While there is no argument as to the definition of figurative or symbolic language, there is a clear difference between common grammatical error in the proper use of the terms, i.e. the correct term for the illustration given versus intentional misapplication of figurative terms for the purpose of creating a connection in which neither part has any relation, and also to separate a relation that IS clearly connected. A person who is quite skilled at intentional misapplication could make great use of it through the process known as eisegesis—an interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.
C. I. Scofield was guilty more often than not of eisegesic intentional misapplication, yet, he and his notes have acquired a celebrity status to the degree he is absolved of any personal wrong doing in his life. Despite the ample documentation proving the allegations for which there has been no documentation of his repentance, his notes became the final authority (even more so since his death in 1921). The Scofield Study Bible has been and continues to be used in churches, Bible Colleges and Universities to teach among other erroneous things, such as dispensationalism, the rapture and seven-year tribulation. For some, the defense of his notes, or the eschatological teaching within them is so dogmatic, lack of salvation or the disbelief of Christ’s return is implied if you don’t agree with them. Some have even gone so far as to sever relationships.
“One argument of defense was that Scofield did not write the notes. It is irrelevant how much of the notes are penned by Scofield’s hand. He is, on the one hand, having credit and fame bestowed upon him for them, but on the other hand, when issues of error arise he is defended as a nonparticipant. Scofield claimed thirty years of study and pastoral duty as well as being the editor of the notes. He approved of everything before it went to print. He also boasts of a,
“…wide circle of learned and spiritual brethren in Europe and America to whose labours he is indebted for suggestions of inestimable value.” Scofield Study Bible, Pocket Edition, page iv, 3rd paragraph.
They are highly educated people who should be well aware of the rules of English and the proper use of figurative terms, which brings us back to the original point of intentional misapplication.
To argue a case of misapplication by just spelling out a definition is as pointless as comparing apples to oranges. For example, if I said “the soup bone has been simmering for an hour” and “the dog’s bone is buried in the back yard” and the two sentences are related because they both speak of bones, you would probably give me a puzzled look as to how I came to that conclusion. Then someone comes to my defense by simply giving the definition of a bone. Would that convince you the two are related? Of course not, but that is what some have done with Scofield’s claim on all the “types” and figurative terms he says are connected as proof there is a rapture and seven-year tribulation. He also separates what should be connected partly because of the lack of similar wording, but mostly because it was necessary for his interpretation to be accepted. In order to win over as many as he could to his side of the fence, consistency of his view had to be maintained one way or another.
Ultimately, Scofield and friends manipulated the meanings and parts of speech to suit their teaching of eschatology and gain support of their version. In doing this, the chance was greater that the recipients of the teaching, by whatever means, would believe truth was in their grasp.
Some have said, “I never owned a Scofield Bible.” I can say, “I never owned a McGuffey Reader,” but it was the first to teach the phonics method in learning to read, which is how kids continue to learn to read today.
A person does not have to own a Scofield Bible to be taught the rapture/tribulation false doctrine contained in the notes.
Unfortunately, contrary to their belief, the acceptance of Scofield’s interpretation means students, pastors, teachers, etc., have also been manipulated and are continuing to teach the error in blind faith. Suffice it to say, if any other Bible version contains commentary supporting the rapture, etc., the original source from which they gleaned that teaching is Scofield’s Bible.
For more on Scofield and his notes click link below: