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Pashat, Drash, Remez and Sod (1 of 4)

Shane Willard

Page 9 of 10
That if we're going to be kingdom people, we have to know inside of our heart, that our journey with God is just that - it's a journey; that we never arrive at it, until we get to glory. At the end of the day, we're just Joe and Jane. We're just 3-dimensional people, trying to make sense of an infinitely-dimensional God, and that leads us to the heart of our God.

One of the interesting things that I learned, any time you're looking at a piece of literature you have to look at a couple of things, and the Bible is no exception. First, and in no order of importance: you have to look at the historical truths that were true of that day. If you know about when something was written, you can go back and read the history around that day, to sort of figure out what was going on. It's very important to understand what they're talking about, so the first one is historical truths.

The second thing you need to look at is euphemisms; or idiomatic expressions. An idiom is any figure of speech that is particular to a certain culture. So New Zealand would have their idioms - I know Australia does. Australia has fair-dinkum. No one else in the world uses that language that I know of.

A euphemism is a figure of speech, which is used to say something softer. Let me give you an example. Someone died – we say someone “passed away”. That's a euphemism. In Australia they have a horrible euphemism for death, they say: “carked it. Oh, that guy carked it! What is that? Like would you rather die, or cark it?

Figures of speech are very important, and they're very important to interpreting letters and books and things like this; for instance let me give you an example of how important a figure of speech is. Let's say I gave Allie a gift here. Let's say that I find this gift that I know she'll like, and I write her a letter and put it with the gift, and at the end of the letter I say something this: Allie, I really hope you like this. It cost me an arm and a leg, okay?

So let's say Allie is a pack rat, and she goes and she puts that in some draw somewhere, and 2000 years from now some archaeologist is excavating where she used to live. Under about eight levels of earth they find this desk, and inside this desk they find this preserved note. They find this note and it says: Allie, I hope you love this. It cost me an arm and a leg. Can you imagine the guy going: how romantic is this guy? He was willing to have his arm and his leg chopped off, in order to give her something!

Of course we know it's a figure of speech for: it cost a lot; it's expensive. So we have historical facts; figures of speech; euphemisms; idiomatic expressions – and also literary style - any sort of style that is particular to their writing. Also you have to ask yourself: how did they interpret their own literature? Now these are rules that govern the interpretation of any piece of literature. We just happen to be talking about the Bible tonight okay.

Now the Hebrew people interpret the Bible through four levels: Pashat, Remez, Drash and Sod. Interesting the acronym on it is PRDS, which is where they got their idea of paradise. In other words, they said: if the Lord reveals to you all four levels of a scripture - you are entering into Paradise.

Pashat is: simple; plain meaning; the cleanest, plainest meaning of the text. My theology professor in college told me this: if the plain sense of the Bible makes sense, then seek no other sense. He was my hermeneutics professor. If the plain sense makes sense, then seek no other sense. That is a very Greco-Roman, Greek, Western way of looking at an Eastern book. They honoured the plain meaning of the text; but they also understood that there were three other levels underlying it – and they would seek those senses.