Foundations of Our Theology
A Lesson From Abraham
What is Parallelism? Parallelism is not necessarily
a completely novel approach. In reality it is simply a form
of Bible study taking a topical approach. We have coined the
term "Parallelism" simply to emphasize the key part
of this approach.
Throughout the Bible there are similar passages recounting
the same events that appear in different books. The Gospels
are a prime example of this. Since all four accounts record
events in the life of Jesus, there are many portions of these
four books that appear in the other books as well. Sometimes
one account will have additional details that another does
not. Another account may focus on a particular nuance of the
event and provide us with a slightly different perspective.
Such accounts are often referred to as parallel passages.
One simple example of parallel passages are Matthew 28, Mark
16, Luke 24, and John 21. All four of these chapters recount
the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And while parallel passages
are perhaps most common in the four Gospels, they also occur
frequently in the Old Testament as well. Some of the events
found in the books of I and II Chronicles can be found in
books such as I and II Kings or I and II Samuel, for example.
When we apply the term "Parallelism" we actually expand
this notion of scriptural parallels to include things like
Daniel 2, 7, and 8 along with Revelation 13 and 17. All of
these chapters include visions of beasts, kings, and kingdoms
leading into the end times.
Because of the reasons listed in The Problems section,
we feel that no study of Biblical history or doctrine is adequate
until or unless it takes into account all of the Bible passages
which touch on that same subject or event. For this reason,
when we study Revelation, it is better to study parts of Revelation
side by side with passages from Daniel and Zechariah, for
example, than it would be to simply study the book of Revelation
from beginning to end without cross referencing. And this
applies to every topic and doctrine in the Bible.
The key to this approach is the ability of the student to
locate parallel passages. For this reason, the more familiar
one becomes with the entire Bible the better. But, of course,
this takes time and energy to develop.
Memory is built by association. So, as we search for parallel
passages throughout the Bible we are more likely to become
familiar with not only where things are in the Bible, but
how to form and reconstruct sound apologetic arguments in
defense of orthodox doctrine.
And fortunately we have plenty of tools at our disposal even
if we do not have a sufficient familiarity with the Bible.
Reference materials such as a Bible with a cross-reference
column, a concordance, or even Bible Study software are essential
not only to our ability to locate parallel passages, but to
look up Hebrew and Greek vocabulary words.
In a nutshell, this is our approach. Because a sound understanding
of doctrine is of such importance to living a balanced and
healthy Christian life we believe Bible study should be approached
in a way that most efficiently facilitates developing a mastery
Whether we are studying the redemption, the chronology of
the day of the resurrection, the geneology of Jesus, the symbolism
in Revelation, the life of King David, or any other topic,
it is much more efficient to look at all the parallel Biblical
passages on a subject side by side than to read through a
contemporary author's book on the topic or read a book of
the Bible chapter by chapter.
We believe taking the approach of Parallelism is the
best way to view the Bible's entire perspective on a subject
and so we believe it is the best way to study the Bible.