The Infallible Rule Of Interpretation Of Scripture(1)

By Oswald T. Allis

"The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly." (2)

This rule has been called the " analogy of Scripture " or the "analogy of faith ". Its meaning and importance has been well stated by Hodge:

"If the Scriptures be what they claim to be, the word of God, they are the work of one mind, and that mind divine. From this it follows that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture. God cannot teach in one place anything which is inconsistent with what He teaches in another. Hence Scripture must explain Scripture. If a passage admits of different interpretations, that only can be the true one which agrees with what the Bible teaches elsewhere on the same subject." (3) 

This great doctrine has been recognized and accepted, more or less clearly and consistently, by the Christian Church throughout its history. It has been a sign of heresy to reject or ignore any part or portion of Holy Writ. Thus the rejection of the Old Testament, in part or in whole, was one of the numerous errors of the Gnostics. Within comparatively recent times-a century or more-this doctrine has been challenged by two quite different groups, both claiming a place within the Christian Church. 

From the article: MODERN DISPENSATIONALISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITY OF SCRIPTURE.  By  Oswald T. Allis,  former Professor of Old Testament in Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Reprinted from The Evangelical Quarterly, January 1936.

2 Westminster Confession, chap. I, 9.

3 Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. I, 187. Reprinted from The Evangelical Quarterly, January 1936.