Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource

Printer Friendly Version

Foundations for Christianity:
202 Foundations of Our Theology
and Hermeneutics

Our Approach: Parallelism

The Problem
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 of doctrine.

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.