Four Layers of the Word
Life began in a garden. We call this paradise, which comes from the Persian “pardes” which means garden. This word made its way into the Aramaic and Hebrew, written PRDS (remember that the ancient Hebrew had no vowels). Later on the Rabbis created a teaching from the word PRDS on the “Four Layers of the Word of God” in an acronym form.
· P = pschat, the literal sense of the Word
· R = remes, the allegorical, parabel sense of the Word
· D = drasch, the moral sense of the Word, what it teaches us
· S = sod, the hidden layer of the Word
The Rabbis defined the fourth layer “sod” as Kaballah, what we would call Bible Code. The New Testament word would be “Revelation”.
We can do the same in English and create an acronym we can remember. We know that Jesus Christ is the “Word of God” and He is the “Lamb of God”, therefore we can use the acronym LAMB.
L – Literal interpretation
A – Allegorical interpretation
M – Moral interpretation
B – Bible Code or Revelation
Before we go any further, please understand that all four layers are required for our lives. These layers produce progressive understanding and allow for a proper theological perspective in our viewing of scripture. What we want to avoid is becoming “parked” on a certain layer and viewing our Christianity from a limited perspective.
Read: Mark 4:1-20
L: Literal Interpretation
Mark 4:4 as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.
Mark 4:15 “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
These are people that take the word literally (letter of the law). They do what the Bible says but it is not part of their journey of life (beside the road). They are more concerned about being right in their doctrine than they are of discovering life along the journey. Thus they tend to be harsh and critical of others.
A: Allegorical Interpretation
Mark 4:5,6 “Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. “And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mark 4:16,17 “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
These are people that I would call “heady”, always looking for the “new teaching” or the “new revelation”. They sound good but their lifestyle disqualifies their teaching. They will have intellectual understanding but will not be able to process this understanding into a lifestyle of reality.
2Timothy 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 3:7 (CEV) These women always want to learn something new, but they never can discover the truth.
M: Moral Interpretation
Mark 4:7 “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
Mark 4:18,19 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
These are people that on the outside live a moral life. They do the right things and avoid the wrong things. The problem here is that there has not been a death to self. The issues of the heart are not yet dealt with and a struggle continues in regard to the internal lusts of the heart and mind. Remember that a lust is nothing more than wanting what you want for yourself and allowing that want to affect your life and judgment. Therefore these individuals produce an external Christianity but do not produce the fruit of life of the Christ (Galatians 5:22-24).
B: Bible Code or Revelation
Mark 4:8 “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:20 “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
In this verse the word “accept” means to take in and be part of your life, contrary to the word “receive” in verse 16 which means to take hold of externally.
Revelation is more than seeing something new or understanding something new, revelation is only revelation when it is processed in our lives. It is this process that allows the fruit to bear which is the life of The Christ!
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