other end of the equation it applies to the lion

    1 Peter 5:8
    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

    So there is light . and there is darkness . light and darkness were part of a natural symbiosis before the fall . so it is not uncommon to see the light and the darkness . sin and righteousness being represented by the same thing .. possibly because .

    2 Corinthians 5:21
    God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    So there is where the lines meet as far as God is concerned . so i think this kind of thing is a normal occurrence in the scriptures . and see below for the manner in which the darkness mimics . God . all about the inside .. and the enemy is all about the outside appearance .

    2 Corinthians 11:14
    And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

    riddles are fun and God puts them there for us

    Proverbs 25:2
    It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

    1 Peter 2:9
    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

    Romans 8:17
    And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    God hides them so we will search them out . it's fun!
  16. So with the rules, we get away from he said, she said and opinions, and have a way to reconcile various tentative positions. They are tentative until we have heard everything the Bible has to say in the literal and sensus plenior. This is what makes the interpretation sure. It also is an indicator of its divine origin since rule 4 makes it impossible to be of human origin.
  17. Yet another example of a woman representing the godhead . beautiful .
  18. Yeah don't look at what they're saying but at what is being said .
  19. You are still thinking in terms of allegorical interpretations. This is very different, but the skills you have are foundational.

    Here is a concrete example of double entendre:

    Gen 2:21

    Each word has multiple meanings in Hebrew. Sleep also means death. Took also means married. Flesh also means mankind, etc. Since Adam is a type of Christ we substitute Christ for Adam. When all is said and done the double entendre says:

    And God caused Christ to die and he died, and he married a certain limping side and delivered mankind.

    The limping side is his fleshly nature and the same as the bruised heel and Jacob's thigh.

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