According to Fee & Stuart, there are at least five major school of interpretation of scripture. What are they? Which do you prefer or which is more helpful to have a sound interpretation for the book of Revelation? And why are there such different schools of interpretation? Isn’t it possible to have one school of interpretation? Do you know its history & how those schools of interpretation arose?


I am attaching a detailed outline titled “Hermeneutics.” It is a set of notes on how to interpret the Bible. It does include a little bit on the history of these “schools” of interpretation. We also have eight hours of classes on audio on the topic. You can find it in the efc store (button on the front page of the site).


I have read Fee and Stuart, but do not remember their 5-part outline off hand. I am copying a list from the attached outline. It is very likely that the five “schools” Fee and Stuart list are included in this longer list.

1. Allegorical (Philo, Clement of Alexandria, Origen).

2. The Antiochan School: Historical/contextual interpretation (Diodorus, John Chrysostoam, Theodore) rejected the allegorical approach, which was the most common means of interpreting in the early church.

3. Mystical (Gnostics, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White).

4. Authoritative/Heirarchical (Roman and Greek churches) Augustine.

5. Dogmatic (JW’s, Mormons, proof-texting in general).

6. Literal (some evangelicals, premillenialism, etc.)

7. Inductive/Analitical (Francis Bacon) (Restoration Movement).

I believe that the best of these “schools” of interpretation is the Antiochan historical/contextual approach, but believe that Alexander Campbell’s Inductive/Analytic approach has much to offer as well. If you want to do a great job of “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15), you should be prepared to study the principles of biblical hermeneutics. No one “method is the right one. As for the book of Revelation. definitely the literal approach is very poor as, with apocalyptic literature, what is said should be taken symbolically unless the context demands literal interpretation. Unfortunately, many premillenialists try to overliteralize Revelation and other apocalyptic literature. In any case, how to approach different kinds of literature is covered in the outline I am including with this answer.

John Oakes

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